Markelle Fultz is Back and Ballin’ (3/17/22)

When he was selected first overall in 2017, Markelle Fultz was supposed to be the savior of The Process. He was oozing with talent and upside.

Then came the injuries.

A rare condition called thoracic outlet syndrome destroyed Markelle’s shooting ability and held him to just 33 games in his first two seasons. He was traded to Orlando in 2019 and his future was uncertain. People were already labeling him as a bust.

The following season, Markelle played 72 games and was solid. He averaged 12 points and 5 assists on 46% from the field, and things were finally looking up until he tore his ACL eight games into the 2020-21 season.

Devastating injuries seemingly derailed Markelle’s career before it began.

That’s not the case.

Markelle made his season debut on February 28th and immediately made an impact. He’s played a total of 7 games this season and is averaging 9 points and 5 assists on 48% shooting in just 18 minutes per game (less than players like Dean Wade and Jordan Nwora!). It’s impossible to tell that two years ago his career was on the line when he does things like this:

He has looked at home in the mid-range, and that is a positive sign for his game. He’s hit 53.8% of his attempts from 10-16 feet while taking a quarter of his shots from that range.

Markelle mixes his mid-range shot creation with strong finishing. He’s shooting 80% on shots at the rim.

He’s also a smart passer who makes the right pass often.

Since his return, I’ve been impressed with Markelle’s lead-guard ability. Even if he won’t become the superstar he was envisioned to be, he’ll be a starting guard for a long time. It’s really cool to see a guy overcome significant injuries and come back better. Markelle Fultz is back and ballin’, and it’s been a lot of fun.

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