BOSTON – Markelle Fultz has established himself as the front-runner to be taken by the Boston Celtics with the top overall pick in the June 22 NBA draft.
But the Celtics have not promised the 19-year-old they will select him, which is why he spent Thursday afternoon working out for the Los Angeles Lakers – owners of the number two overall pick.
“Never know where I might land,” Fultz told reporters in Los Angeles following his workout. “Just wanted to see how it is out here.”
While he is considered the top guard prospect in the draft, there’s little separation between him and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball (the odds-on favorite to be drafted by the Lakers) and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox who are both considered top-5 prospects.
INSTEAD OF FULTZ, WHAT IF CELTICS DRAFT . . .
And the wild card in all this is Kansas small forward Josh Jackson who decided to pull out of a scheduled workout with the Celtics after he was reportedly given a promise – the Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers who have the number 3 pick, have been the teams most associated with being the team to make a promise to Jackson.
While the optics of Fultz working out for the Lakers certainly doesn’t sit well with Celtics Nation, one thing everyone has to remember.
As the owner of the top overall pick, the draft doesn’t start until the Celtics say so. And while they are among the teams near the top that really like Jackson, league executives CSNNE.com has spoken with and exchanged text messages with this week maintain that the 19-year-old Fultz remains the top player in the draft and the overwhelming favorite to be selected by Boston.
Following Fultz’s workout for the Celtics earlier this month, he spoke to Comcast SportsNet.
“It was a good experience,” he told CSN. “It’s just a blessing. I’m honored to be here; honored to have the opportunity.”
He also got a chance to spend time with head coach Brad Stevens to get a better sense of how he would fit in with Stevens’ vision for the franchise.
“Just the way the program is; they expect the best,” Fultz said. “I just learned some stuff … working hard. I already work hard, but (the Celtics) … pushing me to the next level and making me the best player I can be.”
And if things go as planned, he will be bringing his talents to Boston next fall.
But just in case the Celtics have a change of heart and decide to turn to another highly-regarded draft prospect, Fultz is doing his due diligence to make sure he’s not caught off guard.