Markelle Fultz believes the 76ers already have three stars on their roster.
Philadelphia has reportedly inquired about a deal for Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler and some have said the 76ers need to acquire a third top player to team with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. But Fultz does not think that is the case.
“I kind of like when people doubt me and say, ‘Look for another star,’ ” Fultz told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I see myself as that player. I just work every day to become better.
“I really don’t look at other people’s goals, but I definitely look at it to see myself as that next player that can step up in that role.”
Philadelphia selected the 20-year-old guard with the No.1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Fultz, however, struggled with injuries and a hitch in his jumper throughout his rookie season.
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown told the Inquirer he wasn’t surprised by Fultz’s recent comments.
“He sees the world like that,” Brown said. “His self-belief coming out of the summer … and now that he’s playing some NBA basketball, albeit not a lot, he thinks like that. He acts like that. He carries himself like that. … To me, most importantly, he’s practicing like that.”
Fultz averaged 7.1 points per game and attempted a single 3-pointer in just 14 regular-season appearances in 2017-18. He fell out of Philadelphia’s playoff rotation, totaling 23 minutes in three postseason games.
“My goal is to come in and help at both ends of the floor (this season),” Fultz said. “Being that I’m healthy now, and able to play, I just want to contribute in as many ways as I can.”
The 76ers open the regular season against the Celtics on Oct. 16.