CAMDEN, N.J. — Markelle Fultz is a Sixer.
What seemed highly unlikely up until last week became a reality Thursday night when the Sixers selected Fultz first overall with the pick they acquired from the Celtics.
The Sixers traded the third pick and a future first-round pick to move up for the 6-foot-4, 195-pound point guard out of Washington. Fultz averaged 23.2 points (47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three), 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds last season. He led all freshmen in the nation and the entire Pac-12 in scoring. Defensively, Fultz boasts a seven-foot wingspan.
Fultz is the best fit for the Sixers among all players in the draft. The team has been in need of a go-to scorer and cannot head into next season relying on Joel Embiid when it is unclear how many games he will play. The Sixers tied with the Bulls for 24th in long-range shooting (34.0 percent), were 25th in points per game (102.4) and 27th in field goal shooting (44.2 percent). Fultz will give them instant offense.
Fultz can create a dynamic backcourt duo with the 6-10 Simmons when last year's No. 1 overall pick is running the floor. This week, Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said Simmons doesn't necessarily have to be the point guard in order to be the facilitator.
"Anytime I make a selection, whether it's one or 30, you're looking for talent, character, fit," Colangelo said Monday, remaining mum on a specific player.
Fultz traveled from Maryland to the Sixers' training complex in Camden, New Jersey, Saturday as trade talks heated up. He arrived wearing his own Sixers hat, later posting a photo of himself entering the training complex on Instagram. He also posed for a picture with Simmons, Embiid and Robert Covington following his workout. This image set off a social media frenzy as the group gave a glimpse into what the Sixers' future could look like.
"It would be great," Fultz said Saturday of playing for the Sixers. "Get up and down. They're big on defense, so I think the tools that I have to be a defensive player will 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 will pretty much help with that."
The Sixers got Fultz at a relatively low price considering they kept No. 1 protections on the pick they traded. The Celtics will receive the 2018 Lakers' pick if it falls between Nos. 2 and 5. If that does not convey, the Celtics will receive the more favorable of the Sixers' and the Kings' first-round picks in 2019, as long as the better pick is not No. 1. If one of those picks in 2019 are first overall, the Celtics will get the less favorable of the two.
With all these conditions, the Sixers have protected themselves from a "2013 Celtics-Nets trade" situation. That's how all of this was possible in the first place from the Celtics' side.
Fultz is the missing piece to round out the Sixers' backcourt and foundational core. Expect them to target veterans in free agency to provide leadership for this young core.
What is Fultz's biggest fit, though?
Perhaps the fact he thought he came up with the phrase "trust the process."