Between their own selection and the option to swap picks with the Sacramento Kings, the Philadelphia 76ers have just under a 15 percent chance of receiving the top overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Washington guard Markelle Fultz has been the consensus top player in this year’s class, and if Philadelphia were lucky enough to select him with the No. 1 pick, people inside the Fultz camp say it would be a match made in heaven.
Fultz is at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago this week, but is not working out. However, the Sixers and other high lottery teams are slated to interview him over the next few days.
Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer spoke to Fultz’s trainer, Keith Williams, about a potential partnership between Fultz and last year’s top pick, Ben Simmons.
Simple enough. Simmons is a high-level ball handler with some remarkable passing skills, and Fultz showed during his one year at Washington that he’s a capable scorer at all three levels. He averaged 26 points per game as a Husky, and shot 50.2 percent on two-point field goals and 41.7 percent from three.
Despite the fact that Fultz is also a quality ball handler himself and is known for being the centerpiece of an offense, playing off ball shouldn’t be too much of an issue. According to hoop-math, 29 of Fultz’s 52 made threes were assisted, so he could be a legitimate catch-and-shoot threat alongside Simmons.
Furthermore, Pompey followed up his quote from Williams with this tweet:
Fultz also likes that Philadelphia is close to his Maryland home.— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) May 10, 2017
Fultz was born in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and attended DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville.
If you’ll recall, Fultz sat courtside with some friends at the Wells Fargo Center for Sixers-Nets on April 4th. Brooklyn bludgeoned the Sixers 141-118 that evening, but Fultz sung the organization’s praises all night. He’s also close friends with Ben Simmons, which would partially explain his reasoning behind coming to a Sixers game, as well as his general interest in playing with the former LSU standout.
But at this point, a lot of noise surrounding what team a player would like to go to is one part truth, one part lip service. Talk to someone close to Markelle Fultz and they’ll tell you something nice about every possible city he could be drafted to. Going to Boston would mean Fultz could immediately contribute to an Eastern Conference contender. Los Angeles means he could be a Tinseltown star. Phoenix would mean, well, warm weather all year round?
Regardless, it’s easy to see that there’s a clear fit for Fultz in Philadelphia -Fultzadelphia, if you will (I already got the t-shirts mocked up). We’ll just have to wait until Tuesday to find out if it’s actually possible.