Rarely do you get something for nothing in the NBA.
A press release and news conference confirmed Monday that the 76ers and Boston Celtics have agreed to a blockbuster deal allowing Philadelphia to move from No. 3 to No. 1 in Thursday’s draft. Moving up two spots assures the Sixers of another marquee player in Washington guard Markelle Fultz.
In a complicated compensation to be sent to the Celtics, the future first-round pick that Boston will receive will be: “[The] Lakers’ first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, provided that such pick is between 2-and-5 in the 2018 NBA Draft. If the Lakers’ 2018 first-round pick is No. 1 or is No. 6 or later, the Sixers instead convey to the Celtics the rights to the more favorable of the Sixers’ own 2019 first-round pick or the Sacramento Kings’ 2019 first-round pick, provided that the more favorable pick is not the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. If the more favorable of the Sixers’ and Kings’ 2019 first-round picks is the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Sixers will instead convey the rights to the less favorable of those two picks.”
The terms seem pretty favorable for Philly, as the team will land its second-straight No. 1 overall pick.
They took Ben Simmons No. 1 overall, but he hasn’t played one minute since breaking a bone in his foot in training camp before last season. In 1996, the Sixers selected Allen Iverson and that worked out quite well. This pick is crucial. Fultz and Simmons could play the next 10-to-15 years and potentially lead this franchise back from the abyss of 75 wins over the last four seasons.
Fultz arrived in Philadelphia for a hastily arranged workout after reports began to gain momentum. He didn’t seem to mind at all.
“I really don’t pay a lot of attention to it,” Fultz said of the trade rumors. “I’m blessed enough. I pray every night before I go to sleep, and I let God take care of it, really. I wake up every morning and get ready to go to the gym. I don’t really pay attention to everything that’s going on. I’m truly blessed to be in this position. Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to taking my talents to wherever I go.”
Like Simmons, Fultz was unable to carry his team into the NCAA Tournament. Does that ultimately matter? Not really.
Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game for the Huskies, who stumbled to a 9-22 record.
Fultz vaulted up to the top of the draft board over the past year and appears to be the perfect complement to Simmons in the Sixers’ young backcourt. When giving up multiple picks, the Sixers had better be sure he’s the right player for this franchise because this is a mistake that will be tough to correct.
This kid isn’t lacking confidence. Fultz believes he’s the No. 1 overall pick.
“First of all, how I carry myself as a player and as a young man,” he said. “Just being humble. I’m just a hard worker. I’ll do whatever it takes to help any team I go to win.”
Iverson catapulted the Sixers to the top of the NBA, though it didn’t happen overnight. There were plenty of growing pains along the way.
If Fultz is the guy, it will take time. The Sixers won’t win 63 games this season. They might not even make the playoffs. There is such a long way to go. Grabbing Fultz sounds like a great idea.
Seeing what transpires on the court will ultimately determine the course of the franchise. They had better be right.