Markelle Fultz, the top pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, is aware that he has his work cut out for him. There are normally big expectations on the top overall pick but the real challenge is filling in the void needed by the Philadelphia 76ers.

The point guard position has been a spot the Sixers have been trying to resolve. Philly had been criticized for repeatedly drafting big men over the past few years. But with names like Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons immediately available, passing on them would equally be foolish.

This year there were two guards at the top of the class.

Fultz and Lonzo Ball were expected to slug it out with the Sixers, eventually going with the Washington Huskies guard. Now Fultz hopes to make a difference and hopefully lead the Sixers to the NBA playoffs.

Tough grind ahead

At 19, Fultz is not expected to debut as polished like other current guards in the league. He is expected to go through the process most players do. That would include evolving as a leader and become one of the premiere guards the pro league has to offer.

Fultz is aware that he, along with the other young guys (Simmons, Embiid and Okafor among others), have what it takes to contend with the souped-up teams. The 19-year-old is expected to get his share of bumps and shames from veteran guards, all part of the learning process.

Looking ahead, Fultz needs to mature fast. Among his duties include keeping the team together. He joins an elite group of young stars, each possessing talent that he must maximize. His primary duty is to call the plays on the floor as directed by head coach Brett Brown.

No way to go but up

With Fultz being the new face, the Sixers technically have a team that should improve from previous poor seasons.

Experience is sorely lacking and hopefully, veterans like J. J. Reddick, Jerryd Bayless and Robert Covington are enough to address that need.

Other than that, the Sixers should be a team to watch this 2017-18 NBA season. Fultz, Simmons, Embiid, Saric and Okafor all have special individual talent. Bringing out the best in them would also depend on Brown and his coaching staff.

The Sixers started “The Process Era” in 2013. The rebuilding is obvious but looking at their roster, the franchise already has all the necessary players to fill in the key spots.

The last time the Sixers made the playoffs was during the 2011-12 season. They managed to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals, bowing only to the Boston Celtics. Since then, it has been a draught Could this be the year the Sixers finally make the NBA playoffs?