76ers traded for top pick; trade of Ge­orge could al­ter the league

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Brod­er­ick Turner

A Paul Ge­orge mega-deal could turn the NBA draft up­side down if the In­di­ana Pac­ers trade him be­fore or dur­ing Thurs­day night’s pro­ceed­ings.

They’ve had dis­cus­sions with mul­ti­ple teams, in­clud­ing the Lak­ers, who feel as if they are in prime po­si­tion to ac­quire Ge­orge. The four­time All-Star will be a free agent af­ter the up­com­ing sea­son, and his agent has in­formed the Pac­ers that Ge­orge wants to re­turn home to Los Angeles and is not will­ing to re-sign with another team that might try to strike a deal with In­di­ana.

When the week be­gan, the Bos­ton Celtics made the first bold move, swap­ping picks with the Philadel­phia 76ers. Now, the 76ers are poised to take Wash­ing­ton point guard Markelle Fultz first over­all.

The Lak­ers, who hold the sec­ond pick, are ex­pected to select UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball. The Lak­ers se­cured an ex­tra pick later in the first round in a deal Tues­day that sent point guard D’An­gelo Rus­sell and cen­ter Ti­mofey Moz­gov to Brook­lyn for cen­ter Brook Lopez.

The Celtics are ex­pected to take Duke swing­man Jayson Ta­tum third, with Phoenix se­lect­ing Kansas swing­man Josh Jackson fourth.

Ken­tucky guard De’Aaron Fox prob­a­bly will go fifth, to Sacra­mento.

The most re­cent re­port was that no deal for Ge­orge was im­mi­nent be­fore the draft. That or any other deal could jumble the or­der of picks, but here is our cur­rent fore­cast for the first round:

1. PHILADEL­PHIA — Markelle Fultz, Wash­ing­ton, PG, 6-4, 190: The 76ers swapped picks with the Celtics to get Fultz. He’s con­sid­ered the most NBA-ready player in the draft.

2. LAK­ERS — Lonzo Ball, UCLA, PG, 6-6, 190: He’s prob­a­bly the most po­lar­iz­ing player in the draft be­cause of his trash-talk­ing dad, LaVar. But Lonzo can play, and is the right fit for the Lak­ers.

3. BOS­TON — Jayson Ta­tum, Duke, SF, 6-8, 205: Celtics Pres­i­dent Danny Ainge moved down from first to this spot be­cause he said the player he wants would be avail­able. Ta­tum is his guy.

4. PHOENIX — Josh Jackson, Kansas, SF, 6-8, 205: Jackson is prob­a­bly the best ath­lete in the draft. He’ll give the Suns another very good wing player.

5. SACRA­MENTO — De’Aaron Fox, Ken­tucky, PG, 6-3, 170: His speed and ac­cel­er­a­tion make him a good fit with sharp­shooter Buddy Hield, which could give the Kings a nice back­court.

6. OR­LANDO — Jonathan Isaac, Florida State, SF/PF, 6-10, 210: Some scouts be­lieve he has the most up­side of any player in the draft. He is skilled. He just needs to put on weight and get stronger.

7. MIN­NESOTA — Lauri Markka­nen, Ari­zona, PF/C, 7-0, 230: He has the abil­ity to be another “stretch four” be­cause he can shoot the ball from dis­tance, mak­ing 42.3% of his three-point­ers last sea­son.

8. NEW YORK — Frank Nti­lik­ina, France, PG, 6-5, 190: He’s a big guard who fits Phil Jackson’s mold of play­ers for the Knicks’ back­court. Nti­lik­ina is ma­ture and has a strong bas­ket­ball IQ.

9. DAL­LAS — Den­nis Smith, North Carolina State, PG, 6-2, 195: The Mav­er­icks need a point guard in the worst way. Smith is an ex­plo­sive ath­lete who has tremen­dous ball­han­dling skills.

10. SACRA­MENTO — Zach Collins, Gon­zaga, F/C, 6-11, 230: Collins has shown that he can score down low and step out­side to shoot the jumper.

11. CHAR­LOTTE — Ma­lik Monk, Ken­tucky, SG, 6-3, 200: Monk can score from all over the court. He has a nice out­side shoot­ing stroke from three-point range.

12. DETROIT — Luke Ken­nard, Duke, G, 6-6, 195: The Pis­tons need more con­sis­tent out­side shoot­ing. Ken­nard made 43.8% of his three-point shots last sea­son for the Blue Devils.

13. DEN­VER — OG Anunoby, In­di­ana, SF/PF, 6-7, 235: Anunoby fits the bill for the Nuggets, es­pe­cially if they end up los­ing small for­ward Danilo Gal­li­nari dur­ing free agency.

14. MI­AMI — Justin Jackson, North Carolina, SF, 6-8, 200: Jackson has a nice all-around skill set. He can score some and also plays solid de­fense.

15. PORT­LAND — Justin Pat­ton, Creighton, C, 6-11, 230: He’s a project worth tak­ing here. His abil­ity to shoot with some range and pass the ball are good as­sets.

16. CHICAGO — Dono­van Mitchell, Louisville, PG/SG, 6-2, 210: Mitchell is a force on of­fense and de­fense. Scouts like his tough­ness.

17. MILWAUKEE — TJ Leaf, UCLA, PF, 6-10, 225: Leaf has a nice touch for a big man, show­ing that he can step out and shoot and also run the floor.

18. IN­DI­ANA — Jar­rett Allen, Texas, C, 6-10, 235: Allen can be an in­side pres­ence for the Pac­ers. He has a 7-foot-5 wing­span, and that will help him to score down low.

19. AT­LANTA — Harry Giles, Duke, SF/PF, 6-10, 230: He has a nice NBA body. He’s a tremen­dous leaper and runs the floor well.

20. PORT­LAND — D.J. Wil­son, Michi­gan, SF/PF, 610, 240: Wil­son is a good de­fender who can play mul­ti­ple po­si­tions.

21. OK­LA­HOMA CITY — Isaiah Hartenstein, Ger­many, PF/C, 7-1, 249: He is ver­sa­tile enough to play two po­si­tions. He is strong, can shoot the ball and passes it as well.

22. BROOK­LYN — Ike Anig­bogu, UCLA, C, 6-10, 250: Though he’s a project, scouts say he has great up­side be­cause of his size, ath­leti­cism and de­fen­sive mo­tor.

23. TORONTO — Ter­rance Fer­gu­son, Aus­tralia, SG, 6-7, 185: He demon­strated quick­ness and ath­leti­cism while play­ing in Aus­tralia’s Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League last sea­son.

24. UTAH — Jawun Evans, Ok­la­homa State, PG, 6-0, 185: Evans lacks size but can play both point guard and shoot­ing guard.

25. OR­LANDO — Ivan Rabb, Cal­i­for­nia, PF/C, 6-10, 220: Rabb has some tools that en­able him to score down low and re­bound.

26. PORT­LAND — Anzejs Pasecniks, Latvia, C, 7-1, 220: He needs to gain weight and be­come stronger, but he’s mo­bile and has some of­fen­sive skills.

27. LAK­ERS — Semi Ojel­eye, South­ern Methodist, SF/PF, 6-6, 240: He al­ready has an NBA body. He can play two po­si­tions in to­day’s small-ball type line­ups.

28. LAK­ERS — Jonah Bolden, Aus­tralia, PF, 6-10, 235: Look for the Lak­ers to stash the for­mer UCLA player over­seas so he can de­velop and be­cause they don’t want too many rook­ies on the team.

29. SAN AN­TO­NIO — Josh Hart, Vil­lanova, SG, 6-5, 210: He has im­proved his game every sea­son. And he is ul­tra com­pet­i­tive, mak­ing him a good fit with the Spurs.

30. UTAH — Tyler Ly­don, Syra­cuse, PF, 6-9, 230: His shoot­ing abil­ity will make Ly­don a “stretch four” in the NBA.

Joe Rob­bins Getty Images

PAUL GE­ORGE (13) has told the Pac­ers he won’t re-sign with them, which could force the team to trade the four-time All-Star in or­der to re­ceive some com­pen­sa­tion.

Elaine Thompson As­so­ci­ated Press

LAURI MARKKA­NEN of Ari­zona is a 7-footer who can shoot from dis­tance. He made 42.3% of his three-point­ers for the Wild­cats.

Michael Hickey Getty Images

JONATHAN ISAAC of Florida State has the most up­side of any player in the draft, ac­cord­ing to some scouts.

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