Jerryd Bayless was supposed to be the guy, the veteran stabilizing presence, but he broke his wrist. He played in three games.
T.J. McConnell was a surprise and a find, but he’s a backup at the point long term, not the answer.
Sergio Rodriguez threw great passes, but he was always a stopgap.
Philadelphia headed into this offseason unsettled long-term at the point. There has been talk of chasing Kyle Lowry or some other free agent veteran point guard to settle the young team down, but those again were not the long-term answer.
Markelle Fultz is that answer.
By trading for the No. 1 pick in this draft, sending the Boston Celtics the No. 3 this year than either the Lakers No. 1 next year (if it falls in picks 2-5) or the Kings pick in 2019, the Sixers get a potentially great young point guard, a versatile one who fits what they are trying to build.
Fultz should bring the ability to organize the offense consistently that Philly lacked last season (with Bayless out injured). They needed someone to set the table, and Fultz can do that.
Fultz is a versatile point guard for the modern game. He can shoot (41.3 percent from three last season), can score from the midrange or attack the rim, he’s a strong playmaker in transition or the halfcourt, and he’s a good floor general. There’s very little he can’t do on offense, and defensively he has potential.
Brett Brown can use Fultz off the ball if Simmons is running the point, or he can trust Fultz to run the show. They could form the kind of dangerous pick-nd-roll play with two ball handlers who can shoot we have seen from Cleveland with the Kyrie Irving/LeBron James 1/3 pick-and-roll. Plus both Fultz and Simmons are good passers who can feed Embiid.
Philly’s potential new big three also are all on basically the same career arc.
We don’t know how this move will ultimately play out, or if these three can mesh with the Sixers. Can they stay healthy enough to find out?
However, right now, this is a strong move by Philly — there comes a time to cash in some of those treasure trove of picks and get the guys you want. Bryan Colangelo did that here. I’ve had my concerns about how the new Sixers GM would mess up “the process” but this is not that. This is getting a potentially great young player that fits what the Sixers are building. This is a strong move.