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The Celtics have to take Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft

The Washington point guard is too good to pass on or trade. The Celtics need to build around Fultz.

NCAA Basketball: Nevada at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Markelle Fultz was cut from the varsity basketball team at DeMatha Catholic as a high school sophomore. Three years later, he’s the big prize waiting for the Boston Celtics as lucky winner of Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery.

NBA teams that scouted Fultz this year at Washington got to see a point guard with every tool to become a perennial All-Star. At 6’5 with a 6’9 wingspan, he has the size to play or defend either backcourt spot. He hit 52 three-pointers at a 41 percent clip. He showed great instincts in the pick-and-roll, proved he could create his own offense off the dribble, and flashed the ability to make game-changing plays on the defensive end.

Simply put, Fultz doesn’t have any glaring holes in his skill set. Lonzo Ball generated more attention, and Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson played for more prestigious college programs, but there should be little debate Fultz deserves to be the No. 1 pick for the Celtics. Here’s why:

He can contribute immediately before taking over long term

The Celtics won the most games in the East this season, reached the conference finals, and still hold the No. 1 pick because of a 2013 trade with the Brooklyn Nets. Unlike almost every other top pick in recent history, Fultz won’t need to play savior immediately. Instead, he’ll just have to turn into a nightly contributor for a team that’s likely to have championship aspirations.

Fultz is uniquely equipped for this situation. He should be able to carve out a rotation spot from day one because he has the instincts to be a microwave scorer and the versatility to play next to each member of Boston’s backcourt.

Avery Bradley is the best backcourt partner for Fultz early in his career. He’s one of the premier perimeter defenders in the sport and also the longest tenured Celtic. Next to Bradley, Fultz could orchestrate the offense, take on the easier defensive assignment, and hopefully not have to focus on too many things at once. Same goes for a potential pairing with the similarly rugged Marcus Smart.

Fultz can play with Isaiah Thomas, too, and it could even be enormously beneficial for his development. Next to IT, Fultz would need to have greater focus defensively and master getting to certain spots on the floor where he can be a standstill shooter. That’s going to help him become a more complete player in the long run when he’s running the show.

Fultz has potential in any situation

Fultz’s talent as a scorer is so apparent that he can be plugged into any situation and be expected to succeed. The same can’t be said for the other prospects projected at the top of this draft.

Ball will need shooters and athletes around him like he had at UCLA. Tatum wants a team with which he can get plenty of shots. Jackson should be in a situation where he can handle the ball some with other shooters on the floor. De’Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr. would thrive in spread pick-and-roll schemes. Malik Monk and Lauri Markkenan want structured systems complemented by strong defenders.

Fultz is a chameleon. He’s a plug-and-play star for the modern era no matter who is around him.

Fultz is too promising to trade regardless of the return

Because the Celtics are already so good, there will be a ton of speculation about Boston trading the pick to acquire a ready-made superstar. The two names we’ve been hearing for months are Paul George and Jimmy Butler.

As tempting as it is, the Celtics would be wise to play the long game and keep Fultz.

George has a well-documented fascination with Los Angeles and only one year under contract. Butler has two team-friendly years under his current deal before he’s owed a massive contract that would buy out his age 30-35 seasons. Neither player is likely to put the Celtics over the top against the Golden State Warriors. Both of them might not be enough to do that.

Instead, the Celtics should focus on using their cap space to sign a star this summer, with Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin being the two most likely candidates. Even if they miss on both, Boston knows it still has a final-four-caliber team with even more talent coming down the pipeline. They also own the rights to the Nets’ 2018 pick as ammunition for a trade. Speaking of ....

Fultz isn’t the end-game. He’s the start of a new era

This isn’t the end of Boston’s heist of the Nets. The Celtics also have Brooklyn’s pick next year.

In Fultz, Boston will have an alpha dog and lead scorer in the backcourt. Last year’s No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown projects as a solid two-way wing. There’s still one piece missing, and that’s an impact big man. The 2018 draft already looks like it’s full of those.

I can promise you the Celtics are already familiar with Mohamed Bamba, a five-star center recruit who will play college basketball next season. Bamba hasn’t picked his college yet — he’s choosing among Duke, Kentucky, Texas, and Michigan — but he’ll be a top draft pick no matter where he goes.

Bamba has a ridiculous 7’9 wingspan, which would be longer than any measurement in the history of the draft combine. He profiles as a ferocious rim protector who can catch lobs and finish inside on the offensive end. He’s exactly what Boston needs.

Even if the Celtics don’t land Bamba, there’s still Luka Doncic, Michael Porter Jr., DeAndre Ayton, Wendell Carter Jr. and Robert Williams. Each player would be a great addition and complete Boston’s new core alongside Fultz and Brown.

The Celtics hit the jackpot on Tuesday night. When (if?) LeBron James finally starts to decline and the Warriors’ core begins to show its age, Boston is primed to be the NBA’s next title contender.

Fultz is that good. The Celtics are known for having the most retired numbers in the NBA. No. 19 is retired for Don Nelson, and No. 21 is retired for Bill Sharman. If Fultz is as good as he looks at this point, his No. 20 will be up there one day, too.