EL SEGUNDO – While Markelle Fultz is widely considered a virtual lock at No. 1 in next week’s NBA Draft, that’s not stopping him from keeping his options open.
After a two-day visit earlier this month with the Boston Celtics – who have the No. 1 pick – Fultz sat down with his family to weigh some options. That discussion led to him visiting Los Angeles on Thursday morning for a workout at the Lakers’ practice facility.
And although the Philadelpia Inquirer reported on June 6 that Fultz would only work out for the Celtics, that was not the message Fultz gave after his workout with the Lakers.
“Me and my family never said that we was just going to work out for one team,” Fultz said. “After the last workout, we sat down, talked about it and then decided to come out here.”
During his session, Fultz showcased his 3-point shooting and scoring off screen-roll actions, he said. Fultz believes what sets him apart from other top point guards in the draft is his ability to play both sides of the ball.
“I believe I fill in every box on both ends of the floor,” Fultz said. “I think that’s what the difference is.”
Speaking of rival point guards, Fultz said UCLA standout Lonzo Ball pushed him to better his game in college. When the two competed against each other, Fultz wanted to make sure always came out on top in any way.
“I’m a competitor, so anybody that’s in front of me, I’m gonna try to take them out,” Fultz said. “Lonzo is a great guard. We both compete for the same position, so just stepping on the court I’m gonna try to beat him in everything I do – if that’s tying my shoe faster, anything.”
Now the two guards are competing for a possible spot on the Lakers. Fultz met with team officials during the NBA Draft Combine, and said his workout was just another chance to get to know everyone better.
Fultz said if the Lakers pick him, it could be potentially good for his publicity and promoting his brand.
“I can see myself playing here,” Fultz said. “It’s a great city, a great team. A lot of history behind this team.”
Fultz thinks that from a basketball standpoint, he would be a good fit with the Lakers and their young core – even with current point guard D’Angelo Russell.
“He can play off at the two, I can play off at two,” Fultz said. “We’ll fit together. Basketball players who are pretty good at what they do learn how to play with each other.”
Thursday’s workout was the first for Fultz with the Lakers, who hosted Ball last week and will have a second workout with him today. Los Angeles has also held two workouts with Kansas forward Josh Jackson.
In his lone season at Washington, Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 41.3% from the 3-point line.