Things have been so crazy in the Eastern Conference that just about everyone has forgotten about former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz. He was traded by the Philadelphia 76ers to the Orlando Magic this past season, and next year will be a reclamation attempt by Fultz for his career.
The talent for Fultz was there when he played his one and only year in college at the University of Washington, but a shoulder injury and a severe case of the yips changed his shooting motion enough that it took away all ability for him to perform on an NBA floor.
Orlando is far enough out of the way, and a team that has a young core good enough to play without him. It’s sort of a perfect position for Fultz to be in, especially since the Magic appear to want to be good, at least on paper.
As such, his teammates are trying to pump Fultz up. Speaking this week, Aaron Gordon said that he felt as though Fultz was going to be “a monster” if he could just figure things out.
The other question here sort of posed in a backdoor manner by Gordon is what kind of motivation Fultz still has to play this game. This is the first generation of NBA players who have not only had an online base of criticism directed at them since they were in college, but who have also had direct access as users of social media during that time.
Fultz has had pretty pointed invective directed right at him for the entirety of his adult life. Recovering from both physical and mental hurdles won’t be easy.
Still, he was a low risk, high reward type of guy for Orlando, and if they get him on track in the next three years Fultz will be worth it.