Markelle Fultz Biography
Markelle Fultz ( full name: Markelle N’Gai Fultz) is an American professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
He played college basketball for the Washington Huskies before joining the NBA. Termed the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft, Fultz—at point guard and shooting guard—played one season for an underperforming Washington team in 2016. Fultz was selected to the third-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 during that period. He entered the draft the following year and was selected first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Markelle Fultz Age
Markelle Fultz is 20 years old as of 2018. He was born on 29 May 1998 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, United States.
Markelle Fultz Family
Fultz was born in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, a community about 23 miles (37 km) from Annapolis, the youngest of two children; his father abandoned the family and he relied heavily on his mother, Ebony.Excitable and impassioned by basketball, in his early years Fultz was mentored by local instructor Keith Williams.
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Markelle Fultz Professional Career
Fultz was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers, as the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft; they finalized his four-year rookie contract on July 8. The 76ers, after years of obscurity, had lofty expectations entering the season: with a core consisting of Fultz, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons, they had a potential for a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. In his first regular season game, on October 18, Fultz posted 10 points, three rebounds, and an assist in 18 minutes of play coming off the bench. However, a shoulder injury—termed a “scapular muscle imbalance”—hindered Fultz’s shooting early in the season to such a degree that he posted only a 33% field goal percentage (FG%) and did not attempt a single three-pointer in four games; the 76ers decided to sit him indefinitely until he recovered. Debate ensued between sports analysts and the organization regarding how much of his shooting woes were physical versus mental. Fultz himself later clarified: “What happened was an injury. Let me get that straight. It was an injury that happened that didn’t allow me to go through the certain paths that I needed to, to shoot the ball.”
During his absence, Fultz’s shooting mechanics, altered by a trainer outside the 76ers organization months before the season, and lengthy recovery time was heavily scrutinized. The team’s president of basketball operations, Bryan Colangelo, suggested that the rookie might not play again during the season, but on March 26, 2018, it was announced that Fultz would return for a game against the Denver Nuggets. Despite some missteps, including an air-ball and shots blocked, Fultz posted 10 points and eight assists in 14 minutes of playing time. On April 11, at 19 years old, he became the youngest NBA player to record a triple-double, breaking the mark previously set by fellow rookie Lonzo Ball earlier that season.
For the 2018–19 season, head coach Brett Brown named Fultz the starting shooting guard over veteran JJ Redick. Fifteen games into the season, however, Fultz lost the position to Jimmy Butler, whom the 76ers acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Conflicting statements regarding Fultz’s health and poor production continued to be sources of conflict and drama for the team. On November 20, 2018, his agent Raymond Brothers announced Fultz would not participate in practice or games until a shoulder injury was evaluated; his ailment was later clarified as thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), the neurogenic type of the disorder which “affects nerves between the neck and shoulder resulting in abnormal functional movement and range of motion, thus severely limiting Markelle’s ability to shoot a basketball”. On February 7, 2019, Fultz was traded to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Jonathon Simmons and two draft picks.
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Can Embattled No. 1 Pick Markelle Fultz Save His Career in Orlando?
Published: February 8, 2019
It’s usually alien-like length that catches the eyes of President Jeff Weltman and general manager John Hammond. This time, the two are trying their luck at unearthing star power in the almost forgotten collegiate scoring machine Markelle Fultz.
“Markelle Fultz was the No. 1 pick in the draft two years ago,” Weltman said. “It wasn’t a fluke. The whole league had him there.”
Magic fans have been more than patient in awaiting their star point guard. After shipping out Elfrid Payton at the deadline last season, Orlando passed on opportunities to pick up Isaiah Thomas, Seth Curry, Shabazz Napier, and Tim Frazier, as well as draft or deal for fellow 2017 draftmates Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina.
They gazed longingly at Trae Young from afar, only to see Atlanta ask him to dance first in a deal facilitated by Dallas for Luka Doncic.
Though the Magic only packaged an expiring wing shooting under 37 percent from the field (Jonathon Simmons), the Thunder’s 2020 first-round pick (top-20 protected) and the Cavaliers’ 2019 second-round pick, the move doesn’t come without risk.
“Stan [Van Gundy] used to say when you start trading away pretty good players, a lot of times you can make yourself a lot worse,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “And I think that happens a lot at trade deadlines. You watch a guy, and there’s something about him you don’t like, and you trade him. And then you say, ‘Oh st.’ A lot of times, the best trades are the ones you never make.”
Picks like the one the Magic just gave away (via OKC) turned into several intriguing prospects in the 2018 draft.
Nos. 21-23? Grayson Allen, Chandler Hutchison and Aaron Holiday, with Josh Okogie going one pick sooner at No. 20.
The 76ers are the clearest indication of what expectation can do to a young player like Fultz. After all, it was just over a year-and-a-half ago that he was perceived as the brightest star in a draft class made up of Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox, Lonzo Ball, Jonathan Isaac, Lauri Markkanen and Kyle Kuzma.
The 76ers invested a lot in the young scoring guard, combining their third overall pick (which became Tatum) with a future first-rounder and end up walking away with what amounts to two early second-round picks. In the past year, fans watched more footage of head-scratching shooting drills and universally mocked free-throw attempts than meaningful basketball minutes.
Fultz and shooting coach Drew Hanlen also discontinued their relationship.
“Honestly, I don’t know where to start,” one NBA executive told Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report in October 2017. “This is mind-boggling. Who in the world told him to do anything like that? In college, he just shot 65 percent [on free throws]. It needed minor adjustments. This new thing is crazy, and a few weeks ago, he had an entirely different technique. Why change every time for the worse?”
On his podcast, JJ Redick lamented the lost opportunity for Fultz to grow and said the following at a media-attended shootaround in February 2018: “The kid’s f–king 19, man. Holy st. Y’all are sick.”
Fultz has since been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome (an injury that affects the shoulder). President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman feels the Magic are uniquely suited to manage the situation, and he preached patience several times Thursday.
“As for the timetable, we’re going to do it right; we’re not going to do it fast,” Weltman said. “It’s our job organizationally to put him in a position to succeed. However long that takes, that’s how long it’ll take.”
Greener pastures could still be ahead for Fultz, who finds himself outside of the northeastern spotlight in a quieter city with minimal expectations this season and beyond. The Orlando fanbase is more likely to be wearing Mickey ears than giant foam fingers.
Besides, Fultz doesn’t have to step in and command the offense overnight. That job belongs to D.J. Augustin, who still has one year remaining on his four-year contract and has performed above expectations this season.
Augustin has continued his deft touch from the perimeter, sinking 42.8 percent of his three-point attempts this season. His presence on the floor has been critical to the Magic, as his second to only All-Star Nikola Vucevic in plus/minus. Augustin pilots the misleading 26th-rated offense with aplomb, making the unit 10 points better per 100 possessions when he’s on the court (would be 12th in the NBA).
As effective as the offense has been with Augustin, Aaron Gordon and Vucevic on the floor, it’s been a five-car pileup once they sit.
They packaged two second-round picks to acquire Jerian Grant, who has been a disaster offensively, sinking the group’s second unit at a rate of 8.3 points per 100 possessions. His lack of playmaking skill has corresponded to the slowed development of Mo Bamba (who is now out with a stress fracture in his leg). When the two shared the court, the Magic were a wretch-inducing minus-13.6 per 100 possessions. Blah!
The lack of playmaking in the second unit has resulted in some big-time collapses this season. In fact, the Magic have lost eight games when leading by 15 points or more, worst in the league.
Simmons even took the reins of signal-caller because of Grant’s struggles, but injuries and inconsistency torpedoed him in his contract season.
“Every time he [Simmons] starts getting back into a rhythm, he gets these four- or five-game things that have hurt him,” Clifford said. “Look at his range shooting. Last year he was 33 percent, and this year he hasn’t been able to shoot the ball well.”
Clifford knows the importance of taking a chance on a player like Fultz, but he also lamented moving on from Simmons: “It’s not like he hasn’t worked at it. He’s been in here. I think it’s difficult when you miss a whole offseason like that.”
However, the lack of one-on-one playmaking talent hasn’t gone unnoticed. When asked about the importance of superstar playmaking abilities like those of Russell Westbrook and Paul George, Clifford said, “You have to have ways to get to the ball and have guys who can make quick, simple plays to take advantage of it.”
He continued: “Would it be easier to have a guy you can just give the ball to? Absolutely. Or a superstar? Absolutely.”
Those playmaking traits are what made Fultz the No. 1 pick two years ago. At Washington, he averaged 23.2 points per game to lead all freshmen and did it on 47.6 percent shooting from the field and 41.3 percent from three.
Weltman said: “His skill level, his vision, his competitiveness—this guy has the whole package. In today’s NBA, to have a physical profile of Markelle Fultz is something that we’re all looking for. Those are the kind of guys that can dominate games these days.”
Scouts said the following of Fultz in August 2017, per Wasserman:
Scout No. 1: “Offensive skill set is very good. Able to get you a shot if need be late in the clock or early on, and he has to create an ability that is undervalued.”
Scout No. 2: “He’s an underrated playmaker because his teammates at Washington didn’t finish a lot of his passes. Versatile enough to play off the ball, too. Reminds me of Dwyane Wade.”
Scout No. 3: “His environment will be crucial in his development, and it seems to me the Sixers are counting on a lot of question marks.”
This is what Magic fans will dream about. The Magic have drifted through mediocrity for six consecutive seasons without a playoff berth. With a mishmash of veteran talent and developing players, it’s hard to know just what direction they’re heading in.
Fultz could answer that question. If he can realize even 75 percent of his potential and combine it with the endless rim protection and defense of Isaac, Gordon, and Bamba, this “Core Four” could give the Magic one of the most interesting young groups in the NBA.
“I think he’s a 20-year-old player with tremendous potential, and I feel confident in saying the league looks at him that way, not just us,” Weltman gushed.
Fultz probably won’t create much noise in the Amway Center during the 2018-19 season, but forget this campaign. Orlando is the perfect place to provide him with the room and development he needs to realize his franchise-altering potential.
If Weltman, Clifford, and Orlando can indeed practice patience and rediscover the player who once set the basketball world on fire, the Magic and Fultz may walk off into the sunset winners of one of the most surprising trades of 2019.