CAMDEN, N.J. — Markelle Fultz is hours away from his first NBA preseason game and it still hasn't sunk in yet. The 19-year-old is eager for the Sixers' preseason opener against the Grizzlies.
"Growing up, watching the NBA, watching games, and to finally be here playing my first one, it kind of hasn't hit me," Fultz said after shootaround. "But I know as soon as I get on the court and I'm finally guarding somebody that I've been watching growing up, it'll hit me then. Every time I think about it, it's kind of crazy."
Fultz expects to share ball-handling responsibilities with Ben Simmons. He wants to use the game as a measuring stick on the defensive end. One player he won't have to guard is Mike Conley, who is sitting out.
The No. 1 pick was unfazed by being left off Rookie of the Year predictions in NBA.com's GM survey. Lonzo Ball received 62 percent of the votes, followed by Ben Simmons with 24 percent. Fultz did not receive any votes.
"It really doesn't bother me," he said. "I know what I'm capable of. I know what my goals are. I don't really look into it. That's what they think. That's their opinion. At the end of the day, I'm going to work to do what my goals are and what my team goals are."
Joel Embiid (recovering from left knee surgery), Dario Saric (rest), Amir Johnson (sprained right ankle) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (right knee patellar tendinitis) are out. Luwawu-Cabarrot participated in shootaround while the others did not.
Jahlil Okafor said he expects to play 15 minutes in his first game since March 22. … JJ Redick is looking forward to his first taste of game action with the Sixers. "I've been excited since July 1," he said.