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Butler trade, freshmen picks highlight NBA draft

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    Washington’s Markelle Fultz, right, poses for a photo with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected by the Philadelphia 76ers as the No. 1 pick overall during the NBA basketball draft, today, in New York.

NEW YORK >> The Philadelphia 76ers did what everyone expected, and picked Markelle Fultz with the first pick of tonight’s NBA draft.

The Minnesota Timberwolves pulled off the biggest surprise, and traded for Jimmy Butler.

The 2017 draft was a record-setting night for freshmen.

The first seven picks were one-and-dones and a record 16 of them heard their names called in the first round. Fultz led the way, walking into the arena in Brooklyn with orange shoes that were made out of basketballs. He walked out a future millionaire and a member of a team that has been asking fans to “trust the process” — a reference to Philly’s long rebuilding project.

Only two seniors went in the first round — the lowest number in the modern history of the draft. Derrick White, who went to the Spurs, and Josh Hart, who went to the Lakers, had to wait until the last two picks of round number one to hear their names called.

But a wonderful night for freshman wasn’t great for all of them. Among the undrafted was Arizona freshman Kobi Simmons, who entered the draft even though NBA scouts told him he wasn’t ready.

Some other names that weren’t called included Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks, who were stars of North Carolina’s title run this year. And remember Kris Jenkins, who hit the 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Villanova to the championship in 2016? He’ll be looking to sign as a free-agent, too.

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