Markelle Fultz’s number one goal with 76ers is to be a leader, starting on defense
Despite finishing sixth in the nation with a 23.2 points per game average, Fultz isn’t just looking to put up numbers upon his arrival. He wants to lead the franchise to the land they haven’t touched in five seasons — the playoffs.
“Coming in, being a point guard, I want to be a leader,” Fultz said Tuesday after dropping a team-high 17 points in his Utah Summer League debut against the Boston Celtics, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. “That’s my goal. That’s all I’m looking forward to.”
More than his scoring, Fultz will look to make his presence felt at the defensive end, as he did as a freshman at the University of Washington. He averaged 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game to round out his impressive all-around line going into the NBA Draft.
The 6-foot-4 Washington D.C. native had three blocks and one steal in his debut, showcasing the 6-foot-10 wingspan that made him such a rare specimen and in the Sixers’ eyes.
“All it is is effort, really,” Fultz said. “That’s something I like to do. [In high school] is when I realized I had a little success. Just going into college I started blocking a lot of shots as a point guard.”
Shot-blocking point guards are a rare breed altogether, but his emphasis on defense coming into a growing culture could be the one thing that kickstarts his emergence as a leader on the court and in the locker room, earning the respect of his teammates with his hustle from day one.