With the first pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select… Markelle Fultz!
Fultz has been one of the most polarizing players over the last two years. Coming out of college, he was almost guaranteed to be the first overall pick, after averaging 23.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 5.6 apg as a member of the Washington Huskies. The Sixers sophomore has been plagued with injuries all throughout his rookie season. His shooting form has looked much worse so far, compared to the one he wowed scouts with in college.
After poorly starting out his regular season, Fultz missed 68 games as he dealt with his injury. Some say Fultz had the case of the yips, something a few athletes go through that causes them to forget key fundamentals. Some say Fultz had a severe shoulder injury called a scapular muscular imbalance. There are even recent rumors about a motorbike incident before he got drafted which caused his injury. Whether it was Fultz who was unclear about his injury, or it was the Sixers who poorly mishandled Fultz’s treatment and rehab, this has to be one of the wildest stories in NBA history.
As confusing as Fultz is, he isn’t without his strengths. On the last day of the 2017-18 NBA Season, Fultz became the youngest ever in NBA history to record a triple-double in a game, beating the 2nd overall pick of that year, Lonzo Ball, who previously held the record. He recorded then-career-highs across the board in a rout over the Milwaukee Bucks, with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He’s also a pretty decent defender and is shown to play much better as the primary ball handler, instead of the secondary ball handler role given to him with Ben Simmons as his teammate.
Just this week, Fultz has once again left the team and is seeking medical consultation. and treatment regarding his shoulder. According to a report by The Athletic, Fultz is also looking for a change in scenery. Now while his agent Brothers has denied all claims of a trade request, we thought it’d be fun to think of some hypothetical trade scenarios which could see Fultz prove his critics wrong.
EDIT: New reports have come out from the 76ers about how Markelle Fultz is no longer in their long-term plans, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
*All trades were confirmed to be successful by ESPN’s Trade Machine*
Trade #1: Phoenix Suns
Suns get: Markelle Fultz, Mike Muscala, 2021 Unprotected First Round Pick
Sixers get: T.J. Warren, Dragan Bender
This trade gives the Sixers are starting caliber forward T.J. Warren, who has been having a career year so far. They also get a young backup big in Dragan Bender, who has not really lived up to the hype of being drafted 4th overall. This lineup would give the Sixers some versatility, with an impressive starting 5 of Simmons-Redick-Butler-Warren-Embiid.
The Suns taking this trade for Markelle is a high-risk, high-reward trade. On one hand, if Markelle develops into the player that scouts were impressed by in college, the Suns have just acquired their franchise point guard to star alongside Devin Booker in the backcourt. On the other hand, if his shoulder injuries and bizarre jump shot remains, the Suns would’ve given up promising forward T.J. Warren for nothing. Even if Markelle does not become a superstar, the Suns still get a quality point guard, something that they desperately need. They also get their pick back, which is pretty good.
Trade #2: Orlando Magic
Magic get: Markelle Fultz, 2020 Unprotected Second Round Pick
Sixers get: Jonathan Isaac
Looking at the bigger picture, this would mean that the Sixers basically traded to move down in the draft while also giving up a future second round pick. Isaac was picked at #7 while Fultz was picked first. In Isaac, the Sixers get a defensive-minded power forward who can fit right in as Joel Embiid’s frontcourt mate. Isaac will not have to score a lot of points, but if he can develop his shooting and scoring abilities, he can be a good enough replacement for Robert Covington, whom they traded for Jimmy Butler.
The Magic, who like the Suns, also need a point guard. Pairing Fultz with a solid lineup of Evan Fournier, Jonathan Simmons, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and even Mo Bamba off the bench could prove to be one of the most youthful and exciting lineups in the league, assuming Fultz can solve all his problems.
Trade #3: Washington Wizards
Wizards get: Markelle Fultz, Wilson Chandler, 2020 Unprotected First Round Pick, 2021 Unprotected First Round Pick
Sixers get: John Wall
This trade may be the most unrealistic, but this would definitely make the Sixers legitimate candidates to win the NBA Finals. With this move, the Sixers go ahead and trade for one of the league’s top point guards in John Wall. Wall would give the Sixers more versatility and gives them another ball handler. The two problems here are that Wall is due to make more than $35M for the next 3 years. In addition, he adds another dominant ball handler to a roster already with Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid.
The Wizards jumpstart their rebuilding process with this trade. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. are only 25 and 24 years old, respectively. Getting Markelle would allow them to try something new amidst locker room dysfunction and an overall disappointing start to the season so far. They also get a solid veteran in Wilson Chandler and 2 first round picks, which could further help their rebuild.
Thanks for reading! Where do you guys think Markelle Fultz will end up? Or will he stay in Philadelphia? Comment down below. Make sure to check out other articles as well.