SALT LAKE CITY – No one would begrudge Markelle Fultz for deciding to be a go-with-the-flow rookie for the 76ers.
The team already has leaders in Joel Embiid and Robert Covington and are about to add more in free-agent acquisitions J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson.
But that doesn't change Fultz's desire to be an integral part of a rebuilding team.
"Coming in, being a point guard, I want to be a leader," Fultz said Tuesday. "That's my goal. That's all I'm looking forward to."
The first overall pick in last month's NBA draft felt like he should have displayed more leadership in Monday's 89-88 loss to the Boston Celtics in the Utah Jazz Summer League opener. In that game, he went with the flow, finishing with 17 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal, three blocks and four turnovers.
The Sixers want him to stay aggressive, and control tempo throughout the game. They also want him to be confident enough to lead older players this season. That's because the 19-year-old will definitely have to direct veterans, whether it's Covington or Embiid or Redick.
So the Sixers think the Jazz league and the upcoming NBA Summer League will provide great opportunities to practice that with summer-league teammates in Darryl Reynolds (23 years old), Larry Drew II (27) and Charles Jackson (24).
During Monday's game, Defense was the one area where Fultz showed hustleseemed to struggle during Monday's loss. He didn't give up on plays and chased down defenders en route to his blocking those shots.
That's something he's been doing since the 10th grade at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattesvile, Md.
"All it is is effort, really," he said. "That's something I like to do. [In high school] is when I realized I had a little success. Just going into college I started blocking a lot of shots as a point guard."
Sixers fans probably won't get to see that trait in all three of the team's games here in Utah. Fultz is expected to play in Wednesday's 9 p.m. matchup against the host Jazz at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. However, it is unlikely that he'll play Thursday night against the San Antonio Spurs.
Resting players during summer league games is nothing new for the Sixers. They have a nine-man rotation on what currently is a14-man roster. As a result, five players won't see action in any given game.
Bolden the defender
Jonah Bolden can shoot the basketball. The Sixers second-round pick shot 41.9 percent on three-pointers this past season for KK FMP Boegrad in Serbia.
So no one should be alarmed by his off shooting night in Monday's loss.
Even the best shooters have bad shooting nights. They are judged on those occasions by what they do when the shots aren't falling. And Bolden brought it on the defensive end against the Celtics.
The 6-10 forward finished with a game-high four blocked shots. He also graded out at a plus-seven despite shooting 4 for 10, including 1 for 4 on three-pointers.
"One of the things I wanted to show is my defensive versatility," Bolden said.
He also expects to have a better shooting performance on Wednesday. Bolden admitted to being a little nervous on Monday. That could have contributed to his missing shots he usually makes.
"Yeah, it was the first game, getting a feel, pretty much nerves," he said. "Game 2, I feel like it won't be a problem.
"I was wide open in all four of my [three-point] shots."
Bolden, 21, was the 36th pick of the June 22 NBA draft. That came 12 days after he signed a two-year contract with KK Crvena zvezda in Belgrade. The Australian has a buyout that can enable him to get out of that contract.