The Sixers got better Thursday night, drafting Markelle Fultz with the first pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. They traded up from No. 3 to get the top pick, as Fultz will become a key piece of the young Philly core.
“Markelle is a tremendous athlete, he’s a tremendous young man. We think he’s going to fit the culture of this organization, what we’re building,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said after the team made their first pick of the night. “We think that fitting in with the core of young players that we’re putting together. Not only with what he represents as a human being but what he represents as a basketball player. It could just not be a more ideal fit.”
— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoCSN) June 23, 2017
Colangelo touted Fultz’s athleticism and ability to get to the basket, pointing out his quality playing with or without the basketball. “It’s an opportunity that we feel,” Colangelo said, “playing alongside Ben Simmons, playing alongside Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and many others that it was the right player, the right piece to move this situation forward.”
“This is a dream come true, really, just all the hard work I put in coming into this,” Fultz said at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after he was selected. “I’m looking forward to going into this organization and just giving it my all. That’s one thing I always wanted to do, come in and give it my all, and then off the court I want to give back to the city and everything like that, and I’m just happy.
“It’s…a great opportunity, and I’m very excited really, just the fans in Philly, how they back up their players and everything like that, and I’m just looking forward to going in there and giving it my all and hopefully changing the program around.”
Sixers trade up to draft-and-stash Anžejs Pasečņiks
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) June 23, 2017
Colangelo wasn’t done in the first round, trading a 2020 first rounder and second rounder to Orlando for the rights of Anžejs Pasečņiks — yes, we copy/pasted that name — from Latvia.
This is a certain draft-and-stash situation, as Pasečņiks is 7-2 and under 230 pounds, but according to those who know, isn’t terribly athletic. The only thing with trading a future pick to take him is that he’s 21 years old, so the clock might start ticking faster than if he was a teenager. The pick is protected 1-20 and will convey as two second rounders. He has a few years left on his deal in Europe, so nobody should be in any rush to bring him over.
A wild second round
The Sixers went into the draft with the No. 1 pick and four second round selections. They left the draft with a host of draft-and-stash prospects. With the 36th pick they nabbed Jonah Bolden, who played at UCLA before leaving because he didn’t think the coaches had his future in mind. He then signed with a team in Serbia.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) June 23, 2017
At 6-10, 225 he’s athletic and can crash the glass. He’s also super excited to get to the NBA.
The Sixers took point guard Jawun Evans from Oklahoma State with the 39th pick, but reportedly dealt his rights to the Clippers. There were reports the pick was traded for cash considerations totalling $100,000. That seems low.
At 46, the Sixers took Sterling Brown, a shooting guard from SMU. But that didn’t last long, as he was traded to Milwaukee.
Then, at 50, the Sixers took Mathias Lessort, an athletic 6-9, 250-pound power forward who plays in the French first division. His scouting report indicates he’s one of the best rebounders in the French league.
Essentially the Sixers punted on two of their four picks in the second round, while trading back into the late first round to grab another draft-and-stash prospect. This is what happens when you have too many draft picks and not enough space on your roster for everyone. Some players will end up in the D-League. The guys in Europe will stay in Europe.
And speaking of players from overseas, the international house of Sixers is alive and kicking after this draft.
The Sixers weren’t done, either.
Nova’s Josh Hart headed to the Lakers
No, it’s not a Sixers pick, but Josh Hart from Villanova was picked with the final selection of the first round. Picked by Utah, Hart’s rights were traded to Los Angeles, where he will team with Lonzo Ball in the Lakers’ revamped backcourt.
Hart, a candidate for the national college player of the year last season, was reportedly told by Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson that his leadership drew the team to him. Also, he’s a solid scorer, good shooter and a solid defender. He may not be a star in the NBA, but he’ll have his chance. A lot of eyes will be on the Lakers and he’s going to a down franchise, but one with a ton of history.