CAMDEN, N.J. -- Markelle Fultz arrived for a pre-draft workout Saturday evening at what could be his home for the foreseeable future.
The projected No. 1 pick traveled from Maryland to the Sixers' training complex as trade talks buzzed around the Celtics and Sixers swapping the first and third selections.
The two teams have agreed to a deal that will be finalized Monday, four days before the draft, as first reported by TNT’s David Aldridge. According to The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach, the Sixers will send the Celtics this year's No. 3 pick and one protected future first-round pick from the Sixers for the top selection in Thursday's draft (see story).
In the midst of all this, Fultz took the court in front of a packed house of Sixers executives, coaches and players, including Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Robert Covington. Basketball is about all he can control right now.
“I don't really pay attention to everything that's going on,” Fultz said. “I'm truly blessed to be in this position. Whatever happens, I'm looking forward to taking my talents to wherever I go.”
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Fultz went through individualized drills in the portion of his workout open to the media. He struggled to hit his shots consistently in a three-point exercise. Fultz looked as though perhaps he was affected by the three-hour car ride to Camden, which had been slowed down by traffic and delayed his scheduled start time. Fultz said he didn’t mind the travel, though, and slept during the trip.
“It's almost like AAU, driving out of town,” he said. “Any chance I get an opportunity to (play basketball), I'm going to be excited.”
One showing wasn’t going to be enough to deter NBA teams that had watched Fultz average 23.2 points (47.6 percent from the field, 41.3 percent from long range), 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists last season. He led the Pac-12 in scoring and was first among all freshmen in the nation.
Part of the pre-draft process is for teams to learn about a prospect’s medical history. Fultz sat out five of the last seven games last season because of right knee soreness. He said he is fully recovered.
“My knee is great,” Fultz said. “As you can see, I'm jumping pretty high and everything like that.”
Following the workout, Embiid, Simmons and Covington talked with Fultz and posed for a photo. That moment was likely a glimpse into the Sixers' future, one that Fultz easily sees himself fitting into.
“It would be great,” he said. “Get up and down. They're big on defense so I think the tools that I have to be a defensive player I think would help them get out in transition. I'm a pretty good shot blocker for a point guard, so I think helping them with that, everything would pretty much help with that.”
Fultz would be part of an untraditional backcourt with Simmons, wherein the Sixers plan to start a 6-foot-10 point guard. The team has been looking for a guard that can play off the ball in a combo role to complement Simmons, who is more of a facilitator than an outside shooter.
“I play with great players all the time, so whatever he needs me to do,” Fultz said. “If I'm running the floor or I'm setting the screen for him or giving it back, it doesn't matter. I'll be a great teammate.”
Fultz already is familiar with Philadelphia, so familiar he named Larry's as his favorite cheesesteak spot. He entered the training complex wearing a Sixers hat to show appreciation for the place he has frequented. Last season, Fultz attended a Sixers home game as part of his own scouting of potential landing spots.
“I saw the team still fighting hard,” he said. “The most important thing was the fans in the building were still there no matter what. That was big. Of course being out there, I could imagine myself on the court, helping the team out for sure.
"That's what I do every game. I watch, just think about if I was on the team, what could happen?”
He will find out when his name is called Thursday.