Your primer for the 2017 NBA Draft


Everyone is anxious to find out who their teams will pick with the 2017 NBA Draft just days away. But before any selections happen, here are a few notes on the upcoming Rookie Draft that you may want to read about.

• The list of early entry candidates who kept their names in the 2017 NBA Draft is composed of 63 college players and 10 international players (who aren’t from a U.S. college).

• After a trade with the Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers are set to make the first pick in the NBA Draft for the second year in a row and the fourth time in franchise history. The Sixers previously selected Ben Simmons (2016), Allen Iverson (1996) and Doug Collins (1973) at No. 1. Philadelphia held the top pick in 1986 by virtue of a previous trade with the LA Clippers, but the 76ers traded the pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who selected Brad Daugherty.

• The Boston Celtics are the first team to trade the No. 1 pick before or during the NBA Draft since the Orlando Magic in 1993. That year, the Magic selected Chris Webber with the top pick and traded his draft rights to the Golden State Warriors for the draft rights to Penny Hardaway (the third pick in 1993) and three future first-round picks.

• After their trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics will extend their streak of never having picked first in the common era of the draft (1966-present). In 1980, Boston traded the top pick as well as the 13th pick to the Golden State Warriors for center Robert Parish and the third pick that year, which the Celtics used to draft Kevin McHale. The Warriors selected Joe Barry Carroll with the first pick and Rickey Brown with the 13th.

• The Lakers hold the No. 2 pick for the third year in a row. Before selecting D’Angelo Russell in 2015 and Brandon Ingram in 2016, they hadn’t picked as high as second since selecting James Worthy first overall in 1982. Last year’s selection of Ingram was the franchise’s fifth pick ever in the lottery (1985-present). The Lakers selected Eddie Jones with the 11th pick in 1994, chose Andrew Bynum with the 10th pick in 2005 and tapped Julius Randle with the seventh pick in 2014.

• The Boston Celtics are set to pick third overall for the second straight year. Last year, they selected Jaylen Brown with the third pick — their first top-three pick since 1997.

• Before their trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics were in position to become the first team to finish with the best record in a conference and make the first overall pick in the same year since 1982. That year, the Los Angeles Lakers had the best record in the Western Conference and selected James Worthy at No. 1

• The Phoenix Suns are selecting fourth for the second year in a row. In the 2016 NBA Draft, they used the No. 4 pick on 7-1 forward Dragan Bender of Croatia. Before last year, Phoenix had not selected fourth since drafting Alvan Adams in 1975. Adams was the NBA Rookie of the Year for the 1975-76 season.

• The Sacramento Kings are the only team with two lottery picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. They hold the Nos. 5 and 10 picks.

• The Dallas Mavericks own the ninth selection. They have not made a pick in the top 10 since selecting Robert Traylor with the sixth pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, then trading his rights to the Milwaukee Bucks for the rights to Dirk Nowitzki, the ninth pick.

• A record 14 college freshmen were selected in the 2016 NBA Draft, one more than in 2015. Another record is expected again this year. The top freshmen for the 2017 draft include Bam Adebayo (Kentucky), Jarrett Allen (Texas), Ike Anigbogu (UCLA), Lonzo Ball (UCLA), Zach Collins (Gonzaga), De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky), Markelle Fultz (Washington), Harry Giles (Duke), Jonathan Isaac (Florida State), Josh Jackson (Kansas), TJ Leaf (UCLA), Lauri Markkanen (Arizona), Malik Monk (Kentucky), Justin Patton (Creighton), Dennis Smith (NC State) and Jayson Tatum (Duke).

• The top 2017 prospects who didn’t play for a U.S. college include Isaiah Hartenstein (who most recently played for Zalgiris in Lithuania), Jonathan Jeanne (Nancy in France), Frank Ntilikina (Strasbourg in France) and Anzejs Pasecniks (Gran Canaria in Spain).

• A record 27 international players were selected in the 2016 NBA Draft, surpassing the previous record of 21 set in 2003.

• NBA teams continue to find quality players in the second round of the draft. In 2016, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Malcolm Brogdon with the 36th pick. Brogdon is a finalist for the 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year award after averaging 10.2 points and 4.2 assists. Patrick McCaw, who was drafted 37th by the Golden State Warriors, was a spot starter and steady contributor for the eventual NBA champions. Other 2016 second-round picks who contributed as rookies include the Los Angeles Lakers’ Ivica Zubac (32nd), the Phoenix Suns’ Tyler Ulis (34th) and the Chicago Bulls’ Paul Zipser (49th).

• Since the draft lottery began in 1985, four of 32 No. 1 overall picks have won an NBA championship with the team that drafted them: David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs, 1987), Tim Duncan (Spurs, 1997), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers, 2003) and Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers, 2011).

• Since the draft lottery moved to its present format in 1994, the team with (or tied for) the best odds has won six of the 24 lotteries: the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996 (selected Allen Iverson); Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 (LeBron James); Orlando Magic in 2004 (Dwight Howard); Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015 (Karl-Anthony Towns); Philadelphia in 2016 (Ben Simmons); and the Boston Celtics this year, with the Celtics having traded the pick to the 76ers.

• At least one son of a former NBA player has been selected in the last 15 NBA Drafts. The most recent was Domantas Sabonis in 2016. The son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis was chosen by the Orlando Magic with the 11th pick before being traded with Ersan Ilyasova and Victor Oladipo to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Serge Ibaka.

• This year marked the 33rd draft lottery in NBA history. The winningest lottery teams of all time are the 2007-08 Golden State Warriors and 2013-14 Phoenix Suns. Both teams finished 48-34.

• Of the 60 players who were drafted in 2016, 39 (including 17 first-round selections) spent time in the NBA Development League this past season, the 12th in which NBA teams were allowed to assign first-, second- and third-year players. They ranged from the No. 9 pick (Jakob Poeltl, Toronto Raptors) to the 60th pick (Tyrone Wallace, Utah Jazz). More than 200 players from the past eight draft classes have played in the NBA D-League, which will be known as the NBA Gatorade League beginning next season. In 2016-17, the league’s 16th season, all 22 teams were singly affiliated with an NBA team.

• In the early days, the draft used to last as long as teams desired, with the proceedings ending only when every team tired of calling out names. In 1973, the draft lasted 20 rounds (at least it did for the fledgling Buffalo Braves, who needed all the players they could get after winning only 21 games the season before). In 1974, the league adopted a 10-round NBA Draft, a format that stayed in place until 1985, when it was scaled back to seven rounds. After three years of seven-round drafts, the draft was shaved to three rounds in 1988 and to its current length of two rounds in 1989.

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