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NBA: Sixers like Fultz first

NEW YORK (AFP) – Markelle Fultz is expected to become the number one pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft after the Philadelphia 76ers swung a deal for the top choice after watching his private workout.

The 19-year-old point guard, who played at the University of Washington last season, would become the club’s fourth top overall pick and follow 2016’s first overall pick by Philly, Australian forward Ben Simmons.

Bryan Colangelo, the 76ers president of basketball operations, played coy about the pick even after swapping the first and third picks with Boston and giving up a future number one pick to get the first choice of unclaimed talent.

‘‘I feel that within the top 10, there are probably five or six sure-fire All-Stars. There may be one or two franchise-level players,’’ Colangelo said. ‘‘On Thursday night, hopefully we make a decision that results in one of those franchise-level players being here.’’

Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals over 25 games last season for a Washington Huskies team that was 9-22.

He would join a young squad that features Simmons, who missed all of last season with a foot injury; Jahlil Okafor and 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year finalists Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. That young core of talent could provide a base to rebuild the team.

Since 2003, the 76ers have won only one playoff series and they have only one winning season since 2005. The Sixers went 28-54 last season.

‘‘We have a core of young players that will be significantly stronger once the draft selection is made,’’ Colangelo said.

‘‘We felt like we were in the right position to make a deal. We felt the value of adding the one pick now was the right thing at the expense of only losing one of four going forward.’’

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