Former No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz is mastering his magic act in Orlando
The 2017 NBA Draft has become what it was expected to be: one of the most promising draft classes in recent years.
Sources: 2020 NBA All-Star reserves:Article continues below ...
East: Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Ben Simmons, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, Domas Sabonis
West: Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert, Brandon Ingram, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 30, 2020
Guys like De’Aaron Fox…
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 5, 2020
…and Lonzo Ball are inching closer to leading their respective teams to the playoffs.
23.3 PTS | 8.3 REB | 7.7 AST | 2.7 STL
5.0 3PT | 53.6 3P%
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 5, 2020
But the forgotten man seems to be the leading man: Markelle Fultz.
After a tumultuous two-year period with the Philadelphia 76ers – resulting in only 33 games played and various questions about what happened to his shooting form – Fultz was moved to Orlando.
And so far, it’s turned out to be the change of scenery that Fultz needed, as the former No. 1 pick has finally found his footing as point guard for the Magic.
Assist of the Night: Mar. 2nd
— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) March 3, 2020
Orlando is currently eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, and Fultz hasn’t just been a guy on the team. He’s been one of the its bright spots.
"Boy is nice, and he's only going to get better. He did a great job just running the show, settling them down, getting good shots. And then down the stretch, he took over." – AG on Fultz
Markelle Fultz vs Lakers
21 PTS | 11 REB | 10 AST
and 1 clutch bucket over LeBron pic.twitter.com/SrmJ5EKg3b
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 16, 2020
On the season, Fultz is averaging 11.7 points and 5.2 assists, as well as 1.3 steals.
And he’s beginning to showcase many of the skills that had scouts salivating over him when Fultz was coming out of college.
🤓 Markelle Fultz pic.twitter.com/rPF1fsVnXn
— NBA Spain (@NBAspain) October 8, 2019
Fultz competes at the defensive end of the floor, has great feel in the pick and roll, and his big, 6’4 frame, combined with his athleticism at the point guard position, allows him to essentially get wherever he wants on the floor.
And when he gets in the paint, it gets magical.
WELCOME BACK MARKELLE FULTZ! 😤 pic.twitter.com/wLBM4nojoR
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 24, 2019
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) October 8, 2019
Markelle Fultz goes up and under! 👏
— NBA (@NBA) October 8, 2019
For the most part, Fultz has been written off as a bust after his stint in Philadelphia, but his time away from the spotlight and high expectations that he faced as the Sixers’ top pick have allowed him to flourish in Orlando.
Fultz has proven himself to be a legitimate starting point guard on an NBA playoff team in what is essentially his “rookie” season.
This sequence and game (career-high 19 points) has been three years in the making for Markelle Fultz pic.twitter.com/Xw9z2AzsII
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) November 18, 2019
With the playoffs on the horizon, and the Magic 4.5 games clear of ninth-seeded Washington, it looks like Fultz will have a chance to further reintroduce himself to the NBA world in the playoffs.
He’s shown he is capable of not only producing, but possibly being the best player on the floor any given night.
And if his performance so far this season is any indicator, Fultz still has a few tricks up his sleeve.