The following storylines were ones that emerged from the Sixers’ morning shootaround on Wednesday, October 4th. They play the Memphis Grizzlies at The Center at 7:00 PM EST.
• It might not be a game that counts for anything in the standings, but Wednesday’s matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies will indeed mark Markelle Fultz’s first opportunity to suit up in a Sixers uniform in a non-summer league setting.
“I’m very excited,” Fultz said following Wednesday’s shootaround at the Sixers’ training complex in Camden. “This is my first pre-season game, my first official NBA game, so I’m really excited.”
As for the goals the 2017 No. 1 pick has set for his exhibition debut, he said he’ll be focusing primarily on his defense. Another one of Fultz’s objectives is to emerge from the tilt with a win.
Still just 19 years old, the combo guard admitted that he expects the night to have a surreal undertone to it.
“Growing up, watching the NBA, watching games, and to finally be here, playing my first one, it kind of hasn’t hit me yet,” he said, “but I know as soon as I get on the court, and I’m finally guarding somebody that I’ve been watching growing up, I think it will hit me then. Every time I think about it, it’s kind of crazy.”
In terms of the backcourt duties he figures to assume with Ben Simmons Wednesday, Fultz believes he’ll have chances to play both on the ball, and off it.
“There’s going to be times when he’s pushing and I’m pushing it,” said Fultz. “That’s another exciting thing. You never know when I’m going to be bringing the ball up, you never know when he’s going to be bringing the ball up, so it’s going to throw a lot of teams off. I’m looking forward to it.”
• Having a sense of anticipation for pre-season basketball isn’t an emotion exclusively limited to young players like Markelle Fultz. JJ Redick, entering his 12th year in the league, feels the same way, and has for some time, in fact.
“I’ve been excited since July 1st,” the shooting guard said Wednesday, “so nothing’s changed.”
Redick, of course, was referring to the annual date that the NBA’s free agency period begins. Shortly after it passed this summer, he officially signed with the Sixers, his destination of choice all along.
The owner of 1,271 career regular season 3-pointers made (40th most in NBA history), Redick figures to be an effective complement to the talented core the organization has been developing in recent years.
“I feel like everything is sort of a build up to October 18th (regular season opener),” said Redick. “I know there will be some excitement tonight – people are excited to see Ben [Simmons] and Markelle [Fultz] play, and hopefully we can continue building that excitement going into our home opener.”