This year’s top overall draft pick, Markelle Fultz, caught the Sixers’ injury bug at the start of his rookie campaign. Fultz is sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury, continuing Philadelphia’s tough-luck run with lottery picks.
Despite Fultz’s injury, the 2017 draft class has quickly made its mark. Numerous first-round selections have made major impacts in just a few short weeks.
The second overall pick, Lonzo Ball, may have a broken jumper (31.4%) but he’s lived up to his billing as a prolific distributor (7.4 APG) and surprisingly strong rebounder (6.8 RPG). Ball’s teammate, power forward Kyle Kuzma, has already proven to be a steal with the No. 27 overall pick. Kuzma leads the draft class in scoring (15.2 PPG) and field-goal percentage (51.6%) while tying Ball for third in rebounding (6.8 RPG).
Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen took full advantage of additional playing time due to the Nikola Mirotic–Bobby Portis dust-up. He ranks third among 2017 draft picks in scoring (14.5 PPG) and first in rebounding (7.8 RPG).
The third overall pick, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, saw his role expand in the wake of Gordon Hayward‘s season-ending injury. He’s provided immediate help (13.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG). The rebuilding Hawks have thrown power forward John Collins into the fire and he’s responded by ranking second to Markkanen in rebounding (7.3) and second in blocks (1.15) while also delivering double-digit scoring (1o.2 PPG).
Ball is far from the only guard in the draft class to show poise beyond his years. Jazz combo guard Donovan Mitchell (13.9 PPG) has earned a starting spot. Dennis Smith (14.8 PPG, 4.9 APG) has been one of the Mavericks’ few bright spots. The Kings’ De’Aaron Fox (11.9 PPG, 5.2 APG) looks like their long-term solution at the position.
This brings us to our question of the day: Which 2017 draft pick has impressed you the most during the first few weeks of the season? What has made him a standout?
Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to hearing your opinion on this subject.