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Markelle Fultz Already Sees Smooth Partnership With Ben Simmons

Markelle Fultz Already Sees Smooth Partnership With Ben Simmons

Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons haven’t played a regular-season game yet for the Philadelphia 76ers but if everything that is expected happens, it’s going to be a formidable tandem.

And Fultz, whom the Sixers will probably select in the NBA Draft this June 22, knows it. (Via Keith Pompey of Philly.com)

“If I’m running the floor or I’m setting the screen for him or giving it back, it doesn’t matter,” Fultz said during his predraft workout Saturday night with the Sixers. “I’ll be a great teammate. If that’s me on the bench clapping for him, it doesn’t matter to me.”

That approach and his unquestioned ability are the reasons the Sixers have agreed to trade future assets to the Boston Celtics in order to draft the former University of Washington star in the NBA draft Thursday in New York. The blockbuster trade is expected to become finalized Monday.

The Sixers will give up the No. 3 pick and the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2018 first- rounder – with protections – in exchange for the Celtics’ first pick Thursday. The Lakers pick will go to Boston only if it falls 2 to 5 in the 2018 draft lottery. The Sixers will have to send Boston the Sacramento Kings’ 2019 first-rounder if the Lakers pick doesn’t convey next summer.

Fultz thinks his skill set would be a great fit for the Sixers, who like to get out in transition and stress defense.

“I think the tools that I have to be a defensive player will help them get out in transition,” he said. “I’m a pretty good shot- blocker for a point guard. So I think, helping them with that, everything will pretty much help with that.”

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Fultz made 41.3 percent of his shots from the college three-point line. Finding a shooter with his three-point ability was a priority for the Sixers. As he pointed out, Fultz can slide off the ball and be a solid addition next to Simmons.

Fultz already has a bond with the team’s best player, Joel Embiid. The center posted a selfie Saturday of himself and Dario Saric standing in from of a locker with a Markelle Fultz nameplate at the Sixers’ practice facility.

“First of all, Embiid, he and I have been talking before when I was in college,” Fultz said. “He’s a cool guy.”

Embiid has been giving Fultz tips in addition to making him laugh.

“So when I saw that it was pretty cool and pretty funny,” he said of the selfie. “I’m pretty happy that the players here want to come here.”

The Sixers, who selected Simmons first last summer, will become the second team in five years to have consecutive No. 1 picks. The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted Anthony Bennett in 2013 and Andrew Wiggins a year later.




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