Markelle Fultz is having a solid season with Orlando. After all of the turmoil that has happened over the course of the past three years, Fultz looks like a much more comfortable player and it has showed over the course of this season.
The Magic players and coaching staff seemed to have welcomed Fultz to the organization with open arms and he has flourished well with the guys out on the court. Without Fultz’s impact on Orlando, there’s no way Orlando would be sitting in a playoff spot as of today and hopefully he can be the X-Factor for the team headed into the playoffs.
The shoulder injury that Fultz suffered a couple seasons ago was no question severe for Fultz’s career. Through the course of his rookie season, many could see there was something wrong with the way he was shooting the ball on the floor. Most of the time he would hesitate on a shot and it was just unbearable to watch him on the floor for the Sixers.
Its for sure that Fultz was very concerned behind the scenes about where his career would go after everything that happened. When he was on the floor for Philly to begin his 2nd season, many could tell that his confidence was gone. He wasn’t in attack mode whatsoever and many were beginning to call him a ‘bust’ very quickly. There was always a history of #1 overall picks that never exceeded expectations due to injuries ending their career. Many did not expect such things to happen to them; just like nobody expected things to happen to Fultz either.
Once the Sixers officially traded Fultz to Orlando last season, it was time for a fresh new start. He would continue to rehab his shoulder a bit more so that he could become a different player that makes a huge impact for his new team. After having full recovery and also putting in work on his craft to improve as a player, Fultz came into this season ready to prove that he was worthy of the #1 pick in his draft.
Orlando made the playoffs last season and fell to the Toronto Raptors in 5 games. Although they fought really hard til the end of that series, it was without question that they needed an extra piece who could set the tone for the team. The Magic weren’t sure about how Fultz would perform during his time with the franchise, but they had nothing to lose on taking a chance with him anyways. He was up and down to begin the season but once he officially got a rhythm and realized he was able to play in this league, Coach Steve Clifford decided to place him in the starting lineup to run the floor for Orlando.
The Magic seemed to have taken another step since Fultz has been placed in the starting lineup. He has been able to fulfill his point guard duties along with attack the defense himself and create his own opportunity to score on offense. Because of his impact right now in Orlando, they’re sitting in the 7th spot in the East with all praise to a new and improved Markelle Fultz and the fans are loving it so far.
Fultz has made improving numbers this season by averaging 12 points per game along with 4.5 assists for the Magic as well. He has had his ups and downs throughout the season but for the majority of the time he has been a difference maker. His recent performances have been stellar by getting a triple double against the Los Angeles Lakers along with an efficient 23 point performance against the Golden State Warriors as well.
Now the question is how does his shot look? No question, it still has an uncomfortable look to it but Fultz has surprisingly been able to improve on the mid range game. He will still need to improve his his three point percentage as he averages to shoot 25% from the field beyond the arc, but that will hopefully come over time for the kid as he will develop his offense in the near future.
The NBA had a scare when Markelle Fultz was not his particular self after his shoulder injury. But now it’s great to see that he’s weathered the storm early in his career to have a marvelous season this year. He is not 100% back to where he was when he played for Washington State, but with patience and gratitude, the kid will become the all-star talent many have expected him to become in the past. The move to Orlando was the best thing for Fultz’s career and both he and the organization have benefitted from the trade last season.