NBA: Draft

It’s difficult to look at the young talent on the Philadelphia 76ers‘ roster and not think some great things could be in store for the franchise down the road. According to Thursday’s No. 1 draft pick Markelle Fultz, however, it means a playoff berth as early as next season.

“I am serious when I say that,” Fultz said at his introductory news conference Friday, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “That is not just me talking because I am a player. I really think that we can be a (playoff team).”

The Sixers have gone a combined 75-253 over the past four seasons, and that impotence has been rewarded with draft talent such as Fultz, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric. Still, Simmons – like Fultz – has yet to play an NBA game, while Embiid has been limited to 31 contests.

There will be growing pains, but the talent alone is tantalizing enough to wonder how long it will take to begin gelling. Coach Brett Brown is realistic, but thrilled.

“The fact that our backcourt hasn’t played a second together, hasn’t played a second of NBA basketball, one is 19, one is 20, is daunting,” Brown said. “But on the sadistic side, it is completely exciting to me. Imagine holding onto that and growing.”

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