June 22, 2017
One of the major knocks against Sixers top overall draft pick Markelle Fultz is the same one that Ben Simmons also faced as last year’s No. 1 pick. Despite Fultz’s individual brilliance, the Washington Huskies not only failed to make the NCAA Tournament; they managed a measly 9-22 record.
Frankly, they made Simmons’ LSU team that finished 19-14 look like a juggernaut by comparison.
It was rumored that Washington’s overall record played into the Boston Celtics’ surprising decision to trade down from the top-overall pick with the Sixers. But for Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo and the Philadelphia front office, UW’s record didn’t ultimately affect their decision to grab Fultz.
“We’ve dug very deep on this and we feel that regardless of whatever the performance of the University of Washington Huskies was last year, it’s not relevant to what Markelle represents as a player and how he’s going to fit in and help us turn this around,” Colangelo said at the Sixers practice facility on Thursday night.
“We’ve dug very deep on this and we feel that regardless of whatever the performance of the University of Washington Huskies was last year, it’s not relevant to what Markelle represents as a player..."
Colangelo, who was speaking specifically about Fultz for the first time since pulling the trigger on the trade last Saturday, said that the Sixers did look “long and hard” into why Washington lost far more games than they won in 2016-17. This process involved discussions with the Huskies coaching staff and head coach Lorenzo Romar, who was dismissed from the team at the end of the season.
And apparently, Colangelo was satisfied with his findings. The Sixers chose to focus on Fultz’s incredible individual season at only 18-years old.
“Part of that may be personnel driven, part of that may be circumstantial,” Colangelo said of Washington’s record.
“But to do what he did at the level of the Pac-12, and to be able to average 23 points a game, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, you’re talking about a great performance on the floor, a player that does so many different things, and we believe someone that’s going to make his teammates better. He’s a facilitator, a playmaker, but also a scorer.”
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