BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics are the proud owners of the top pick in the NBA Draft, and many Celtics fans have been doing their homework on Washington guard Markelle Fultz ahead of June 22.
Fultz is projected to go first overall in just about every mock draft, a potential building block for a bright Celtics’ future. He’s already worked out with the Celtics and feels like he belongs in Boston, and he’s even been promised free food for life if he’s a part of the franchise winning its 18th NBA title.
Playing in the Pac 12, most Celtics fans didn’t get a chance to see Futlz do his thing on the floor, though there are plenty of YouTube mixtapes out there to feed that hunger. But what about Fultz off the floor? Christian Caple from the Tacoma News-Tribune joined WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Adam Kaufman to provide a look at the 19-year-old when he isn’t playing basketball, and it’s hard not to like the kid’s character.
“Anyone who had anything to do with him during his few months at the University of Washington only has glowing, overwhelming positive things to say about who he is. His worth ethic, attitude; he was one of the best players in the country on a team that was 9-22 and he never once complained about his teammates, coaches or about going to class or anything like that,” said Caple. “He missed five games with a knee injury and was bringing water to guys in practice and helping rebound for guys in warmups in games he wasn’t playing in. There are all kinds of reports like that, and when you’re evaluating an NBA draft prospect, a lot of what you look at is their personal background, their character and their fit. As far as those things, I never heard a single negative thing about him during his time at Washington.”
Like most teenagers making the jump to the NBA, Fultz is not without his faults. Caple said there were times that he didn’t look engaged when playing off the ball, and he occasionally looked disinterested on defense. You can maybe chalk those up to playing on a bad team, but one thing Caple expects to improve once Fultz makes it to the NBA is his poor free throw shooting.
“It almost doesn’t make sense that it was in the 60s for a guy who is a good three-point shooter (41 percent) and a good mid-range shooter (48 percent shooting overall),” he said of Futlz’s 65 percent shooting from the charity stripe. “In the NBA, he’s going to go the free throw line a lot. I’d be surprised if that number doesn’t improve at that next level.”
But Fultz’s talents on the floor are undeniable and greatly outweigh any deficiencies. Caple says it’s his decision-making that stands out the most.
“As far as the most impressive thing about his game, he is one of these rare guys who makes the right play. You can put him at point guard and say ‘run the offense, here are the plays and the sets we’re going to run.’ He’ll run the sets and make the right pass. He’ll get guys in the right spots. He can play off the ball with good instincts that way, and can attack the rim and is really creative,” said Caple.
“He has that rare blend of really elite scoring ability mixed with a distributor’s mindset that sets him apart from a lot of other guys,” added Caple.
Listen to the full interview above!