CAMDEN, N.J. — Markelle Fultz worked out for Philadelphia on Saturday night, as the 76ers continued moving toward potentially acquiring the No. 1 pick from the Boston Celtics and having the chance to make the first overall selection for the second consecutive season.
The 76ers and Celtics are discussing a deal where Boston would send the No. 1 spot in the draft Thursday night to Philadelphia for the No. 3 pick this year and future selections.
Fultz – donning a Philadelphia cap as he arrived at the team’s practice facility – visited the 76ers on Saturday in a hastily arranged get-to-know-you session, with the workout and meeting with team officials on his itinerary. His visit is likely one of the final hurdles to clear before Boston and Philadelphia could decide to actually consummate the trade.
Fultz said he’s trying not to pay much attention to the trade talk.
"I’m truly blessed to be in this position," Fultz said. "Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to taking my talents to wherever I go."
If the deal goes down, the first four spots in the draft order would exactly mirror the first-four order from last year. Philadelphia would have the No. 1 pick, the Los Angeles Lakers would choose No. 2, Boston would go No. 3 and Phoenix has No. 4.
Fultz’s rise to stardom has been rapid. In 2014, he was playing junior varsity basketball in high school. Barely three years later, he’s almost certainly going to become the No. 1 pick – and if he gets to start his pro career by calling Philadelphia his new home, he’ll be living roughly a 2 1/2-hour drive from his hometown of Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
"I’m going to do whatever it takes to help any team I go to," Fultz said.
The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 25 games during his lone college season at Washington, excelling on a team that finished 9-22 and lost its final 13 games. Fultz led the Pac-12 in scoring, finished No. 6 among all Division I players, and was the top freshman scorer in the country.
Over the past 10 seasons, only two other freshmen had a better scoring average in college: Kevin Durant for Texas in 2006-07, and Michael Beasley for Kansas State in 2007-08.
Durant and Beasley were both No. 2 picks.
Fultz might be a few days away from going one spot better.
"I just wake up and go where they tell me to go," Fultz said.
Philadelphia had the No. 1 draft spot three previous times, taking Doug Collins in 1973, Allen Iverson in 1996 and Ben Simmons a year ago.
The 76ers have a top-three pick for the fourth straight year: No. 3 Joel Embiid in 2014, No. 3 Jahlil Okafor in 2015 and Simmons in 2016. But with Fultz, Philadelphia – which has asked its fans to endure some very dismal stretches and "Trust The Process" for the past few years – would likely expect to turn a real corner toward respectability again.
Philadelphia went 28-54 this past season, after winning 19, 18 and 10 games in the previous three seasons.
Last season’s improved win total came with Okafor (50), Embiid (31) and Simmons (0) combining for 81 appearances, as Philadelphia’s trend of being absolutely snakebitten by injuries continued. Embiid and Dario Saric will finish in the top three when rookie of the year results get announced on June 26, and Simmons is expected to be ready for next season after recovering from foot surgery.