NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers made a bold move earlier in the week to make sure they could get the guy they wanted.
On Thursday night, they made point guard Markelle Fultz the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.
The Sixers will add Fultz to a promising young core that includes Rookie of the Year finalists Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, plus Ben Simmons, the top pick from last year who sat out all season with a foot injury.
“It was unbelievable, really, truly a blessing. Once I heard my name called, it was like God calling me,” Fultz said.
“In high school, I told my trainer, Keith, I wanted to be the No. 1 player in the country and the No. 1 draft pick, so it was a goal I set out there, and that’s what I was striving for,” he added.
Fultz spent just one season at the University of Washington, averaging 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game. He became an option for the 76ers after they acquired the top pick from the Boston Celtics on Monday.
“By adding a player of Markelle’s caliber to our promising roster, we believe we’re incredibly well positioned for the future,” Philadelphia owner Josh Harris said. “This is a tremendous night for the Sixers and our great fans.”
UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball went No. 2 to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ball seems certain to become the starting point guard in coach Luke Walton’s up-tempo offense after D’Angelo Russell is officially traded to Brooklyn.
The Lakers don’t appear concerned by LaVar Ball, the voluble father with aspirations of building a global sports empire around his three talented sons. LaVar Ball raised his family in the Los Angeles suburbs.
“Tonight was supposed to be a good night. Definitely was, and now I’m just focused on playing,” Lonzo Ball said. “Just want to get on the court.”
PHOTOS: NBA Draft
Lonzo Ball receives comparisons to Jason Kidd for his offensive abilities. He led the nation with 7.7 assists per game while quarterbacking the highest-scoring offense in Division I, and he scored consistently despite an unorthodox shot.
The Celtics, who swapped picks in the trade with the Sixers, selected Duke small forward Jayson Tatum at No. 3. It marked the fourth straight year the Blue Devils produced a top-three pick.
The Phoenix Suns took Kansas small forward Josh Jackson at No. 4, and the Sacramento Kings took Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox a pick later. The run of freshmen then continued with the Orlando Magic selecting Jonathan Isaac.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has talked about changing the NBA’s age limit, saying the current rule that American-born players must be 19 and a year out of high school, but teams seem just fine with the current system.
The Chicago Bulls acquired the No. 7 pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves after trading three-time All-Star Jimmy Butler and the 16th overall pick. Chicago also received Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
The Bulls used the seventh pick on Arizona freshman Lauri Markkanen.
The run of first-year college players, which bettered the 2014 record of four straight to start the draft, finally ending when the Knicks took French guard Frank Ntilikina at No. 8.
The top 10 was rounded out with two more freshmen: Dennis Smith Jr. of North Carolina State to Dallas at No. 9, and Gonzaga’s Zach Collins at No. 10 with the Kings’ second pick.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)