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LIVE UPDATES: 2017 NBA Draft in Brooklyn (6/22/17)

2017 NBA Draft kicks off Thursday night

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BROOKLYN – The 2017 NBA Draft takes place Thursday night in Brooklyn. You can follow live updates right here.

Markelle Fultz is ready for the NBA draft. He's already learned about life at the trade deadline.

During a dizzying few days of deals around the NBA, the presumed No. 1 pick had his Saturday plans - not to mention his future destination - change when the Philadelphia 76ers brought him in for a workout. They then completed a trade with the Boston Celtics and are expected to take the Washington guard to begin the action Thursday night.

And if the last few days are indication, what follows might be a wild night inside Barclays Center.

"It's been a little crazy last couple days," Duke forward Jayson Tatum said Wednesday.

NBA Draft 2017: How to watch, draft order, rumors

Teams seem to have one eye on the draft and future stars like Fultz and Lonzo Ball, while the other is firmly focused on jockeying for proven veterans. Former and future No. 1 picks have already been dealt this week in what feels like the trade deadline, free agency and draft all rolled into one frenzy.

"It just shows you what the NBA is about. I mean, you can get traded in the blink of an eye, without knowing," Fultz said. "It just shows you how this business is and like I said, I just go with the flow. I've got an opportunity to play basketball and that's all I ask for."

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Monk, Mitchell headline list of shooting guards in NBA draft

The top shooting guards in Thursday night's NBA draft certainly offer plenty of high-scoring punch. They also come with some question marks.

Kentucky's Malik Monk is the top prospect and is expected to go in the lottery, followed by Louisville's Donovan Mitchell and Duke's Luke Kennard - all in the first round. But the position doesn't have the same projected upside compared to a stacked class of point guards or the next crop of do-everything forwards.

Here's a look at the top shooting guard prospects:

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MALIK MONK

Simply put, the Kentucky guard can score from anywhere.

STRENGTHS: The 6-foot-3, 200-pound freshman averaged 19.8 points while shooting 45 percent from the field, nearly 40 percent from 3-point range and about 82 percent from the line. Two games stood out in particular: a 47-point performance in a win against eventual national champion North Carolina in December and a February victory against Florida in which Monk scored 30 second-half points after managing just one basket before the break.

CONCERNS: Teams will want him to do more than just score. Monk wasn't active on the glass (2.5 rebounds per game), averaged roughly as many assists (2.3) as turnovers (2.0) and less than a steal a game. He also faded in the NCAA Tournament, averaging 14.8 points and shooting 38 percent in four games. The 19-year-old has plenty of athleticism but will need to develop an all-around game for nights when scoring doesn't come as easily.

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DONOVAN MITCHELL

The Louisville guard took a big leap in his sophomore season to become an all-Atlantic Coast Conference performer.

STRENGTHS: Mitchell has solid athleticism and a sturdy 6-3 frame, weighing in at 211 pounds at the combine to go with a 6-10 wingspan. He averaged 15.6 points in his first year as the Cardinals' go-to guy, contributing on the glass (4.9), on the defensive end (2.1 steals) and even occasionally at the point (2.7 assists).

CONCERNS: Mitchell is undersized for an NBA shooting guard. He also shot just 35 percent from 3-point range and had some issues with his shot periodically through the year. His shot selection prompted coach Rick Pitino to say Mitchell was "trying to win a game of H-O-R-S-E" by taking the toughest shots possible during a November game against Old Dominion.

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LUKE KENNARD

Duke's all-ACC wing blossomed as a sophomore into a polished and highly efficient scorer whose shooting range stretched defenses.

STRENGTHS: The 6-6 wing upped his scoring average nearly eight points per game to average 19.5 points. He also averaged 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists. He didn't need a ton of shots to put up strong numbers, either; Kennard shot 49 percent from the field, 44 percent from 3-point range and 86 percent from the foul line. He can produce in both catch-and-shoot and screen scenarios.

CONCERNS: Kennard lacks elite athleticism and it's unclear if he'll be able to consistently create his own shot in the NBA. He'll also have to hold his own on defense.

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TERRANCE FERGUSON

The former McDonald's All-American and Arizona recruit passed on college to play professionally in Australia.

STRENGTHS: Ferguson has size (6-7) on the perimeter to go with athleticism and could potentially play small forward. He's projected as a first-round pick, possibly in the middle of the round.

CONCERNS: He had his struggles with the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League, averaging 4.6 points and 1.2 rebounds while shooting 31 percent on 3-pointers in 15 minutes a game. His game and body (190 pounds) still need development for the next level.

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DERRICK WHITE

The 6-4 senior has had an interesting rise from high-scoring Division II guard to all-conference transfer at Colorado.

STRENGTHS: White has a knack for scoring and the potential to play either guard spot at the next level. He averaged 22 points for his career at Colorado-Colorado Springs as a wing, then averaged 18.1 points and 4.4 assists for the Buffaloes in his first season playing the point. He also shot 51 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range at Colorado.

CONCERNS: White doesn't have remarkable quickness or explosiveness, so it's unclear how he'll match up with more athletic NBA guards.

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OTHERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON:

- JOSH HART: The Villanova senior was an Associated Press first-team all-American who averaged 18.7 points but doesn't boast elite athleticism. He's a likely second-round prospect.

- TYLER DORSEY: The Oregon sophomore got rolling late in the season with 20-plus points in his last eight games, helping the Ducks reach the Final Four for the first time since 1939. He's a possible second-round pick.

- SINDARIUS THORNWELL: The South Carolina senior helped drive the Gamecocks to their first Final Four appearance with his tough-nosed play. He's a second-round prospect.

For some rookies, NBA draft isn't the start of a pro career

Isaiah Hartenstein's NBA odyssey will start at the draft.

His pro career started years ago.

Unlike Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum and most everyone else who will get their names called at Thursday's NBA draft - the true start of their pro lives - Hartenstein already knows what playing for a living is like. His pro career started in Germany in 2015, and he helped Zalgiris grab the Lithuanian Basketball League title earlier this month.

And now the NBA awaits the 19-year-old.

"First of all, me playing professional already helps a lot," Hartenstein said. "My body is fit for the league right now. I still have to work on it a lot, but there are skills I couldn't show this year because of the system we played. I have a good shot, I'm very versatile on defense and offense. I think I can help teams out a lot."

His story is not typical.

Born in Eugene, Oregon, where his father played college ball, Hartenstein and his family moved about a decade ago to Germany. They went because his father, Flo, was playing pro ball there. Colleges made their recruiting pitches as Hartenstein got older and taller - he's now 7-foot-1 and about 225 pounds - but he opted to stay in Europe and start practicing and playing against pros when he was 15.

Skipping college was a risk.

It might now be paying off.

"He's a 19-year-old kid with a unique background," said Wasserman agent B.J. Armstrong, who represents Hartenstein. "His maturity level is well beyond 19 and I think he has an opportunity to be a very good player here. I commend him for choosing what he thought was the best way for him to develop, and he's now willing to take the next step."

There won't be as much international flavor in this draft as there was a year ago, when a record 27 players from outside the U.S. were selected. But there's been at least 10 international draft picks in each of the last 17 years, and that streak is likely to continue.

French point guard Frank Ntilikina - 6-foot-5 with a massive wingspan and who doesn't even turn 19 until July - has been playing pro ball in Europe, like Hartenstein. Ntilikina is projected as a lottery pick, and has had the NBA on his radar for years.

"I work every day to be the best player I can be," Ntilikina said. "And I hope that I've done enough to be a good player in the NBA."

Jonah Bolden is another foreign player with an intriguing back story. The Australian-born forward played one season at UCLA, then left and has since been playing in pro leagues in Australia and Serbia. And guard Terrance Ferguson, born in Oklahoma, decided against college ball and spent this past season playing in an Australian league.

So Hartenstein's isn't the only nontraditional path to the draft. But he's convinced the path he took was the right one.

"The learning experience being overseas, learning from older people, playing with professionals every day, being in the professional lifestyle on and off the court, you learn you have to mature fast," Hartenstein said. "You're not just representing yourself, you're representing the organization. So you learn from the good experiences and bad experiences others have had, and I think that really helps me out."

The NBA was part of Hartenstein's daily routine while playing in Lithuania: practice in the morning, eat, watch NBA League Pass, practice again in the evening, eat again, watch more NBA League Pass. And when he wanted to talk about NBA life, a great resource was always nearby - his coach with Zalgiris was Sarunas Jasikevicius, who played for Indiana and Golden State.

Being 7-foot-1 with German ties - Hartenstein holds dual German and American citizenship - and a jump shot, the comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki are unavoidable. Even his father sees some parallels between their games.

For now, Hartenstein shrugs off comparisons.

He's just ready to take on whatever challenge the NBA brings.

"Everyone will have their own opinion on how they see me," Hartenstein said. "I'm my own player. At the end of the day, no one can be like Dirk. He's done a lot for the game and I definitely appreciate what he's done for the game in Germany and for European basketball. So comparisons are nice, but at the end of the day I'm my own player and have to show what I can do."

 


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