The Sixers selected Markelle Fultz with the first pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, adding the top player in the prospect pool to a growing roster of young stars with incredible upside. When asked at his Sixers workout about the chance to start his NBA career alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, Fultz said, “it would be pretty cool. Just being with a young team, the upside of it would be crazy.”
This is pretty crazy.
After years of being the NBA also-ran, the Sixers are starting to look like the most intriguing team in the Eastern Conference. Whether they can become the best remains to be seen, but the level of talent they’ve added over the last two seasons — highlighted by drafting Fultz to be the point guard of the future — has fans, media and anyone with even a hint of basketball IQ excited for what’s to come. For the last half decade, Trust The Process has been the mantra of the franchise, during both the Sam Hinkie tenure as GM and now well into the Bryan Colangelo regime. Fans who remained faithful have been rewarded. The Sixers are for real. Crazy.
Fultz will be a huge part of what the Sixers are building, as he and Simmons will likely share primary ball-handling responsibilities. But Fultz adds more than just a decent dribble. He has excellent court vision, the quickness to both defend and get himself to the rim and can shoot a little, too.
Here’s what you need to know about the Sixers’ new rookie.
- Height: 6-4
- Wingspan: 6-10
- Weight: 190
- Age: 19 (Born May 29, 1998)
- Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD
- High School: DeMatha
- College: Washington
How he defines his game, in his own words…
— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) June 21, 2017
Is he hurt?
No. He’s actually healthy, but it’s a fair question to ask about a Sixers player drafted this high in the first round. Fultz missed six games last season with a knee injury, but there was no structural damage found. He did have a medical examination as part of his pre-draft workout process and it came back clean. But seriously…
Stylin’ at the NBA Draft
Yes, Fultz wore shoes made out of basketballs to the NBA Draft.
Here’s what Fultz had to say at the NBA Draft media availability.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Did he say “a nice steak and cheese” at the 1:23 mark of that clip? We might need to rethink this. Seriously, can we trade him? This is unacceptable.
A rough college career at Washington
In his one year at Washington, Fultz averaged 23.2 points and 5.9 assists per game, shooting .476 from the field, including .413 from three. He was just a .649 free throw shooter, which is pretty horrible, conspiring to lower his true shooting percentage a tad, to just .558. Lonzo Ball’s TS%, by comparison, was .673.
The Huskies were horrible last season, finishing the year 9-22, with just two wins in the Pac-12. Because the team was so bad, and because they had so many losses to so many really mediocre teams, people have begun to question Fultz’s leadership. A player this good — good enough to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA — should lead a power-conference team to more wins. That’s fair to suggest, but it’s hard to use that as a knock against his skillset in the NBA.
Washington doesn’t have a great pipeline to the NBA, but Fultz follows the footsteps of All-Star Isaiah Thomas, who was a point guard there from 2008-11, and the likes of Marquese Chriss, the eighth pick in last year’s draft, and Terrence Ross, the eighth pick in 2012.
Here’s a breakdown of Fultz from CBS Sports in which they talk about his college career being a knock on his NBA prospects.
High School pedigree
Fultz was on the JV team in high school as a sophomore, but worked his way onto varsity and four years later he’s the number one pick in the NBA Draft. That’s a heckuva story. It helps that he went to famed DeMatha high, which has produced a number of top NBA players, including Jerami and Jerian Grant, Victor Oladipo, Keith Bogans, Danny Ferry, Adrian Dantley and a host of others.
Fultz is on Twitter, where it seems he mostly retweets nice things people say about him. He’s also on Instagram, showing some great pre-draft photos and videos. He also shows off his ink.
Oh, and he had no time for Magic Johnson last week. Man, it doesn’t matter how tired you are, or how little chance you think you’re going to the Lakers. You don’t sour on Magic like that without starting a cross-country rivalry. Sixers fans should love that. This is like the Iverson stepping over Ty Lue of Twitter photos.
With the Sixers
Here is Fultz’s full pre-draft workout with the Sixers.
Anyone picked first overall is going to have to make the rounds with the media. Here is Fultz chatting with ESPN.
And for what it’s worth, here’s Fultz dodging dodgeballs. Too bad they didn’t know he was going to Philly when they filmed this. They could have replaced the dodgeballs with snowballs. Hey-o!