NBA Draft: UNC's Jackson, Duke's Giles now teammates

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Friday, June 23, 2017
ACC players well represented at NBA Draft
Dennis Smith Jr. was one of two Tobacco Road players chosen in the Top 10.

NEW YORK (WTVD) -- As strange as it must sound, UNC's Justin Jackson and Duke's Harry Giles have gone from rivals to teammates in one night.

The Portland Trail Blazers traded the No. 15 and No. 20 picks in the NBA draft to Sacramento in exchange for the No. 10 pick, Gonzaga center Zach Collins.

With the No. 15 pick, the Blazers took small forward Justin Jackson out of North Carolina. Portland selected Duke power forward Harry Giles with the No. 20 pick.

Collins, a 7-footer, played off the bench in his lone season with the Bulldogs behind senior starter Przemek Karnowski and averaged 10 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

Gonzaga went 37-2 last season, falling to North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament championship game.

Jackson averaged 18.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game last season for the NCAA champion Tar Heels. He set a school record with 105 3-pointers. He was named the ACC Player of the Year.

Jackson played for three seasons overall with North Carolina, averaging 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists.

Giles was once one of the top prospects in his class before being hobbled by knee injuries. He played sparingly in his only season at Duke, missing the start of the season recovering from an injury and averaging just 11.5 minutes per game in his 26 contests. He averaged 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.


Duke's Jayson Tatum became the first player with North Carolina ties off the board, going third overall to the Boston Celtics.

It marks the fourth straight year the Blue Devils have produced a top-three pick.

The selection comes after the Celtics traded the top pick to Philadelphia earlier in the week for the No. 3 pick, plus a first-rounder in either 2018 or 2019.

In Tatum, a 6-foot-8 small forward, Boston gets a player who was a polished scoring threat during his lone season at Duke, averaging 16.8 points while shooting 45.2 percent from the field. The 19-year-old was a third-team All-ACC selection.

Tatum said he feels fortunate to be joining a contender immediately.

"It's great," he said. "I think that I get to learn that much more, especially from a veteran team that knows what it takes to get there. I can't wait to go and learn from Coach (Brad) Stevens and Isaiah Thomas and just everybody on that roster."

Tatum also provides some rotation flexibility, with the ability to play both forward spots and defend as many as four positions.

The Celtics have been high on Tatum throughout the draft process, and had him in for a private workout late last week.


The Dallas Mavericks have taken North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith Jr. with the ninth overall pick in the NBA draft.

President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said before the draft Thursday night that point guard was the team's biggest need, and the club decided to address it.

Smith will get a strong chance to start with the Mavericks believing that Yogi Ferrell is better-suited to a backup role even though he made a splash that earned him a two-year deal after the undrafted rookie joined the Mavericks on a 10-day contract.

The Mavericks missed the playoffs for just the second time in the past 17 seasons. They had their highest pick going into the draft since 1998, when they ended up with Dirk Nowitzki, who is preparing for his 20th season.


Stan Van Gundy is thoroughly impressed with Luke Kennard's offensive ability.

That won't be enough to earn Detroit's first-round draft pick regular playing time.

"He's a mature offensive player, for his age coming in," said Van Gundy, the Pistons' coach and team president. "I would have no question putting him in the game offensively now, but defensively, I wouldn't put him in a game right now."

The Pistons drafted Kennard with the 12th overall pick Thursday night, and the 6-foot-6 guard from Duke certainly could fill a need. Detroit shot only 33 percent from 3-point range as a team last season, and Kennard was at 44 percent from beyond the arc in his sophomore season for the Blue Devils.

Kennard averaged 19.5 points a game in 2016-17, then turned pro . Van Gundy stressed that he is a good all-around player on offense and can contribute more than just outside shooting.

"His game is to play with the ball, come off screens, make plays," Van Gundy said. "I look at him as a playmaker, a scorer."

The question is whether he can defend well enough at the NBA level.

"I think one of the big things is strength," Kennard said. "I think if I become a bigger, or a stronger player physically, it will help me."


The Philadelphia 76ers took Washington guard Markelle Fultz first overall.

After the 76ers selected Fultz, the Los Angeles Lakers took UCLA guard Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick.

Ball seems certain to become the starting point guard in coach Luke Walton's up-tempo offense after D'Angelo Russell is traded to Brooklyn.

The Lakers don't appear concerned by LaVar Ball, the voluble father with aspirations of building a global sports empire around his three talented sons. Ball raised his family in the Los Angeles suburbs.

Ball receives comparisons to Jason Kidd for his offensive abilities. He led the nation with 7.7 assists per game while quarterbacking the highest-scoring offense in Division I, and he scored consistently despite an unorthodox shot.

"This is crazy," Ball said in a phone interview. "You can't really tell by my emotions, but I feel good. I'm happy to be home."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.