Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Fultz is the One

Posted by Eric Fisher On June 22

Markelle Fultz was the first pick in the NBA Draft because he doesn’t have any obvious weaknesses. He can drive to the basket, shoot from mid-range and long-range, rebound and find open teammates.

There are minor concerns about his consistency on defense and his free throw shooting, but the major questions before the draft revolved around Washington’s 9-21 record. If Fultz is so good, how could his team have been so bad?

“I’m tired of hearing that (I’m not a winner),” Fultz said after the 76ers selected him with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. “Everyone who knows me knows how competitive I am.”

It sounds as if Fultz, who enjoyed a lot of success at high school powerhouse DeMatha Catholic in Maryland, is tired of losing after one sub-par collegiate season. That’s music to the ears of Sixers fans, who have endured far too much losing during “The Process,” averaging 18.75 wins during the past four seasons.

The Sixers have only had one winning season during the past 12 years, and that’s something Fultz plans to change. Immediately.

While acknowledging “I know it’s not going to be easy,” Fultz predicted that the Sixers will make the playoffs next season.

Fultz, who just turned 19 in May, joins a young and talented Sixers roster that includes center Joel Embiid, forward Dario Saric and point guard/forward Ben Simmons, who was the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Unlike Embiid, Simmons and the since-traded Nerlens Noel, who sat out their rookie seasons (two for Embiid) with injuries, It’s expected that Fultz will start as a rookie, but he’s open to any role.

“(I’ll do) whatever they want me to do,” Fultz said. “I’m willing to do whatever helps them win.”

That could mean starting at point guard and handling the ball a lot. It could mean being more of a shooting guard while Simmons handles the bulk of the point guard responsibilities. But Fultz is excited to be a part of the Sixers’ resurgence.

“I’m looking forward to that opportunity and journey,” Fultz said.

Fultz (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) averaged 23.2 points during his lone season at Washington. He made 41.3 percent of his 3-point attempts, so he should help fill the Sixers’ dire need for outside shooters. He averaged 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds.

But it’s clear that those numbers aren’t as important to Fultz as the number of victories.

He seems driven to prove that he’s a winner by helping transform the Sixers into winners.


The Sixers have so many developing players on their roster that they don’t have room for many additional players. So they spent the rest of the draft adding players who may be able to help them down the road.

In addition to having four second-round picks, the Sixers traded up to acquire 7-foot-2 Latvian center Anzejs Pasecniks, selected 25th overall by the Magic. The Sixers sent the Magic the 2020 top-20 protected pick they received from the Thunder in a trade for forward Jerami Grant. Pacecniks, 21, is expected to remain with his team in Spain while he gains wait and improves his game.

Forward Jonah Bolden, whom the Sixers selected in the second round with the 36th overall pick, is similar to Pasecniks in that he has years remaining on his contract with his Serbian team, but Bolden (6-10, 225 pounds) said he plans to come to the NBA. That would require the Sixers to buy out the contract of the well-traveled Bolden, who was born in Australia, but has played for a Las Vegas high school, a prep school in New Hampshire, UCLA and Serbia during the past four years. But the Sixers may determine it’s worth the price for Bolden, who played against Simmons in Australia and says his skills are a perfect fit for pushing the ball up the floor, as Simmons and the Sixers are expected to do.

The Sixers selected Oklahoma State point guard Jawun Evans with the 39th overall pick and SMU shooting guard Sterling Brown with the 46th overall pick, but traded both of them. The Vertical reports that the Sixers are trading Evans to the Clippers and Brown to the Bucks.

With their final pick in the draft, the Sixers selected Mathias Lessort of France with the 50th pick. Lessort is a power forward who can also play center. He is likely to remain with his French team next season.

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