Markelle Fultz

Poll: Best Rookie Point Guard Season

The 2017 NBA Draft was loaded with talented point guards, including first overall pick Markelle Fultz, No. 2 selection Lonzo Ball, and fellow lottery picks De’Aaron Fox, Frank Ntilikina, and Dennis Smith Jr. 

Fultz showed flashes of brilliance in the NBA Summer League amid overall inconsistent play before he ultimately injured his ankle in his Las Vegas debut. The 76ers guard was promptly shut down for the remainder of Summer League. This season, the rookie figures to be a regular fixture in the Philadelphia backcourt.

After dominating his freshman season at UCLA, Ball won Las Vegas Summer League MVP honors, racking up assists (9.3 APG) and steals (2.5 SPG), as well as points and rebounds. Although it is not clear whether Ball will start for the Lakers right out of the gate, he will certainly be the beneficiary of a hearty amount of playing time.

Fox is also expected to see his fair share of action this season, but averaged just 21.3 minutes per game in four Las Vegas Summer League games. Like Fultz and Ball, Fox exhibited tantalizing athleticism. The Kentucky product averaged a solid 11.8 points per contest and 3.0 assists. Fox’s 2.3 SPG were extremely impressive.

The Knicks drafted Ntilikina eighth overall because of his speed and agility. Last season, the point guard averaged just 15.5 minutes per game for Strasbourg in France but displayed tremendous promise and improved noticeably as a shooter. With D. Rose out of town, it appears as if the keys to Madison Square Garden are about to be Frank’s.

In six games in Las Vegas, Smith averaged 17.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 4.2 APG, shooting 45.7% from the floor and electrifying with the occasional powerful dunk. The Mavericks prospect also tallied 2.2 SPG.

This brings us to today’s poll: Which of these point guards will have the best rookie season in 2017/18?

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Crabbe, Ujiri

Markelle Fultz, the first overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, has brought enthusiasm to Philadelphia, a city that has already been told to trust the process. The Washington product now joins a Sixers team that enters 2017/18 with a hopefully healthy duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid alongside veteran acquisition J.J. Redick ready to compete.

In Fultz’s mind, Philadelphia will not just be a fun team, it will be a competitive one, as the first overall pick said to CSNPhilly from Sixers Day Camp at Valley Forge Military Academy.

“We’re going to be in the playoffs this year, and I think everybody is willing to put forth their best effort and listen to the coaches and listen to the bench. We’ve got to just do whatever it takes to get there,” Fultz said. “That’s practicing even harder, that’s doing extra work in the gym by ourselves, I mean, we’re going to do whatever it takes.” 

Fultz, 19, also addressed several other topics, including his rehab from an ankle injury he suffered at the onset of the Las Vegas Summer League; LeBron James possibly joining the Sixers next season in free agency; and his relationship with fellow rookie and top two draft pick, Lonzo Ball.

Below are additional notes around the Atlantic Division:

  • A year after Trail Blazers matched the Nets‘ offer sheet for then-restricted free agent Allen Crabbe, the guard is now a part of the Brooklyn roster, Ethan Sears of the New York Post writes. Now, in an offseason where the Nets have pulled off calculated trades, Crabbe joins the team a year later and he expressed confidence in his new team at an introductory presser Thursday.
  • Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri spoke to Michael Lee of The Vertical to cover this year’s offseason for the team. Ujiri, who was mentioned as a possible GM candidate for the Knicks, proclaimed his team’s focus is to beat LeBron James and he discussed new Cavaliers GM Koby Altman‘s tough predicament.

Sixers Notes: Fultz, Redick, Johnson, Korkmaz

Rookie point guard Markelle Fultz has been diagnosed with a sprained left ankle after being helped off the court in Saturday’s summer league game, tweets Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com. Fultz will be held out of today’s contest and may not play again during summer league. “We will treat him accordingly and be as cautious as we can, making sure he is healthy,” Sixers summer league coach Lloyd Pierce told ESPN Saturday night. “We will know [more] once we get some treatment on him. I haven’t heard anything [more].” Phliadelphia has experienced terrible injury luck with high draft picks in recent years as Ben Simmons missed all of last season and Joel Embiid has played just 31 games in three years. “I’m a little bit punch-drunk with the injuries that we’ve had with our first players selected over the years,” said head coach Brett Brown.

There’s more news out of Philadelphia:

  • The Sixers officially added two veteran leaders Saturday with the signings of J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer“I think I can speak for Amir as well,” Redick said. “We are in the second phase of our career. We’ve been through enough now and have enough wisdom that we can be an effective elder.” The new additions will have important roles on the court as well. Redick, who averaged 15.8 points per game and shot 44% from 3-point range during his four years with the Clippers, is expected to provide a boost to the team’s outside shooting. Johnson will be counted on to solidify the interior defense.
  • Furkan Korkmaz is getting his first taste of NBA play in the summer league, writes Benjamin Mehic of The Deseret News. The Sixers believe the 19-year-old Turkish guard, who signed with the team this week, has the talent to eventually become an important contributor. “I think the thing people should zoom in on is how he moves,” said assistant coach Billy Lange. “If you watch his fluidity, his pace, skill and feel for the game, you can see the package. The results will come. The guy just flew across the country. Hopefully he gets more comfortable so we can get him in our gym and get back to work.”
  • The Sixers are also high on Jonah Bolden, a second-round pick from 2016, Mehic adds. Being groomed as a stretch four, Bolden spent last season in Serbia trying to improve as a shooter.
  • Embiid was fined $10,000 by the league on Saturday for “using inappropriate language on social media,” tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. Embiid’s message was directed at Lonzo Ball‘s father, LaVar.

Sixers Sign Markelle Fultz

Markelle Fultz, the top pick in this year’s draft, has signed his rookie deal with the Sixers, the team announced in a press release.

As the No. 1 selection, Fultz is eligible to make a little more than $7MM in his first season and more than $37.4MM over the four-year contract, as our rookie-scale contract chart shows. Like all rookie contracts, it will have two guaranteed seasons, followed by two team options.

A 6’4″ point guard, Fultz was almost unanimously considered to be the best player in the draft. The Sixers valued him enough to trade their No. 3 choice along with a future first-rounder to get the top pick from Boston.

“Markelle Fultz possesses elite basketball skills, instincts and talent which prompted us to move up to No. 1 and add him to our talented young core of players,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said. “At only 19 years of age, the sky is the limit for Markelle and we could not be happier to have him join our Sixers family.”

Fultz is expected to challenge for a starting job as a rookie and share primary ball-handling duties with Ben Simmons. As a freshman, Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds at Washington.

Top Pick Markelle Fultz May Sign Today

Markelle Fultz, the first player selected in last month’s draft, could sign with the Sixers today, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

However, the signing may be delayed if Fultz’s mother, Ebony Fultz, is unable to attend. She is expected to be in Las Vegas this weekend to watch her son in the Las Vegas Summer League, but Philadelphia’s team is currently playing in the Utah Summer League in Salt Lake City.

As the top pick, Fultz is slotted to make $5.8MM as a rookie, but Pompey notes that the Sixers are permitted to pay him up to 20% more than that and are expected to reach the full figure. Pompey points out that teams sometimes require players to perform community service or play an extra year in the summer league to receive their 20 percent.

As our rookie-scale contract chart shows, Fultz is eligible for a little more than $7MM in his first season and more than $37.4MM over four years. Like all contracts for first-rounders, Fultz’s deal will include two guaranteed seasons and two team options. He will be eligible for an extension in 2020.

A 6’4″ point guard, Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds during his lone season at Washington.

Sixers Make Markelle Fultz Top Pick

Three days after completing a deal for the No. 1 pick, the Sixers used it as expected, taking point guard Markelle Fultz out of Washington.

There was no suspense surrounding the selection, as Philadelphia made its intentions clear from the time trade talks began with the Celtics. Sixers officials didn’t sign off on the deal until they received Fultz’s medical records and brought him in for a visit.

An explosive 6’4″ freshman, Fultz is expected to team with last year’s top pick, Ben Simmons, and center Joel Embiid to form a Big Three for the future in Philadelphia. The addition of Fultz may signal a turnaround after years of losing that began when former GM Sam Hinkie launched The Process in 2013.

Fultz has topped nearly every mock draft since the season began, and the Celtics would have been overwhelming favorites to draft him if they had kept the pick. Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds during his only season with the Huskies and gets near-unanimous approval from NBA scouts.

Philadelphia has four picks remaining, all the in second round, at 36, 39, 46 and 50.

Draft Notes: Mitchell, Jackson, Tatum, Ferguson

Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell will hold a last-minute workout for the Knicks today, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. The sophomore out of Louisville, whose session was originally scheduled for Tuesday, is being considered with the No 8 pick, Begley adds, along with French point guard Frank Ntilikina, Kentucky guard Malik Monk, Arizona big man Lauri Markkanen and others. Team president Phil Jackson is intrigued by Mitchell’s defensive prowess and athleticism and likes the fact that he prefers to work out in a group setting to showcase his defense. Joining Mitchell today will be Villanova’s Josh Hart, Miami’s Davon Reed, Iowa State’s Naz Long and others.

There’s more draft news on the eve of the big event:

  • The Celtics have received Josh Jackson‘s medical records, but the Kansas forward still refuses to work out for the team, tweets Chad Ford of ESPN.com. Boston appears to be leaning toward Duke’s Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 pick, Ford states, but no decision has been made.
  • Ford still has Jackson as the third selection in his latest mock draft, which was released today. Markelle Fultz remains No. 1, followed by Lonzo Ball, with the rest of the top 10 as Tatum, Jonathan Isaac, De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr., Monk, Zach Collins and Markkanen.
  • Terrance Ferguson recently pulled out of workouts with the Pistons, Hawks and Bucks, tweets Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated. It’s possible that Ferguson received a draft promise from the Nuggets or Nets or he may have been responding to poor workouts (Twitter link).
  • A 7-footer with a soft shooting touch, Markkanen is drawing comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki, writes Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Some scouts believe the 20-year-old Finnish star is the best 3-point shooter in the draft. “It’s probably not fair to him to have some young guy compared to a Hall of Fame player and champion,” Markkanen said of Nowitzki. “We have similarities because of the height, being from Europe and shooting. But I have a long way to go before I’m in the same category as him. Hopefully, I can get there one day.”
  • The Wizards will work out six players today, the team announced on its website. They are French center Alpha Kaba, Cincinnati’s Troy Caupain Jr., VCU’s JeQuan Lewis, Eastern Michigan’s Jalen Ross, Niagara’s Tahjere McCall and East Tennessee State’s Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

Atlantic Notes: Pre-Draft Workouts, 76ers, Nets

Although likely no other pre-draft workout will top the excitement of Markelle Fultz‘s with the 76ers on Saturday, followed by media availability, and the subsequent finalizing of the blockbuster trade that would bring Fultz to Philly, the Sixers held another session on Tuesday, Keith Pompey of Philly.com reports. Participants included Kris Jenkins (Villanova), Michael Young (Pittsburgh), Kadeem Allen (Arizona), Michael Ojo (Florida State), and Youssoupha Fall (France).

Here are more pre-draft workout updates from the Atlantic division:

Jayson Tatum Works Out For Celtics

Former Duke forward Jayson Tatum met with the Celtics on Monday, working out for Boston at the team’s practice facility in Waltham, Massachusetts, a source tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. It was the first time that Tatum had paid a visit to the C’s.

The Celtics confirmed on Monday afternoon that their trade with the Sixers, which will see them move down from No. 1 to No. 3, is now official. While we know that Philadelphia will use its newly-acquired pick on Markelle Fultz, it’s still not clear which prospect Boston will draft at No. 3.

Josh Jackson is viewed as the favorite for the Celtics, but there are increased rumblings that Tatum remains very much in the mix as well. Lonzo Ball also figures to be an option if the Lakers pass on him with the second overall selection, though it remains to be seen if he and/or Jackson will work out for Boston before Thursday.

Speaking to reporters today, Celtics president Danny Ainge said that the team believes “there’s a really good chance the player we’ll take at No. 3 is the player we would have taken at No. 1” (Twitter link via Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe). However, he also suggested the team hasn’t necessarily zeroed in one specific player, indicating that there may be multiple players the team would happy with at No. 3 (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com).

While I wouldn’t expect the Celtics to move down any further than they already have, it’s worth noting that ESPN’s Chad Ford reported the Suns (No. 4) have talked to Boston about a deal. Phoenix reportedly has its eye on either Ball or Jackson, so if the Celtics would be happy with Tatum, it will be interesting to see if Ainge is willing to discuss moving down again in a deal with the Suns. For what it’s worth, Ford tweets that the Celtics have Jackson and Tatum ranked as first-tier prospects alongside Fultz and Ball.

Sixers Acquire No. 1 Pick From Celtics, Will Take Fultz

JUNE 19: The Celtics have formally issued a press release announcing the trade, making it official. Here’s how the finalized deal looks:

Sixers acquire:

  • No. 1 overall pick in 2017

Celtics acquire:

  • No. 3 overall pick in 2017
  • Lakers’ 2018 first-round pick if it falls between No. 2 and No. 5. If Lakers’ pick doesn’t convey, Celtics will acquire more favorable of Kings’ or Sixers’ 2019 first-round pick (unless that pick is No. 1 overall, in which case the Celtics will acquire less favorable selection).

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this trade, which puts us in the enviable position of selecting first overall in consecutive draft years,” Sixers president Bryan Colangelo said in Philadelphia’s own announcement confirming the deal. “History suggests that No. 1 has the greatest odds of producing franchise-level talent and we are confident that this year’s draft class has that very potential. Thursday night will see us take another significant step toward building a successful and sustainable basketball program.”

JUNE 17: The Celtics and Sixers have reached an agreement on a deal that will send the first overall pick to Philadelphia, David Aldridge of NBA.com tweets. The trade will be finalized on Monday and the Sixers will select University of Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, Aldridge adds.

Boston will receive the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft from Philadelphia, according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com.

Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets that the Celtics will also receive one future first-rounder along with that pick. Boston will receive the 2018 first-rounder that the Lakers owe the Sixers with protections, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets. If it doesn’t convey, the Sixers will instead give up the Kings‘ first-rounder that Sacramento owes to Philadelphia, Wojnarowski adds. Wojnarowski originally reported the Celtics would get both of those picks.

The Celtics will receive that Lakers pick if it’s anywhere between No. 2 and No. 5, Philadelphia-based reporter Derek Bodner tweets. Otherwise, Boston will get the Kings pick in 2019.

The league made a rule change last summer which allowed teams to put protection on unprotected picks they had received in a previous trade, Bobby Marks of The Vertical tweets.

The Lakers were interested in trading up to snag Fultz but the Sixers’ ability to hand over another high first-rounder was more than Los Angeles could offer, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet.

The final piece to the puzzle was for Fultz to formally work out with the Sixers and that occurred on Saturday night, as Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reports. “I’m truly blessed to be in this position,” Fultz told Reynolds and other reporters at the workout. “Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to taking my talents to wherever I go.”

While the uncertainty over which player will go No. 1 has apparently been clarified, it’s still unknown what the Lakers will do. Most experts anticipate they’ll choose UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, which would leave Kansas swingman Josh Jackson available for the Celtics at the No. 3 slot.

The Celtics now have a huge stockpile of future first-rounders at their disposal to facilitate a deal for a star player. They already own the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, plus the first-rounders of the Clippers and Grizzlies in 2019, along with a handful of second-round picks.

The trade gives the Sixers a dream backcourt of back-to-back No. 1 overall picks, with Fultz joining Ben Simmons, who sat out last season with a foot injury.

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