Markelle Fultz: a name that brings to mind many different things depending on the person and how they look at him. What about for you? What do you think of when you hear the Maryland product’s name?
Is it his 1st overall draft selection? Is it the narrative of another possible bust? Is it a case of the yips? Or is it the question of where he’ll end up?
For the average fan it’s probably all of the above, sadly. However that last one is what should be on your mind the most, because it’s the latest edition to his interesting (to say the least) story thus far in the league.
It’s been nearly two weeks since the news broke that the former number one overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft wants to move on from the 76ers after just 33 games in the city of brotherly love.
His last game was November 19 when he came off of the bench and played only seven minutes, going scoreless and logging one rebound and one assist. The day after is when the reports broke.
Reportedly the injuries he’s been having, and the situation as a whole, have been frustrating to him. Which is why he’s ready for a fresh start.
For the longest time most of the NBA world was led to believe the injury he was dealing with was his shoulder. We were quick to believe that due to Fultz’s unconventional shooting form that we heard about all last year throughout his road to recovery and during the 14 games that he played last season.
However according to the latest report he’s been dealing with a wrist injury and not a shoulder one. Add this to the list of things about his story that leaves us with questions. To make it even wilder, check this link out. According to this news outlet, Fultz had a motorcycle accident that he’s been trying to keep a secret pertaining to his shoulder and/or wrist injury.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ is the best way to sum this up.
With all of that being said these issues won’t go away anytime soon, especially if Fultz is not healthy. However if the 76ers grant his wishes and move him to another franchise he’s got to hope that his 2018-2019 campaign thus far has been good enough.
In the 19 games that he’s played this year he’s averaging 8.2 PPG on 41% FG shooting, 3.1 APG and 3.7 RPG.
So let’s discuss three potential landing spots that would be a good fit for him. Of course this is all assuming Fultz is healthy with a functioning jump shot.
1) Detroit Pistons
The Pistons seem to be doing just fine at 12-7 (4th in East) with solid play behind Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith. However Smith will be an unrestricted free agent come this summer. If he chooses to leave that would give Fultz a great opportunity to come off the bench and earn more minutes as the season goes on. Seems perfect since Fultz clearly has some things to fine tune within his game before he can help lead a franchise.
Even if the two organizations want to make this happen via trade instead of waiting until free agency this could still work. As mentioned Smith is in his contract year so he’s going to play hard no matter where he goes. Especially if he goes back to Philly for his third stint with the 76ers, this time as contenders. For the Pistons, it would be beneficial to them too because Fultz is locked in to his contract for another three years before he’s a restricted free agent.
2) Orlando Magic
You may not be aware of this but the Magic could badly use a point guard. It probably doesn’t seem like it because they’ve won 11 out of their first 23 games, compared to last year having won 9 at this same point. They’re also eight in the East right now. However DJ Augustin is the best point guard they have on their roster. No offense, but even though this season he’s averaging one point higher (10.6 PPG) than his career average, and nearly two assists higher (5.4 APG) than his career average, the Magic can definitely upgrade. Not to mention Augustin is in his 11th year and numbers will eventually drop off, so why not upgrade with some youth.
What’s more alarming than the sub-par play of Augustin though is the lack of productivity (to be quite frank) of the backup point guards in Orlando. Jerian Grant averages 4.4 PPG and 3.6 APG while Isaiah Briscoe averages 2.0 PPG and 1.0 APG.
If the 76ers and Magic wanted to make this happen before free agency, this too would be a win-win situation because the 76ers don’t really need another PG but if they want one, Augustin is on contract for one more year before he’s an unrestricted free agent.
3) San Antonio Spurs
Let’s call a thing a thing. The Spurs might not make the playoffs this year for the first time in decades. Granted it’s been because of the departure of the big three (Duncan, Ginobili, Parker) and various other reasons, including their starting point guard Dejounte Murray going down for the season this year with an ACL injury. The fact of the matter is that this very well may be how things turn out.
With that being said the Spurs already have a solid young core with Bryn Forbes, Lonnie Walker and Murray. When you throw Patty Mills and his veteran presence into that mix, it spells success for any young guard coming up with that type of guidance. Needless to say Popovich and his experience helps too.
Most notably however aren’t the players who would potentially be on the floor with Fultz in San Antonio. It’s the people behind the scenes. For many years the Spurs have been the best in the league when it comes to player development. Therefore maybe this was a match made in heaven. Of course the Spurs were too good of a team during last year’s draft to get a player who was projected to go so high, but fate may put them together. It’s just a matter of time.
It would fair well for both sides since the Spurs could use some youth and the 76ers could end up walking away getting something out of it as well.
Now who knows whether or not the 76ers will move Fultz but if they do it would be smart to consider these organizations. After all we all want to see Fultz reach the potential that we all expect number one overall picks to reach.
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