Markelle Fultz is playing games for the Philadelphia 76ers, that feels great to type. Him playing and him producing are two different things though, and while it is nice to see him some back and have a role on the team, it’s not entirely necessary for him to put up big numbers. Don’t get me wrong, for him to be a future star for this team he will need to produce at a high level, but at this point in the season it’s all about him getting back into the feel of the game and not regressing back to whatever ailments plagued him both physically and mentally.
He’s starting to show fans exactly why he was the first overall pick in last years NBA Draft, he still has that explosive first step off the dribble, can get to the rim, and all of a sudden looks like he remembers how to shoot a basketball. None of his stat lines have been super impressive thus far, but he is fitting into the second unit well and making plays on both offense and defense. In the three games since his return, Fultz has a stat line of 23 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds, showing he can effect the game several different ways even when defenses aren’t totally respecting his offensive game just yet. But what’s more important than the numbers he’s giving the Sixers right now is the fact that his form is intact for the most part. It may not be what it was at the University of Washington (yet), but it has come a long way from what it was just a few months ago.
It’s anyones guess as to if Fultz will be a part of the postseason rotation, but the way he is playing now it wouldn’t hurt to have a little extra fire power off of the bench, especially with the possibility of Joel Embiid missing game action. The ten games Fultz plays in the regular season could be seen as an audition of sorts, or maybe just a way to get him back playing against NBA competition with a playoff birth already locked up, only time will tell. The fact that he hasn’t fallen into the trap of getting back into game action and then forgetting everything he relearned has to be looked at as a step in the right direction (baby steps everyone). This is a situation unlike any other in NBA history, I think it’s time to just enjoy Fultz regaining the ability to be a different maker on this team.
Who knows what his career arc will be after a very weird rookie season, but before he was drafted many said the sky was the limit, so what has really changed? His jumper form is the most important thing in this entire situation, and if that is clicking then there is no reason the rest of his game won’t as well.
Markelle Fultz may not be putting up the stat lines of a traditional first overall pick, but that should be the least of his concerns. The highlight plays will come in time, but right now only a few games into his career, the goal needs to be to get back to the player that he was before the draft and then eventually into the player many expect him to be once his career is all said and done. The big concern this year was if Fultz would ever regain the jumper he once had, and now that he is playing again we can see glimpses of what makes him so special. He, alongside the rest of his Sixer teammates will take over the NBA in due time, the results may not be what he wants at the moment, but as long as he keeps trusting his process he’ll be just fine.