The 2017 NBA Combine officially kicked off on Tuesday, and prospects will interview with teams and undergo athletic testing with live-action drills on Thursday and Friday (televised on ESPN2). That leads up to the NBA Draft Lottery next Tuesday, and as a result, the draft rumor mill is kicking into high gear. Here are all the latest rumors you need to know:
Fultz interested in playing for Sixers
Washington point guard Markelle Fultz is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and he spent Wednesday at the NBA Combine interviewing with teams. The Philadelphia 76ers were one of them, and Fultz reportedly "came across glowingly" and wants to join their young core of players.
The point guard out of Washington is projected to go first in the June 22 draft by several mock drafts. The Sixers have an 11.9 percent chance of winning Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery after finishing with the fourth-worst record at 28-54. The team will also receive the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round pick unless the Lakers finish in the top three of the draft lottery.
The only question mark is his ability to play alongside Ben Simmons. Both players thrive with the ball in their hands. Fultz probably won't handle the ball as much as he's accustomed to if he plays alongside Simmons, who will assume the point guard duties.
However, one of Fultz's associates thinks the Sixers are a good destination.
"Ben likes to pass that thing and he likes to shoot that thing," Keith Williams said.
Philly is currently projected to have the No. 4 overall pick, and will also get the Lakers' pick if it falls out of the top three.
Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game for the Huskies last season.
Fultz won't interview with Magic
Philadelphia was one of seven teams projected to draft in the top eight that Fultz met with, with the lone team he didn't visit with being the Orlando Magic, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
Markelle Fultz’s time at the NBA Draft Combine will be brief, and it will not include an interview with the Orlando Magic, sources told the Orlando Sentinel.
Fultz, a point guard who is arguably the draft’s top prospect, interviewed with some teams Wednesday, but the Magic were not among them. He will not speak with the Magic before he leaves Chicago on Thursday.
Magic officials wanted to interview Fultz, who played one season at the University of Washington. But interviews at the combine typically are scheduled by the NBA. Sometimes teams do not get their first choices of interviews.
Orlando has an 8.8 percent chance to get the No. 1 overall pick and a 9.7 percent chance at getting the No. 2 overall pick.
Knicks have three top draft targets
The New York Knicks are currently projected to have the No. 7 overall pick in the draft (though that can change with the lottery), and they have identified Frank Ntilikina, Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox as their top targets, according to ESPN's Ian Begley.
The Knicks will find out exactly where they pick on Tuesday night when the NBA holds its draft lottery. Based on probability, New York is most likely to pick seventh on June 22. The Knicks also have two second-round picks.
Members of the organization have been scouting players in the draft for months; there are a few players that those members have become fond of: French guard Frank Ntilikina and Kentucky guards De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, among others. Also, just like the rest of the NBA, members of the organization are also enamored by Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson.
Of those three, New York appears to be favoring Ntilikina.
Ntilikina high on Mavs' draft board
Another team that is extremely high on Ntilikina is the Dallas Mavericks, according to Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Ferrell has one year remaining on his contract, and is generally listed as 6 feet tall. That makes him a liability on defense against the league’s taller point guards, but the Mavericks just might reach out in the draft to give him some assistance.
“I think Yogi made some huge strides and is a young developing player that we’re all internally excited about,” said Donnie Nelson, the Mavericks’ president of basketball operations. “Hopefully we can give him some help in the backcourt.”
And that help could wind up with Ntilikina becoming the player the Mavericks take in the first round of next month’s draft.
“I watched him last summer at the Jordan Gym in New York City and he made 27 out of 30 NBA three’s,” ESPN's Fran Fraschilla said. “The obligatory line when you don’t know somebody is, ‘Oh, he’s a really good athlete, but he’s not a great shooter,’ and he’s dispelling that this year in France shooting over 40 percent from the international three.
“He doesn’t have the polish of a Fultz or Ball, or the speed or raw athleticism of Fox or Smith. But he has the look and the feel of an NBA guard when he grows up.”
Ntilikina, who was born is Belguim, has been playing professionally for Strasbourg since the 2014-15 season. He is averaging 5.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game this season while shooting 57.8 percent from the floor and 44.2 percent from three-point range.Back to the NBA Newsfeed
Related Topics: NBA Rumors Roundup, 2017 NBA Draft, NBA Draft Rumors, Magic News, 76ers News, Knicks News, NBA Draft News, Markelle Fultz, De'Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, NBA Rumors, NBA News, Frank Ntilikina