If you don’t catch the first couple of minutes of the NBA Draft on Thursday, don’t worry. We kind of already know what’s going to happen: The 76ers and Lakers are expected to draft Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, respectfully, with the first two picks.
We’ll start with Fultz, a 6-4 guard who can handle, pass, and shoot.
“I think he’s the perfect fit for what (the 76ers are) trying to do,” Draft Express Scouting Director and The Vertical contributor Mike Schmitz said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “They talked about having Ben Simmons play point guard, but I don’t think that was really a long-term solution. I think with their roster construction, they needed a guy who can play on the ball, who can play off the ball because Simmons is really at his best when he’s grabbing and going in transition and really creating for other guys. So I think they really like Markelle Fultz’s versatility. They really see him as a future star type of guy. I really think that Fultz kind of symbolizes that a lot of the Sam Hinkie process and accruing all these assets, it paid off to get a guy like him.”
Fultz, who won just nine games at Washington, was playing JV basketball just three years ago. Now he’s the presumptive No. 1 pick in the draft.
“I actually like guys like that,” Schmitz said. “I like late-bloomers. I think they don’t quite have the sense of entitlement as a lot of the guys who have been highly ranked since they were in seventh grade and eighth grade. I think his ascension as a player really speaks to his work ethic and his determination to get better.”
Ball, meanwhile, will likely go No. 2 to the Lakers.
“I think they’ll go Lonzo,” Schmitz said. “To me, it just makes too much sense. Not just the story. Sure, there’s that: the hometown kid, Chino Hills, UCLA, staying home to lead the storied franchise. But I think just in terms of what they want to do basketball-wise, Luke Walton is a guy who wants the ball moving. He really developed that in Golden State and I think took a lot from them. Lonzo is going to bring that. He’s not a guy who pounds it a ton, he’s super unselfish, and I think in terms of free agents, guys are going to see how he plays and want to come play with him.”