If the experts are right, Markelle Fultz will be the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. Tom Crean, though, sees minimal difference between Fultz and his lottery-pick peers.
“I don’t think (there’s) very much at all,” Crean said on CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “Of the top guys, you could make a case for guys that are going to go 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 – you could make a case for those guys and not be surprised if somehow they ended up in the top three, four, five.”
Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, De’Aaron Fox, Jonathan Isaac, and Jayson Tatum all figure to be drafted among the top 10.
“Everybody’s got a different niche,” Crean said. “Lonzo Ball has got just an incredible vision (in terms of) being able to make passes. Jackson’s got the great motor. I think Isaac has got this tremendous upside because he’s got such a baseline game, and he’s so young. He doesn’t even turn (20) until (October). But in the case of Fultz, I think people are really betting on the upside because it’s been such a rise.”
Crean likened Fultz’s ascent to that of Victor Oladipo, who couldn’t crack the starting five as a high school junior at DeMatha but was taken No. 2 in the draft just a few years later.
“I thought that was a big jump, but when you look at what Fultz has done over a period of time, it’s just been this meteoric rise,” Crean said. “I think there’s the shooting, there’s the fact that he can pass – it’s happened so fast that you’re betting on that upside to continue to grow. I think he’s going to be an excellent shooter. I think the passing is there.”
Fultz, who won just nine games in college, would join a 76ers team coming off its best finish (28-54) since 2013.
“I think you put Ben Simmons at the point, which seems to be from all indications what they’re looking at doing,” Crean said. “You’re going to have to have shooting around him. It gives you a chance to grow with that team. But I think you could make a case for a lot of guys in that position, that they could come in and impact a team in a very solid, steady way. I don’t know if anybody’s going to come in and just bring superstardom over the next couple of years.”