The 2017 NBA Draft was a tense one for sure. The amount of talented recruits was overwhelming to scouts all across the league. Big Names like Jayson Tatum, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Bell, and Dennis Smith jr. were all ready to be drafted. But the question still stood:
“Who would get picked first?”
That spot fell to the 6’4″ guard from Washington, Markelle Fultz.
Fultz was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in an attempt to try and bring in someone who had the potential to be the best point guard for the franchise since Allen Iverson.
In college, Markelle was known for his quick instincts whenever he was on the court (NBA.com). He could take on players that were 6 inches taller than him because of his agility and basketball IQ.
He began to play pretty decent basketball in Philadelphia, but as Fultz played more he started to feel pain in his shoulder — which kept him out for most of his rookie season. In that season, he played in 14 games and often wore all sorts of P.T. tape along his shoulder, which might have been a bit restraining to movement and flexibility. He ended his season with an average of 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.8 assists a game (Basketball Reference).
His sophomore season was not much better. Markelle Fultz was diagnosed with a nerve disorder that prevented him from playing in most games. In his second season with the Sixers, Markelle only played in 19 games. That season, he averaged 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per performance.
Unfortunately, the 76ers did not think that Fultz seemed like he was ready to take on the role of being their go-to point guard. In the spring of their 2018-2019 season, the Sixers decided to trade Markelle to the Orlando magic for guard Jonathon Simmons and two draft picks: One protected first round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft (Top 20), and a second round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Markelle Fultz did not play with the Magic until the beginning of this season. So far, he has only played in a couple of games but is already putting up significantly better numbers than he did his first two seasons. In his first two games, Fultz has averaged 12 points, 1.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists.
Despite being under-the-radar for a while with injuries, Markelle Fultz is not giving up yet, he has too much individual potential to lose. He will only get better as he receives more playing time in the rest of the season. Picking Fultz up was most certainly a risky move for the Magic, but it will pay off in the long run because he seems to be the right man for the point guard spot in Orlando.
By Keith Allison – https://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/39596551735/in/album-72157688226018480/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73034363