SIXERS PICK FULTZ, IS ‘THE PROCESS’ OVER?
CAMDEN: It was almost anticlimactic when the Sixers made Markelle Fultz the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017. But make no mistake; this pick will change this franchise for many years to come.
Fultz represents the end of one of the most epic tanking effort in sports history – four seasons of misery for Sixers fans that may now finally be over.
The 6-foot-4 offensive machine out of Washington is the fourth elite player in a Sixers lineup that has Sixers followers so excited, several fans are already making their “Sixers Fab Four” out to be the Mount Rushmore of this Sixers era: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Fultz.
Fultz talked via a conference call about 10:30 p.m. Thursday night. He talked about coming to a losing culture, from a team that won just nine games during his one season with Washington.
“My mentality is a winning mentality,” Fulkz said. “Even though we didn’t win at Washington, every day I came in, continued to learn from my coaches, I came in and worked as hard as I could, I came in and tried to motivate my players. Coming Philly, it’s going to be the same thing, working as hard as I can. With the coaches there, they definitely know what they are doing. All the players definitely believe in each other and believe in the process. I’m just looking forward to taking my talents there and help them out as much as I can.”
Is “The Process” over? Based on ticket sales – the regular season is likely to sell out for the first time in team history – the endless losing may finally be over.
76ers Owner Josh Harris issued a statement immediately after the pick.
“I’m excited for our fans and for the 76ers organization that we were able to select the top player in the NBA Draft, Markelle Fultz, tonight,” Harris said. “By adding a player of Markelle’s caliber to our promising roster, we believe we’re incredibly well positioned for the future. This is a tremendous night for the Sixers and our great fans.”
Sixers president of basketball operations and general manager Bryan Colangelo talked glowingly of his prize.
“Markelle is a tremendous athlete and a tremendous young man,” Colangelo said a few minutes after the pick. “I believe he will fit into the culture we’re building and with the core of young players we’re putting together. “
The Sixers personnel staff was assuming Fultz was out of the picture. They focused on players like Lonzo Ball (UCLA), Josh Jackson (Kansas) and De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky).
They just a few days before the draft, Brown found out the Sixers may be moving up to the top spot, he realized it was time to switch his focus.
“The evolution for me, as you were studying players, the study of Markelle Fultz really wasn’t at a serious phase until very late,” Brown said. “We found out, we discussed that we had a serious chance to get the first player, so let’s really study Markelle’s game a lot more. The thing I realized, there was no other player that I saw that was a better fit for this team than Markelle.”
Fultz started 25 games for Washington and averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds 5.9 assists and 1.2 blocks while shooting 47.6 percent from the field, 41.3 percent from 3-point range and 64.9 percent from the free throw line
He reached double-figure scoring in all but one game and knocked in at least one three-pointer in all but three games.
Fultz set a Washington freshman single-season points record with his 579 points.
The 19-year-old averaged 19.1 points and 8.8 rebounds for DeMatha as a senior en route to the Maryland Private School League Championship. He set the school’s single-season record for assists with 278. As a junior, Fultz averaged 16.5 points and was named the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Player of the Year capping a meteoric rise as he spent his sophomore season on the junior varsity team.
Some stats from gohuskies.com.