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2017 NBA Draft Grades: Sixers earn high praise for selection of Markelle Fultz

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The selection of Markelle Fultz earned high marks from major outlets.

NBA: Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 draft signified Philadelphia’s departure from rebuilding, and selecting Markelle Fultz marks a turning point after a four-year downturn. Pairing with playmaking forward Ben Simmons and a two-way terror in Joel Embiid, the Sixers don’t just have an enviable young trio, their skill sets are textbook fits.

Even if you still resent Bryan Colangelo, he effectively consolidated the assets Sam Hinkie provided him to secure this year’s marquee talent. Brett Brown’s has be elated about the opportunity to run complex sets for Simmons and Fultz, and finally has the offensively-gifted guard he’s been clamoring for.

Following the draft, Brown raved about Fultz’s synergy with both Simmons and Embiid, his intangibles and two-way ability. Fultz brings an array of traits at either guard position next season and should be a top contender, along with Ben Simmons, at claiming the ROY crown. While Colangelo had a straightforward decision at No. 1, there were multiple routes he could’ve taken with his four second-round selections.

He mentioned wanting to trade back into the first round prior to the draft, and Colangelo executed that plan last night. For the protected 2020 first-round pick acquired in the Jerami Grant deal and a 2020 second-round pick, Colangelo acquired the rights to Anzejs Pasecniks. Pasecniks, a 7-foot-2 Latvian center who currently plays for Gran Canaria overseas, is a highly skilled behemoth who might not join the team until two years from now.

Tapping into the overseas market again, Colangelo took combo big Jonah Bolden with the 36th pick and forward Matthias Lessort at No. 50. Both Jawun Evans’ (#39) and Sterling Brown’s (#46) Sixers careers remain in limbo after Colangelo reportedly traded the selections on draft day but explained that they retained their rights.

Well, we’ve drafted a few players, we retain the rights to those players, and we’ll see how the dust settles here in the coming weeks as to how this all plays out. We do own the draft rights to six players we took tonight, and we’ll see how it all plays out.

In terms of how the Sixers made out Thursday night, outlets included just Fultz, Pasecniks, Bolden, and Lessort in their team grades. Stemming from Bryan Colangelo’s savvy move to move up for Fultz and subsequently draft him, the team earned high marks throughout.

Team Grades:

Ricky O’Donnell (SB Nation): A

Analysis: O’Donnell raved about Fultz’s talent and believes Bolden has potential as a second-round pick.

Andrew Lynch (Fox Sports): A

Analysis: Lynch focused on Colangelo utilizing his trove of assets to make a move for a high-upside, high-floor prospect in Fultz.

Maurice Moton (Bleacher Report): A

Analysis: Moton viewing the Celtics trade as a win for Philadelphia and Fultz joining a young foundation of Simmons and Embiid gets Colangelo another ‘A’.

Chris Stone (Fansided): A

Analysis: Stone lauded the Sixers for taking Fultz, who he viewed as this draft’s marquee talent. He delved into Pasecniks and Bolden’s perplexing fits on this roster, but acknowledged the two are prime stash candidates. Fultz’s selection probably buoyed the grade.

Individual Selection Grades:

Fultz’s blend of fit and talent earned Colangelo peak grades literred with ‘A’ marks, which is on par for most No. 1 picks. There’s consistent sentiments throughout each writer’s take on the matter. In terms of Pasecniks, he didn’t generate the same hype of Markelle Fultz being the prototypical guard Philadelphia sought and acquired.

Markelle Fultz

Jonathan Tjarks (The Ringer): Value (A), Fit (B)

Analysis: Tjarks touches upon Philadelphia getting the prime talent in three of the past four drafts and Fulz could have a multifaceted impact here. However, he believes Lonzo Ball would’ve been the better fit on this team.

Sam Vecenie (Sporting News): A+

Analysis: Vecenie gives Colangelo the top mark because of what Fultz will bring to this organization day one: a guy who pairs well with the Embiid-Simmons tandem and can score at all three levels.

Jeremy Woo (Sports Illustrated): A

Analysis: Woo thought Colangelo’s trade up was calculating and Fultz can help spearhead this new iteration of Sixers basketball.

Adi Joseph (USA Today): A

Analysis: Joseph loves that Fultz provides optionality as a combo guard and has the highest chance at realizing star potential.

Reid Forgrave and Jack Maloney (CBS Sports): A

Analysis: Forgrave and Maloney view the process as finalized with the Fultz selection.

Anzejs Pasecniks

Jonathan Tjarks (The Ringer): Value (B), Fit (C)

Analysis: Tjarks mentions some of the kinks in the Latvian’s game as a raw prospect and isn’t particularly thrilled with the fact that Philadelphia selected another big man.

Sam Vecenie (Sporting News): B-

Analysis: Vecenie doesn’t like the fit, but views Pasecniks as possible depth moving forward if Colangelo moves on from Jahlil Okafor and Richaun Holmes.

Jeremy Woo (Sports Illustrated): B

Analysis: Woo views Pasecniks as a project who could be of use moving forward.

Adi Joseph (USA Today): A-

Analysis: Joseph gave the pick a higher mark due to the 7-foot-2 big’s potential on this team and that he presumed Philadelphia would use their seconds on guys who’d be under two-way G-League contracts.

Reid Forgrave and Jack Maloney (CBS Sports): B-

Analysis: Forgrave and Maloney echoed similar sentiments to others, mentioning his upside. However, they think he needs a jumper at the NBA level.