Markelle Fultz has talked to Danny Ainge, wants to be first pick
The potential top pick of the 2017 NBA Draft seems to be on board with a possible pairing with the Boston Celtics. Per ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman, the (newly turned) 19-year-old has talked to Danny Ainge a couple times and thinks he could fit in well with what he's putting together in Boston:
"I've talked to Danny a few times, and they want to get me to come out there for a visit," Fultz told ESPN. "They just want to get a chance to know me better as a person."
"I want to be the No. 1 pick really bad," Fultz added. "It's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid, and I feel like I would fit well in Boston."
Unlike Lonzo Ball, Fultz seems perfectly content with wherever he plays and would love to be picked first overall, even if it's to a squad that is already very talented. That's a great sign to me.
Standing at 6'4" and 195 pounds (and counting), Fultz believes he would not only fit well in Boston but also alongside Isaiah Thomas. While this may be impossible to determine beforehand, the one guy who has coached both Isaiah and Fultz at Washington - Lorenzo Ramar - certainly has the best judgment on the matter.
After watching both players develop and ball out in college, Romar believes that Fultz is the best talent in this year's draft and could absolutely play well with any guard from the Celtics' crowded backcourt. The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn sat down with the coach to discuss this:
“Whatever I tell you here, I’m not being biased, I’m being objective,” the coach said. “There’s a lot of positive talk when you talk about Markelle. Markelle can literally play with anybody because he’s skilled enough where him and Isaiah, him and Avery Bradley, him and Marcus Smart, whoever is in the game, Markelle is skilled enough and versatile enough to adapt to whomever he’s playing with.”
Romar also noted how Isaiah's versatility and Fultz's wide range of skills would allow them to coexist on the court and make a dangerous duo:
“Isaiah is not a one-dimensional point guard where he’s not that good of a shooter or scorer and he just has to have the ball in his hands or he’s not effective,” Romar said. “He’s effective in a lot of different ways, just like Markelle is.”
What may be the most important factor in evaluating a prospect is bigger than basketball. It is things like personality, determination, and motor. Ainge and the rest of the Celtics' front office seem to value these things heavily, as portrayed in the Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart selections in the past.
Fultz seems to check out in this department, too. He is humble and after being cut from his high school hoop team, has fought for the position he is now in. Romar talks about how the chip on his shoulder is similar to the one on Isaiah's:
“Neither one was a sure bet for the NBA when they came into high school,” Romar said. “People watch Markelle as a freshman or sophomore, I don’t think anybody was going to say, ‘No doubt, he’s a McDonald’s All-American.’ Both of those guys have fought their way to get where they are. Nothing was handed to them, so neither one has a sense of entitlement and it’s very rare to find that these days.
As Romar mentions, Fultz hasn't been handed anything and is still determined to improve and succeed. These are things you have to like in a top prospect. It looks like there is mutual respect between Ainge and Fultz.
Follow Erik Johnson on Twitter: @erikjohnson32
Photo by AP Photo/Young Kwak