By: Steve Johnson
As we all know by now, the Sixers and Celtics have agreed to a deal that will allow the Sixers to acquire the rights to Markelle Fultz, out of Washington. The trade officially went through yesterday, although this was being reported by all the top NBA reporters (Woj, Zach Lowe, Marc Stein, etc.), so you know it was true all along. On Saturday, the Sixers worked out Fultz, which as Woj explained below in his tweet would not have happened if the deal was not official.
The Sixers and Celtics will swap the 1st and 3rd overall picks in this years draft, along with the Sixers sending the 2018 Lakers pick (if it falls between 2-5) or the 2019 Kings pick (being reported as 1st overall protected). This deal ends up giving Boston 8 first round picks in the next 3 drafts, which they’ll likely use to acquire a veteran superstar in the next couple years.
Fultz, the 19 year old Guard, is from Upper Marlboro, MD. He attended DeMatha Catholic in nearby Hyattsville, which has a rich history of sports figures, some of which have Philadelphia sports ties. DeMatha might sound familiar to some Eagles fans, as it’s the High School that produced legend Brian Westbrook, and more recently current starting safety Rodney McLeod. It has produced Dolphins sack master and Penn State alum Cameron Wake, and a pair of OL brothers in Arie and Cyrus Kouandijo. Possibly even richer in basketball history, DeMatha has produced the Grant brothers (Jerai, Jerian, and Jerami), Victor Oladipo, Danny Ferry, and Adrian Dantley.
Fultz, is a 6’4 190 pound guard, that is at his best in the open floor when he can use his length and athleticism to get to the rim. I like to think he has a little bit of Russell Westbrook in him, which is ironic because like Westbrook, Fultz was a late bloomer. Playing JV in his freshman and sophomore seasons, Fultz went under the radar for not only national attention but his own High School team. It wasn’t until a growth spurt, where Fultz saw playing time as a junior at DeMatha, averaging 16.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Prior to his senior season, Fultz played for the AAU team, DC Blue Devils. During his senior year he averaged 19.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game while leading DeMatha to the WCAC championship game. He competed in the McDonalds All-American game and the Nikes Hoops Summit. A 5-star recruit and #1 ranked player in the state, Fultz received scholarship offers from the likes of Arizona, North Carolina, Kansas, and Louisville, but ultimately stuck with Washington who was there from the start. At Washington, Fultz averaged 23.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.9 apg, 1.6 spg, and 1.2 bpg during a season in which the Huskies struggled, finishing 9-22 (2-16 in the Pac-12).
Fultz, reminds me of Harden with his deceptive and shifty moves, that helps him produce off the dribble. His long arms help him get off shots when contested. His best attribute has to be his ability in the open floor, with his creativity. Fultz is the perfect fit for what the Sixers need. He can play off the ball, catching and making a quick first move to beat defenders, and he can shoot (41.3% from 3). He also has the length and athleticism to contribute to what the Sixers want to do defensively. While Josh Jackson is a great prospect, he’s not the fit that Fultz is to the core group the Sixers already have. Fultz, provides the combo guard that is perfect to pair with Ben Simmons, who the Sixers brass has made clear many times plan on having him handle the ball.