Chris Broussard reacts to the return of Philly’s Markelle Fultz: ‘I’m very optimistic with his debut’

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Joining Nick Wright, Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe on First Things First, Chris Broussard reacts to the return of Markelle Fultz to the Philadelphia 76ers, detailing why he was impressed with the rookie point guard's play.

- How optimistic are you after what you saw from Fultz last night?

CHRIS BROUSSARD: I liked what I saw. I thought he played really well. And this is what I saw early in the year. I mean, he didn't play much. But early in the year, I felt I saw the same thing, the athleticism, the quickness, the speed, the aggressiveness. Now, he doesn't have a jump shot, but what I liked last night was-- the question was where's his confidence?

- Yes.

CHRIS BROUSSARD: When your jump shot goes the way his did, where's your confidence? He looked confident last night. I actually thought-- he took 13 shots in 14 minutes. I was like, slow up young fella.

- Man, get them up-- [INAUDIBLE].

CHRIS BROUSSARD: Yeah, exactly. I liked the aggressiveness. And he brings an element that they had not had before him. They've got pretty much everything. I'm not saying they're a great team yet. But they've got shooting, they've got the great point guard with court vision. They play great defense. They've got the post player inside in [INAUDIBLE], who's versatile.

What they didn't have was that one guy who would break you down off the dribble, and attack, and get to the rim. And now they have that in Fultz. Again, I'm not saying he's going to come in and be a huge factor in the playoffs, but I liked what I saw. I'm very optimistic with this debut.

- Chris, let's go back to last year when we were in Los Angeles, when you were very, very high on Markelle, even abbreviated college season, what you thought. So break it down exactly-- forget what happened with his shooting-- who was he last year--

- If he were a prospect coming out of college right now.

- And why did they make him the number one pick, what were we looking at?

- And traded to get the number one pick, to go get him.

CHRIS BROUSSARD: What you were hearing from the workouts with various teams was that he was by far the best one, the most impressive player in the draft. He, as I said, he could go off the dribble. He could score, he could pass, he could make plays. Again, in addition to the 13 shots, the 8 assists--

- Didn't he also have unllimited range?

CHRIS BROUSSARD: Well, I didn't want to say that, because of what's happened now, but you're right-

- No, we can't disregard that.

CHRIS BROUSSARD: If you take that away, yeah, he was the shooter.

- Yes.

CHRIS BROUSSARD: Which made-- that's what was so strange about-- and obviously, they're putting it on the shoulder, and that certainly has something to do with it. And then I think from there, mentally, he just got messed up.

- Listen, this is how good Markelle Fultz was coming out of school. Think about how bombastic and boisterous LaVar Ball has been. He never was saying the Lakers are going to get the number one pick.

- He said everything but that.

- Everything--

- Nick Wright stinks. Chris Broussard [INAUDIBLE] don't like him.

- Right, the whole thing.

- Chris is little Nick.

- Right, but the whole time, the whole time, prior to the draft, prior to the lottery, he wasn't saying the Lakers are going to get the number one pick. He was always saying the Lakers are going to get the number two pick and take my son. Why? Because everyone knew this guy was going number one overall. He was the-- and it's unbelievable to think of now-- he was the safest pick.

Because what you knew is at the very least, he's going to be a 15 to 20-point a game score, early in his career, and probably 20-plus later in his career, which is why what happened to him was so perplexing. Now, yesterday, you mentioned getting off 13 shots in 14 minutes. He somehow became the first player in the history of the league-- not rookie, player-- to have at least 10 points, at least eight assists in less than 15 minutes of action.

I mean, he was-- the things were running through him when he was on the court. But I am thrilled for him for this reason. I think the mental hurdle was an enormous one. And if he didn't get back on the court all year, I think you start playing tricks with yourself in your head in the off season. I think it starts being sleepless nights.

I think it starts being wait, hold on, am I, am I going to be one of these like all-time bust we talk about, a guy that-- the first-ever version of the NBA YIPS? And so seeing him back on the court, his full shooting stroke is not back yet.

But he was-- he would have been-- let me put it like this, a little more context for people who didn't watch him at the University of Washington-- if he never shot threes, he would have still been a lottery pick based on his explosiveness. You know what I mean? Based on his ability to get to the rim. So for all those reasons, I'm happy for him. The Sixers are an amazing story this year. This is a big positive.