When the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the prevailing thought was he was going to be the franchise point guard for years to come and the third piece of the team’s Big 3 alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
So far, that hasn’t been the case with Fultz, who had one of the strangest rookie seasons in recent memory.
Fultz played in just 14 games last season due to scapular muscle imbalance in his right shoulder. The injury was so bad that Fultz apparently forgot how to shoot the ball and lost confidence in his entire game.
To make things even worse, the third overall pick in the 2017 draft, small forward Jayson Tatum, had an amazing rookie season with the Boston Celtics. The Sixers traded the No. 3 pick to Boston to move up to No. 1 to select Fultz.
Tatum averaged 13.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 80 regular-season games while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from beyond the arc. He has superstar potential written all over him, while Fultz is still trying to find his place in the league.
Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck believes there’s too much pressure for Markelle Fultz in Philadelphia, and rival executives around the league are of the belief that Fultz may be traded by the Sixers, maybe not this season, but before his rookie contract is up:
“It’s way too early to declare Fultz a bust,” Beck says. “But, in the view of some scouts, it’s also hard to see him blossoming in Philly. Expectations are too high, and rival executives believe that will eventually hasten in a trade. Fultz might someday live up to his promise, it just might not be in Philly.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 26, 2018
Markelle Fultz worked out with renowned shooting coach Drew Hanlen over the summer. Hanlen said he rebuilt Fultz’s jump shot. Through five games this season, Fultz is shooting 39.6 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from beyond the arc.
When the Sixers were trying to acquire Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs over the summer, the Spurs reportedly never even asked for Markelle Fultz. It’s unclear if he has any value around the NBA.