NEW YORK (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers selected guard Markelle Fultz on Thursday night with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
The Los Angeles Lakers followed by taking Lonzo Ball as the draft started with a pair of freshmen point guards from the Pac-12 Conference.
After a busy stretch of trades around the NBA, the draft got off to a familiar start with the same top-four picks as last year: Philadelphia, the Lakers, Boston and Phoenix.
Fultz averaged 23.2 points last season at Washington, tops among freshmen, and added 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game, the only Division I player to reach those stats. He walked across the stage Thursday night at Barclays Center wearing red sneakers made of basketballs.
The 76ers had the No. 1 pick for the second straight year after trading with the Boston Celtics on Monday. Now they add Fultz to a promising young core that includes Rookie of the Year finalists Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, plus Ben Simmons, the top pick from last year who sat out all season with a foot injury.
Ball then got the wish he and his father, LaVar, wanted all along by staying in Los Angeles, where he starred last season at UCLA. LaVar Ball had said his son would only play for the Lakers, and it was clear that would happen when Lonzo got a phone call with the Lakers on the clock.
As Lonzo walked on stage to meet Commissioner Adam Silver and put on a purple Lakers hat, LaVar put on a gold and purple Big Baller Brand hat, the company he has started.
The Celtics then took Duke’s Jayson Tatum at No. 3 after moving down two spots in the trade with Philadelphia, drawing cheers from a large contingent of their fans at Barclays Center wearing green. The run of freshmen continued when the Suns took Josh Jackson of Kansas.
The Sacramento Kings were up next at No. 5 with their first of two top-10 selections.