BOSTON (CBS) — Scrolling through Twitter in anticipation of the rapidly approaching June 22 NBA Draft, I came across this:
That was a few days after this minor confusion:
Markelle Fultz – the near-consensus projected No. 1 overall pick – recently worked out for the Celtics over a two-day visit to Boston. That’s all he should be doing. Beyond sitting down with the club that holds the top choice, the expected first selection should lock himself in a room until his name is called in Brooklyn.
There are reasons, even if silly, why other top-five projected picks Lonzo Ball of UCLA and Kansas’ Josh Jackson won’t work out for the Green: Ball doesn’t want to be drafted by the Celts due to his (and his dad’s) preference to go second to his hometown Lakers, and Jackson seemingly doesn’t believe he’ll be taken first. Or, the latter may already have a promise from the Lakers or Sixers.
But Fultz’s behavior is just confusing and begs the question as to whether the dynamic offensive standout, who averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.7 rebounds as a freshman, actually expects to be chosen by the Celtics? Boston has offered the prized pick no assurances and are openly considering trading the selection for a proven NBA star.
It’s understandable that Fultz would want to make a good impression on other potential suitors. But by the same token, when virtually every mock draft and pundit pits you as the best available player atop the draft, reputation should be enough. Workouts – if they go poorly or heaven-forbid lead to injury – can only hurt a can’t-miss player’s case. To that end, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported that Fultz didn’t have the best shooting display in his trip to the Hub. Of course, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t receive a second opportunity. Recent Boston top-six picks Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart are among those to have had multiple workouts for Danny Ainge leading up to the draft.
Fultz doesn’t have to agree to another meeting, but it would make sense to give the team with the first pick your full attention.
The Lakers? Magic Johnson would presumably be thrilled if Fultz fell into his lap at No. 2, especially after Ball reportedly showed up to his L.A. workout out of shape. There’s also the LaVar factor, the same guy who’s never balled but just started selling his own autographed trading card anyhow.
The Kings own the Nos. 5 and 10 picks. There’s approximately a zero percent chance of Fultz falling that far and, again, the point guard is a known commodity if they’re fortunate enough to trade into the top three.
There’s literally nothing for Fultz to gain by not just patiently waiting for draft night and hoping his new hat looks good. This would be a good time for his new agent to step in. Boston’s posturing shouldn’t psych him out.