Let's make a deal: Sixers should trade with Celtics for No. 1 pick

Let's make a deal: Sixers should trade with Celtics for No. 1 pick

And just like that, the Sixers could end up with the No. 1 pick for the second year in a row, this time with an unexpected twist.

The Celtics seemed locked in on Markelle Fultz at the coveted first selection they acquired from the Nets in an epic steal on draft night of 2013. On Friday night, however, that changed when multiple reports emerged on the Celtics' interest in swapping the No. 1 pick with the Sixers in exchange for the No. 3 and other assets (see story). The Vertical reported that could possibly include the 2018 unprotected first-round pick from the Lakers.

This level of a move is very surprising since Fultz has been projected as such a promising talent. Taking a closer look, it would be a strong deal for both sides.

The Sixers have said there are multiple players they are looking at for No. 3. The choice at No. 1 is far more clear than weighing the pros and cons of top-10 prospects that could potentially complement the young core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Fultz could play alongside Simmons in the backcourt and give the Sixers the offensive burst they have been missing. Last season, the Washington product averaged 23.2 points (47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three), 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds. The Sixers will need a guard who can play on and off the ball when Simmons is running the point, and Fultz's numbers are staggering. At 6-foot-4, 195 pounds with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, he fights his way to the glass and is a reliable passer.

The Sixers would have to give up a serious package of picks, but after all those trades in which they acquired a first-rounder here, a second-rounder there, they have plenty of assets to offer. They could cash in on their future first-round selections now if they feel they will be more valuable than in the future.

And it's no secret the Celtics like to make deals to land more picks.

So why would the Celitcs pull off a trade that seems so beneficial to the Sixers? Well, they wouldn't be doing this as a friendly favor.

Yes, Fultz is a fit for their system and could help in their quest to dethrone the Cavaliers in the East. He also could be the successor to Isaiah Thomas if the C's don't re-sign the 5-9 point guard.

This deal would be about so much more than rookies. The Celtics could take these picks and package them in a future deal to acquire a big-name player that takes them to the next level faster than Fultz would.

Danny Ainge is no stranger to a draft deal. In 2007, he acquired Ray Allen from the SuperSonics in a trade for the No. 5 pick. Four years ago, he shipped out the beloved Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to start a new chapter that very quickly turned into conference contention. Ainge and the Celtics have been stockpiling assets for years now, each time thinking steps ahead of how they can translate into a viable piece down the road.

The Sixers and Celtics are in two different places in their development. The Sixers could solidify their core for the future with the addition of Fultz and set them up for years to come. The Celtics would further the success of their veteran team and give them the assets and salary flexibility to acquire impact players to make an immediate difference while this window opportunity is open.

The excitement of the draft could happen sooner than June 22.

Josh Hart drafted in 1st round, goes to Lakers; undrafted Kris Jenkins reportedly joins Wizards

Josh Hart drafted in 1st round, goes to Lakers; undrafted Kris Jenkins reportedly joins Wizards

Josh Hart heard his name called, while Villanova teammate Kris Jenkins did not.

Hart snuck into the first round of Thursday night's NBA draft, going 30th overall to the Utah Jazz. However, the Wildcat is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers, via a trade.

While Jenkins went undrafted, it looks like he'll have a shot with an NBA team. Jenkins will join the Washington Wizards this offseason to compete for a roster spot, according to a report by NBA.com's David Aldridge.

After winning the national title as a junior with Villanova, Hart collected plenty of accolades in a standout senior season. The 6-foot-5 wing was named a consensus first-team All-American, Big East Player of the Year and took home the Julius Erving award as the top small forward in the country.

For the 32-4 Wildcats, Hart, a Silver Spring, Maryland native, averaged 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game, while shooting 40.4 percent from three-point range.

"I'm my biggest critic," he said last week after a pre-draft workout for the Sixers. "I drive myself as much as I can. I demand perfection from myself."

As Hart travels west, Jenkins, on the other hand, will head home for his NBA opportunity. The 6-foot-6 forward, beloved for his buzzer-beating three-pointer to win Villanova its 2016 national championship, is from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. He worked out for the Wizards in early June. He also worked out for the Sixers on Tuesday.

"It's a blessing," he said after his session with the Wizards, via the Washington Post. "You always root for the hometown team, you always want them to do well. Honestly it's humbling to be in this position, to grow up in this area, to have some games here and play college ball here and then come back and work out for the Wizards."

After flirting with the NBA draft process following their title-winning season, both Hart and Jenkins decided to return to school for their senior campaigns.

They both took to Twitter on Thursday night following the draft — Hart in excitement, Jenkins more in a humorous manner.

Sixers 'dug very deep' into Markelle Fultz's perceived weaknesses

Sixers 'dug very deep' into Markelle Fultz's perceived weaknesses

CAMDEN, N.J. — You don't have to do much research on Markelle Fultz to find his perceived shortcomings.

Washington finished 9-22 his only season there. Draft experts also questioned his effort, especially on the defensive end of the floor.

None of that concerned the Sixers when they made him the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft Thursday night (see story).

"One of the weaknesses was, 'Does he bring it every night defensively? Did he have that killer instinct?'" Sixers head coach Brett Brown said following the pick. "I think if you take a high character person and you take an athlete, you have the foundation to coach him to be an elite defender."

There isn't much question about Fultz's offensive game. The 19-year-old guard averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game in his only season with the Huskies. He also shot an impressive 41.3 percent from three-point range.

His skill set as a shooter and scorer seems to complement the skills of franchise centerpieces Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. With his selection, president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo is hoping the Sixers can start to build a winning culture.

But does Fultz's nine-win season at Washington concern him at all?

"You look at every aspect of evaluating a prospect," Colangelo said. "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 who Markelle represents, what he represents as a player, and how he is going to fit in and help us turn this program around."

Fultz took an interesting path to being the No. 1 pick. He didn't make the varsity team at famed DeMatha High School in Maryland as a sophomore (see story). A growth spurt helped bring more attention to his game.

He chose Washington because of the relationship he had developed with its coaching staff. He also thought he'd have the opportunity to play with sophomores Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray. Instead, both players were surprise one-and-dones and Fultz was forced to carry the team on his shoulders.

"He wasn't always considered the best prospect, but he emerged and earned the right to be the best prospect," Colangelo said. "You're talking about a young man who goes to the University of Washington, didn't have great team success. Unfortunately, part of that may be personnel driven, part of that may be circumstantial.

"To do what he did at the level of the Pac-12 and to be able to average 23 points a game, six rebounds and six assists. You're talking, again, about great performance on the floor, a player that does so many different things and we believe someone that's going to help make his teammates better. "

Colangelo mentioned that Fultz "has the tools" to become an excellent defender. Fultz stands at 6-foot-4 with an impressive 6-foot-10 span. He also has plenty of athleticism and strength to compete defensively against NBA ones and twos.

Brown acknowledged that defense could be the biggest hole in Fultz's game, but feels like he could get the most out of Fultz on the defensive end.

"I think that down deep he understands the knock against him and I believe that when we get him with our program, he understands how we see the world here," Brown said. "It's gonna be an evolution, no doubt. But it's a willing defensive player and it's a willing athlete, a gifted athlete under a roof of a quality person. I think having those types of qualities lets you have a far better chance to mold him into the type of defensive player we need here."