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Four Europeans highlight 2017 NBA Draft

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It wasn’t the strongest of NBA Drafts if you are a European but four still managed to get in to the first round with a further eight in the second round.

Finland-born Lauri Markkanen was the highest picked European at number seven as the Vantaa native went to the Chicago Bulls after being traded by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was quickly followed at number eight by French point guard Frank Ntilikina, who was selected by the New York Knicks from Basketball Champions League side Strasbourg.

London-born OG Anunoby was chosen as the 23rd pick of the Draft by the Toronto Raptors and the youngster looking forward to being on the court at the Air Canada Centre to continue his rehab from a knee injury.

“My rehab, I’m two months ahead of schedule right now, I’m starting to do a lot more on the court, I have started running and I should be back full in October, November,” said Anunoby.

Despite being raised in the USA, OG Anunoby was born in London and he states his heritage on his Instagram page. He was selected by the Toronto Raptors. Photo: FRANK FRANKLIN II / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The 24th pick went to Latvia’s Anžejs Pasečņiks, who was selected by the Orlando Magic. The Riga-born youngster played for Gran Canaria last season.

Despite having American citizenship, the 18th pick of the NBA Draft, TJ Leaf was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and represented the nation at the U18 European Championship, Division B class in 2015.

There were eight, second rounders in total. German center Isaiah Hartenstein of Zalgiris Kaunas was picked at number 43 by Houston, Slovenian small forward Vlatko Cancar was at number 49 to Denver Serbian point guard Ognjen Jaramaz went to the Knicks at number 58 and French forward Alpha Kaba two picks down to Atlanta, all three of them from Mega Bemax.

French power forward Mathias Lessort of Nanterre was the 50th pick as he went to Philadelphia, Bulgarian Aleksandar Vezenkov of Barcelona was the 57th pick to the Brooklyn Nets and Ognjen Jaramaz was the 58th pick for the Knicks.

Washington’s Markelle Fultz was the number one pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, going to the Philadelphia 76ers with renowned Lonzo Ball picked at number two to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Right now it’s unbelievable really,” Fultz said. “I mean, say you want to do something, and to go out and do it is unbelievable. Right now I’m very excited for myself and my family. I get a chance to take care of my family and I get to do something a lot of kids want to do. So I’m just very happy, and like I say, I’m blessed.”

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