Fultz The Odds-On Fave To Be First Overall Pick


Markelle Fultz is the best player in the upcoming NBA draft. There is no way around it. Despite playing for an abysmal Washington Huskies team, Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting 47.6 percent from the floor. Though he was clearly a big fish in a small pond, Fultz never gave up on his team and fought the urge to play hero ball.

With all that in mind, Fultz is a heavy -300 favorite to be the top overall pick in the draft. He is the closest prospect to a sure thing the NBA has had in several years. He has the frame to grow into, the ability to take over a game offensively and is solid enough on the defensive end to not become a liability.

With all that being said, Fultz wouldn’t be the best selection for at least one team that could potentially be picking first. The Phoenix Suns have no need of another high-usage guard in their already loaded backcourt. They could still take Fultz and try to trade away Eric Bledsoe but the Suns would be better off addressing a team need with the second-best player in the draft, Josh Jackson. The Kansas product has enough size and athleticism to fill out multiple spots on the roster but fits in nicely at the three for Phoenix. His two-way game makes him a high-floor, high-ceiling type prospect.

Then, we have Lonzo Ball. Putting aside everything but his play on the court, Ball has the ability to vastly improve any team he plays for. Though he had help, look at how Ball’s presence changed UCLA during his freshman campaign. His passing ability and court vision are elite, which makes him insanely effective in transition. There are still questions surrounding his shot and his ability to work in the halfcout but some team (cough Lakers cough) could be enamoured with Ball.

To be quite frank, any of the other three listed players going first overall would be a monumental shock. Jayson Tatum should be a high-scoring wing player at the next level (something teams will always need), Dennis Smith is an athletic freak who could be one of the best PGs in the NBA if things go right and Lauri Markkanen is the best shooter in the class while also being 7’0”. However, none of these players deserve to be drafted over Fultz, Jackson or Ball.

Which player will be taken first in the 2017 NBA Draft?

Odds as of May 15 at BetOnline

  • Markelle Fultz -300
  • Lonzo Ball +300
  • Josh Jackson +1000
  • Jayson Tatum +2000
  • Dennis Smith +3300
  • Lauri Markkanen +3300

Archived Article

We’re still over five months away from the 2017 NBA Draft, but odds have already hit the board on which college hooper will be selected with the first overall pick.

According to oddsmakers at BetOnline, Washington’s Markelle Fultz is the -120 favorite to achieve the distinction. Lonzo Ball (+200), Josh Jackson (+600), Dennis Smith (+700) and Jayson Tatum (+1400) are also available to wager on.

Fultz, an 18-year-old point guard, is averaging an impressive 23.4 points per game in his freshman year. The Maryland native is shooting 49 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range and is a major reason the Huskies are flirting with .500 at 9-10.

Unlike past years, there isn’t a consensus No. 1 pick. After the likes of Ben Simmons, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins went off the board first since 2014, there was bound to be a slight drop-off in talent at the top of the draft.

Of course it’s tough to predict what’s going to happen so far in advance. The Brooklyn Nets are far and away the front-runners to finish the season with the worst record, but the draft lottery historically hasn’t been kind to teams with the best chances to attain the No. 1 slot.

Who are you putting your money on? Have your say in the comments.

Which player will be taken first in the 2017 NBA Draft?

Odds as of January 24 at BetOnline

  • Markelle Fultz -120
  • Lonzo Ball +200
  • Josh Jackson +600
  • Dennis Smith +700
  • Jayson Tatum +1400


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