The Boston Celtics, who were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs this year, will have the top overall pick in June’s NBA Draft. Right now, the clear-cut choice to be chosen by them (unless they trade) is Washington Huskies guard Markelle Fultz at -500 odds despite the continued hype behind UCLA’s Lonzo Ball.
Fultz and Ball competed against each other in the Pac-12 this season as freshmen, with the Fultz putting up the better offensive stats. Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 assists for a Huskies team that failed to make the Big Dance and finished 11th in the conference.
Ball is listed as the +400 second choice to be selected first overall, and he averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds for a Bruins team that posted a 31-5 mark and advanced to the Sweet 16.
Ball’s father LaVar has stolen the headlines away from his son since the NCAA Tournament. The Southern California native will reportedly only work out for his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, who will pick second in the NBA Draft. Many believe he is more talented and NBA-ready than Fultz, but Boston seems to feel differently. It is rumored that Ball might work out for the 76ers, who have the third pick.
The only other player considered as another potential No. 1 pick is Duke’s Jayson Tatum, who is +1200 to be taken first overall. The 6’8″ forward would actually fill a need for Boston in the frontcourt after averaging 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Blue Devils. Boston already has Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley in the backcourt, so it would be interesting to see where Fultz would fit in. They could also trade away Thomas and hope that Fultz is the superstar he’s projected to be.
The next batch of players are +1000 and they include Kansas swingman Josh Jackson and Kentucky guards De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk.