Markelle Fultz believes he is the Philadelphia 76ers' third star player amid speculation regarding disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler.
The 76ers have reportedly inquired about a deal for four-time NBA All-Star Butler and some feel Philadelphia need to acquire a third top player to team with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
But 20-year-old guard 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 Fultz with the first pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Fultz, however, struggled with injuries and a hitch in his jumper throughout his rookie season.
Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown told the Inquirer he was not surprised by Fultz's 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 three-pointer in just 14 regular-season appearances in 2017-18.
He fell out of Philadelphia's playoff rotation, totalling 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 Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics on October 16.
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