Predicting The Future: Markelle Fultz

When Markelle Fultz made his debut earlier this season, he became just the third No. 1 overall pick in history to come off the bench.  Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer notes that the other two top selections who did not start right away ended up having underwhelming careers.

Anthony Bennett, who was a surprise No. 1 overall pick, began with the Cavs’ bench unit and he never made his way into the starting lineup for Cleveland. He was sent to Wolves in the Kevin Love deal and he ended up only starting three games during his lone season in Minnesota. After a stop in Toronto where he played in just 19 games (no starts), he landed in Brooklyn for just 23 games (one start). Bennett now plays in the G League.

Andrea Bargnani spent the majority of his rookie season on the bench, though he accumulated 314 starts in Toronto over the ensuing six seasons. He peaked during the lockout-shortened 2011/12 season, sporting a player efficiency rating of 17.9, though he never made an All-Star team nor became a top contributor to a winning team.

Bennett was arguably the worst No. 1 pick in history, though Fultz’s early troubles do not mean that he will compete with Bennett for that distinction. It’s more likely that the point guard ends up rivaling Bargnani’s career—someone who plays around 10 seasons in the league, but never really lives up to the hype—than ending up in the G League like Bennett.

It’s too early to definitely say whether Fultz is a bust or whether this is simply a minor roadblock on the way to a Hall of Fame career. There’s a wide range of possibilities between a Bennett-type fall and a James Harden-type rise and there are benchmarks in between those two extremes.

Fultz could make an All-Star team. He could make an All-NBA team or he could struggle and never meet any of the expectations that come with being a No. 1 overall pick. Even if he doesn’t meet those expectations, he could remain in the league and make a nice living as a secondary player. He could be Bargnani.

How do you see Fultz’s career shaking out? Will he meet or exceed any of the expectations of being the top overall selection of the 2017 draft? Will he be better or worse than Bargnani?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. We look forward to what you have to say!

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40 thoughts on “Predicting The Future: Markelle Fultz

  1. The guy had a messed up shoulder since the summer… it’s not fair to start discussing this right now. Let’s see what he can do after recovering and then we can start forming some opinions.

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    • thughand

      I wasn’t a fan of him in college, and I definitely wasn’t a fan of trading up to get him in the draft, but I totally agree that it’s too early to conclude anything with his shoulder in question. But its hard to trust anything BC says after all his dealings with player injuries.

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  2. ScottyH

    Staying healthy is a skill. Lots of early-pick draft busts can attribute some of their struggles to never being physically quite right once they hit the pro’s. Obviously way too early to make that claim here, and hoping for the best for Markelle.

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      • Thomas Swanson

        Adam Morrison! Wasn’t Fultz a late bloomer in high school and injured most of his season at the University of Washington. He was drafted on potential. Sixers say all their first picks sit out their first season.

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      • Bullsfan?

        Linked article qualified that Fultz was 3rd since 2003. Which permitted that article and this one to omit other #1s who came off bench on debut like Yao Ming (2002), Brown (2001), Olowokandi (1998), Glenn Robinson (1994), Derrick Coleman, Pervis Ellison, and Danny Manning (1988-90).

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      • hiflew

        Shouldn’t forget “old school” #1s like LaRue Martin and Joe Barry Carroll (simply for trading Parish and McHale for him).

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        • Thomas Swanson

          Carroll is from Purdue. Me too. We called him Joe Barely Cares!

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  3. Dicka24

    As a Celtics fan I’m very happy that DA traded down to draft Tatum, but I would have been excited had the team ended up with Fultz. I think it’s far too early to talk bust with this kid. Is he even 20 yet? Let him get healthy and play for a while before passing judgement. By all accounts he’s a nice kid, so I wish him the best. Except for when he’s playing my Celtics of course. 80)

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    • hbock216

      Surprised a Celtics fan has this take. I applaud you. These kids are 19 years old let’s give it more than a few games if their first season before passing judgement. I think both teams got and will get what they needed. Tatum doesn’t fit the sixers, fultz wasn’t as good of a fit on Cs

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  4. smittybanton

    Bryan Colangelo agreed that Fultz was not that much more valuable than the top five or six in the last draft. The Sixers gave up one pick to move from #3 to #1, because Fultz fit next to Ben Simmons better than the other top tiered players.

    By contrast, the Golden State Warriors gave up 3 THREE first round picks to move up from Penny Hardaway to Chris Webber.

    Matter of fact the Sixers got more than one first round pick from Orlando to move up from #12 to #10 for Zach Lavine.

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  5. CursedRangers

    A better question is who is going to have a better career, him or Ball? I do not think either are going to love up to their pre-draft hype.

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    • imindless
      imindless

      Lmao ball already has 2 triple doubles to his name and been close to another 4/5 in other games. To lump he and ball together isnt fair let alone saying fultz is a bust. I think ball is better than advertised on the defensive side of the ball while his shoot is a little bit far behind his passing and rebounding ability. Fultz is a little bit of an unknown because of the injury, far from a bust.

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      • Thomas Swanson

        At least you don’t have Greg Oden over Kevin Durant or Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan (both with Portland, how good Portland could have been).
        CBS, S.I., ESPN, Bleacher Report, etc. have mock drafts. Does Basketball Insider? I have LiAngelo Ball over Doncic, Ayton, Bagley, Sexton, and Trae Young (on ESPN Saturday. Does remind you of Steph Curry). Kidding on Ball, but LaVar has him there on his. I have him undrafted and playing Lithuania next season!

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  6. Thomas Swanson

    At the draft they said Fultz was clearly the top pick. Why? He and Lonzo need to change their shot. He and Ntilkina are going slowly. He and Fox have been injured. At the draft they said Dennis Smith may be best point guard and has been. They thought ROY would be between Simmons and Ball. Add Kuzma and Mitchell. Markenan is having good season too!

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    • Thomas Swanson

      You could add Jason Tatum and Jordan Bell, but they are 4th and 5th options, playing with so much talent.

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  7. TheMilkman

    90% total bust. 10% rough start. Another Sixer draftee that cannot shoot.

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  8. Lefty_Orioles_Fan
    Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    Colangelo saw something, he brought Fultz in for a workout and physical before the trade.
    As for me, I was a Dennis Smith, Jr. guy all the way and last year, I wanted Jamal Murray for SG
    Imagine a Murray/ Smith, Jr. backcourt!!!!
    It would have been breathtaking!

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  9. Murray Fein

    Thus article is trash and the comments are beyond foolish. Did none of you watch this kid in college? He was a terrific player with loads of potential. He can create his own shot and shoot just fine. He played very well in summer league but was hurt at the start of the season. The Sixers aren’t winning a championship this year so there’s no reason to rush him back as he rehabs. He’ll be back in Feb. Simmons was hurt last year too. How is that working out (as he runs away with the ROY trophy).

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    • Thomas Swanson

      Comment was fine until you included as he runs away with ROY award. He probably won’t play much at first until they find out if shooting is his shoulder or Fultz himself. I did watch him in college. He was getting 20 points a game until he got hurt early in season (but coach Lorenzo Romar was fired because they didn’t live up to expectations). He’s definitely a late bloomer. I like Colin Sexton, but you have to watch Trae Young!!!

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        • Thomas Swanson

          Simmons isn’t running away with ROY. Donovan Mitchell has passed him and Kyle Kuzma is even with him.

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  10. Thomas Swanson

    Found Basketball Insider mock draft. I like them. I watch a lot. I see Bagley with too much scoring under basket, so I put Ayton ahead of him. I put Doncic 3rd because of athleticism. I have Bamba later because NBA is tired of centers with no offensive games. Bridges isn’t having the year people thought he would. Jaren Jackson is a project. Hamado Diallo and Trae Young are climbing. Think Young and Sexton are better than last years point guards.

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    • Z-A

      Michael Porter Jr will be the best player of the draft. Forgotten bc of injury.

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  11. Z-A

    The correct comp is D-Wade with a better 3pt shot. Kid is Flash in the making. Coleangelo is a turd, his father and the league have dumped him on this team. Other than doing nothing in Toronto, what has he done?

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    • Thomas Swanson

      Wade was never a point guard until this season. Fultz has always been a pure point guard. Fultz problem is his sample size. No one knew who he was until after his junior year of high school. He missed most of his year at Washington with injuries. He stopped shooting 3’s and lost his shot and they don’t know if his shoulder is cause or not. If he continues to shoot poorly, they may have to shut him down and consider surgery.

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      • Z-A

        Fultz is a combo guard. But they can afford to sit him. If he’s not ready what’s the point.

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        • Thomas Swanson

          Dude! Fultz is not a combo guard. He did not play one minute at anything other than point guard at Washington or in high school or for Sixers. J.J. Redick is the shooting guard for the Sixers. The Sixers are sitting him because he can’t shoot and they don’t know why. It’s been printed nationwide since he was the first pick.

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        • Thomas Swanson

          Fultz has played 19 minutes this year. He was 5’9″ until his junior year in high school. When Fultz comes back (I’ll bet they send him to G League), if you ever see him play anything but point guard, let us know.

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          • Z-A

            You’ve never seen him play. Doubt you even watched Huskies games. He is going to be asked to play the same role D-Wade and CJ McCollum play. Combo guard with PG handle. He was the entire team for Washington. No one on that team he played on from last year will be drafted.

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  12. Thomas Swanson

    Porter is 6-10, Wade is 6-4. Before injury they were comparing him to Kevin Durant. He has same problem (back) as Joel Embiid. Anything can happen. He still wants to play this year. His dad is former NBA player coaching him and his brother at Missouri. His coach Lonzo Martin is a cancer survivor, that should help.

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  13. x%sure

    Fultz will only ever get in the way of Oconnell & Simmons. F̶u̶l̶t̶z̶ ̶s̶h̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶t̶r̶a̶d̶e̶d̶ ̶A̶S̶A̶P̶ Since Fultz is still on a rookie scale he might be a decent cheap reserve for a while.
    I wonder what another team would trade for him. I bet not much.

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  14. Thomas Swanson

    His shooting problem is worse than Lonzo’s and the Sixers don’t want to wait on him.

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