The Boston Celtics have a decision on their hands after winning the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery. The likely top two options are Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball. Already #TeamFultz and #TeamBall are emerging as fans pick their favorite guard.
ESPN’s Chad Ford reported Fultz has a 57.2 percent chance of being selected with the top pick based on the lottery teams he spoke with. This was before the draft lottery but gives fans a sense that Fultz is seen as the favorite to end up in the top spot.
In Heavy’s latest mock draft, we have Fultz going No. 1 to the Celtics, and the Lakers selecting Ball at No. 2. Click here for a full rundown of the lottery in Heavy’s mock draft.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Ball has not decided if he will work out for the Celtics. If he refuses to cooperate with the Celtics, it may make the decision even easier for Boston given Fultz is the leader in the clubhouse for the top pick with just over a month to go.
Fultz already has a connection with Celtics’ star Isaiah Thomas. The two went to the University of Washington (at different times) and have connected given Thomas’ strong ties to the Seattle area. While the two play the same position, Fultz’s skill set allows him some flexibility to play off the ball. Ball is more of a traditional point guard and does not have the same position flexibility.
At the risk of oversimplifying their games, Fultz is a better pure scorer while Ball has the best court vision in the draft. Both players played just one season of college basketball before declaring for the NBA.
Ball averaged 14.6 points, six rebounds and 7.6 assists while shooting 41.2 percent from the three point line. Ball shot over 55 percent from the field but questions surround his quirky form. Here’s a closer look at Ball’s jumper that has a hitch to it.
Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists while shooting 41.3 percent from behind the three-point line. Fultz shot 47.6 percent from the field.
The players have admitted there is a rivalry forming as both point guards enter the league together and will be forever linked through the same draft class.
Fultz has admitted he sees this matchup as a rivalry.
“He’s going to be [playing] my position, so… if he happens to be the point guard I’m going against, then yeah, I want to get him out the way,” Fultz told Sports Illustrated.
Ball has been vocal about his belief in his talents.
“Markelle’s a great player, but I feel I’m better than him. I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him,” Ball told ESPN.
Each player has his questions. Fultz was on a dreadful Washington team and NBA teams want to be sure he is a winner. He also shut things down with four games left in the season. For Ball, there is his boisterous father who teams could have concerns about how much of a distraction he would be for the team. There is also the quirky jump shot and how it translates into the NBA.
There will be two happy teams on draft night wherever Ball and Fultz land. Who is better? Sounds like it is going to take us the next decade to find out. Tell us who you like in the comments section.
Here’s a look at highlights of Fultz and Ball squaring off in college: