Top-ranked 5 NBA draft prospect in the 2017 draft, Markelle Fultz had high expectations after his phenomenal season with the University of Washington Huskies, averaging 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Many scouts reported that Fultz was destined for greatness, and his excellence was recognized in the Draft Night, when the Philadelphia 76ers traded their third overall pick and their future first round pick with the Boston Celtics to acquire Markelle Fultz as the number one overall draft pick of the 2017 NBA Draft to follow the Golden State’s recipe of drafting an all-star caliber Big Three with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. After having many seasons of being the laughingstock in the NBA, drafting busts such as Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel as the number one picks, the 76ers look to finally start to have a collective group of talent together forming in the core of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. However, in a draft with star-studded potentials and talents of Donovan Mitchell, Lauri Markkanen, Jayson Tatum, Dennis Smith Jr., and Kyle Kuzma, despite having the first overall pick, the 76ers still somehow got the short end of the stick once again by drafting Markelle Fultz.
Beginning his rookie campaign as a favorite to win Rookie of the Year, Fultz played in the season opener with the Philadelphia 76ers, who is looking at their first season at a potential deep playoff run in a while. However, the 76ers were cursed yet again, when an aggravating shoulder injury prohibited their star-studded rookie Fultz from playing much of the regular season. And worst of all, multiple videos and reports surfaced that the shoulder injury has inflicted much of his shooting form, completely scratching his technique and restarting all over again. In his return, Fultz was not that impressive. While he did log in his first career triple double near the end of the regular season, being the youngest in history to record one and bringing in much hope for the 76ers bright future, Fultz was not only benched, but was completely inactive during the 76ers surprising deep playoff run into the conference semifinals, challenging the Celtics to 5 games.
Losing the Rookie of the Year award to his fellow teammate Ben Simmons, who was out during the season of his draft, Fultz was promised a starting shooting guard spot on the roster over veteran JJ Reddick at the beginning of his sophomore campaign. However, after playing 14 games, in which recently Fultz was demoted down into a bench role player who plays limited minutes on the court, Fultz averages 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. And not only that, but the 76ers has engaged in a blockbuster trade, giving away their two starting forwards for a stellar shooting guard to replace Fultz’s position as the last missing piece for a Big 3 with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Jimmy Butler. Soon after this trade, Fultz would have to compete with minutes on the court with the 4x All-Star Jimmy Butler, who cemented his place in the starting rotation. But now, the team has recently decided that Fultz should meet up with a shoulder specialist to aid with his bothering shoulder that affected his poor shooting.
Unfortunately, to make matters worse, videos of him shooting prior to a motorcycle incident that resulted in his shooting injury, revealed his perfect shooting that was shown and highlighted in his college career. It appears that Fultz is heading in the same path as some of the other first round picks as Anthony Bennett, Jahlil Okafor, and Greg Oden. Fultz is not producing the numbers that would qualify him as a first round pick, much less the first overall pick of the draft. While Fultz is a great complimentary player to any team in the organization, providing occasional energy and spark off the bench, in terms of the level of competition and talent in that year’s draft, Fultz is definitely, without a doubt, another bust and a complete waste for the 76ers first overall pick.
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