The Philadelphia 76ers are doing their best to utilize the talents of Markelle Fultz. Well, as much as Brett Brown will try, it’s impossible as long as he’s in a 76ers uniform. It’s not a knock on Fultz’s talents, but the fact remains that he’s not a great fit for the team.
That may be a load to take in with Fultz going No. 1 just a season ago but to be honest, he was never needed.
Ben Simmons is the starting PG. J.J. Redick has played the SG position his entire career and Fultz doesn’t have the height or body strength to play any of the frontcourt positions. So what was the purpose of drafting the explosive University of Washington player? Not just drafting him, but trading up to do so?
From the beginning, he was set up to fail. I mean, where was he to play at? Fultz was not coming in to take Simmons’ position. His shot in college was good but was it Redick-like? The injury Fultz dealt with in 2017 set his progress back but with talks that he had regained his college form left many wondering if we were going to see the next Allen Iverson in 2018.
There’s been no such luck so far this season as Markelle has continued to tread water. Even with the starting nod over Redick, Fultz has averaged 9.9 points, 4.0 assists, and 4.4 rebounds in 24.2 minutes per game. Maybe it’s the minutes he’s playing but in that time, he’s averaging 10.3 shot attempts while hitting .409 percent from the floor. He’s getting the chances.
The true issue is, he’s catching heat from fans and analysts because he has not lived up to his billing. And, it’s not entirely his fault. The Philadelphia 76ers drafted a player who was at his best with the ball in his hands. Instead of giving him that opportunity, they did the opposite.
In Washington, Markelle Fultz was the main attraction. He drove the lane with consistency and even from three-point territory, he shot .413 percent. So what happened once he got to Philly? What the 76ers had in front of them with the No. 1 pick in 2017 were players they had no real use for. Why go Jayson Tatum when you already had Robert Covington and Dario Saric? There was no need for Lonzo Ball with Simmons already etched at PG.
I’m pretty sure that if the 76ers could go back, without a doubt, they would select Donovan Mitchell, but who knew? Mitchell fits exactly what this team is lacking. Selecting Fultz is just a case of listening to too many analysts and getting caught up in the hype.
Now, is there time for Fultz to turn his career around? Yes. In all fairness, this is really his rookie season as he sat out a huge portion of in 2017. The sad part is, with Simmons and Joel Embiid as the cornerstones of the team, there’s no room for Fultz to be, well, Fultz.
The 76ers are not the Golden State Warriors where they have enough ball movement to satisfy Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thomson, and Kevin Durant. The Sixers are still learning how to play with one another and their stars are still developing. Where does this leave Markelle Fultz?
As the 76ers continue to carve out a spot as one of the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference, rumors will continue to swirl that Fultz should be traded. Fans will argue that the young kid needs time to develop when in reality, he does, but it should not be with the 76ers.
Is Fultz a bust? No, not yet and he may never be. But if he continues to play for the Philadelphia 76ers, he could very well become the next Joe Smith. Fultz has so much potential but getting with the right team at the right time means everything. Sorry to say, but the 76ers and Fultz is not the best pairing for either party.