MIAMI — The 2017 NBA Draft is just hours away. The two-round draft will begin Thursday at 7 p.m. from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Here’s how I see the first round going …
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
Analysis: The deal isn’t official yet, but the 76ers will likely get this pick and Fultz in a trade with the Celtics. Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Fultz. That has the potential to be scary good.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
Analysis: Forget all the talk about Los Angeles passing on Ball. The Lakers and Ball seem destined for each other.
3. Boston Celtics: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
Analysis: He may not be Fultz, but Jackson has the toughness and defensive ability Boston loves. This will be a nice addition to an already strong team.
4. Phoenix Suns: Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
Analysis: Safe pick who should fit nicely next to Devin Booker. Another young piece on a young Suns roster.
5. Sacramento Kings: De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
Analysis: The Kings can upgrade their current point guard situation with this pick. With Fox, Sacramento has a potential game-changer.
6. Orlando Magic: Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Florida State
Analysis: Long, athletic and versatile with a ton of upside. But this is also a risky pick at No. 6.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
Analysis: The Timberwolves already have young talent, but they need shooting. That’s where Markkanen’s sweet shot fits in.
8. New York Knicks: Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
Analysis: The Knicks need a young guard to build around, and this one comes with plenty of potential.
9. Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Smith, PG, North Carolina State
Analysis: The Mavericks need a young point guard, and they will probably be happy if Smith falls to them.
10. Sacramento Kings: Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
Analysis: With their first pick in the draft, the Kings took a point guard. With this pick, they will get their big man.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
Analysis: This is a steal for the Hornets. With Dwight Howard now at center, Charlotte can really use Monk’s shooting ability.
12. Detroit Pistons: Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville
Analysis: There may not be a prospect that has jumped up draft boards as much as Mitchell during the evaluation process.
13. Denver Nuggets: John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
Analysis: The former Cardinal Newman standout is worth a lottery pick after making a huge jump in his sophomore season at Wake Forest to win the ACC’s Most Improved Player award.
14. Miami Heat: Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
Analysis: The Heat love shooting and this is one of the top shooters in the draft. The Heat also love players from Duke. He averaged 19.5 points on 49 percent shooting from the field and 43.8 percent shooting from 3-point range last season.
15. Portland Trail Blazers: Harry Giles, PF, Duke
Analysis: Giles is a risk because of his knee injuries. But Portland has three first-round picks. Why not gamble on a player with a lot of potential?
16. Chicago Bulls: TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA
Analysis: Good offensive player who can space the floor as a power forward. That fits today’s NBA.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
Analysis: Anigbogu is known for his ability to protect the rim with his 7-foot-6 wingspan. Pair this guy with Giannis Antetokounmpo and you have some serious length on the court.
18. Indiana Pacers: OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana
Analysis: A 6-foot-8 small forward with a 7-foot-2 wingspan who can also play some power forward in the NBA. But there’s some risk here, as Anunoby missed the final two months of this past season — his sophomore season — with a torn ACL.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Justin Patton, C, Creighton
Analysis: Looking for a Dwight Howard replacement? Patton is your guy, but just don’t expect much right away. He’s raw, but he has tremendous upside.
20. Portland Trail Blazers: Bam Adebayo, PF, Kentucky
Analysis: The Trail Blazers need defense, and Adebayo is an athleltic big man who can guard multiple positions. Load up on defense, Portland.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
Analysis: The Thunder need more shooters and Jackson will help in this area. He made 37 percent of his 3-point shots last season.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Latvia
Analysis: One of the few international players that’s expected to be drafted in the first round.
23. Toronto Raptors: D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan
Analysis: An athletic stretch four who would be insurance in case the Raptors lose Serge Ibaka in free agency.
24. Utah Jazz: Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
Analysis: Allen may need a season or two to become a consistent contributor, but he could end up as a nice backup for Rudy Gobert.
25. Orlando Magic: Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State
Analysis: The shortest player at the combine, as he came in at just under 5-foot-11. But he’s a playmaker.
26. Portland Trail Blazers: Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Germany
Analysis: With three first-round picks, Portland is probably looking to stash one of them overseas. That why Hartenstein makes sense here.
27. Los Angeles Lakers: Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia
Analysis: Ferguson is a long-term project, but the upside is there. He’s a very good athlete who can score.
28. Los Angeles Lakers: Tyler Lydon, SF/PF, Syracuse
Analysis: A good shooter who has some upside. Lydon is worth taking a chance on late in the first round.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Josh Hart, SG, Villanova
Analysis: Hart fits the Spurs mold. He’s not the most exciting player to watch, but he’s a solid experienced all-around player.
30. Utah Jazz: Frank Jackson, SG, Duke
Analysis: An upside pick that makes sense late in the first round.