Thus far, number one overall pick Markelle Fultz’s career has been a rollercoaster ride.
After the success and jubilation of being drafted first in the 2017 NBA draft, Fultz’s season has gone on to be a polar opposite to that moment. The 19-year-old point guard only managed to play in four games off the bench for the Sixers this season before being shelved with an apparent shoulder injury he sustained at some point before the season began.
Markelle tried to play through the injury, and it showed in his shooting percentages, as Fultz only managed to shoot 33% from the field while taking almost seven shots a game, and this was after shooting 41% from deep his lone year at Washington.
There’s been a lot of footage — sometimes very ugly footage — showing Fultz trying to recalibrate his jumper all season long, and according to Philadelphia GM Bryan Colangelo, Fultz’s range only extends to the paint at this stage of his recovery.
“And during a press conference on Friday morning the team expected to be about the trade deadline, Bryan Colangelo was asked about whether Fultz’s range would be a determining factor for when he stepped on the court.
“I think he’s got to feel right, and we’ve got to feel right … Everything within a certain range, it’s beautiful,” said Colangelo. When pressed on what the range currently is, Colangelo offered a revealing answer: “It’s within the paint basically. Paint shots, perimeter shots are kind of where you draw a line. But anything instinctive going to the hole, talk about shot creation and what he’s able to do just some of the rise ups, it’s nice to see.”
That’s definitely not good news after almost five months of rehab, especially for a number one pick.
Colangelo even went as far to propose that Fultz could miss the entirety of the season, as they have no timetable for his return. Unlike teammates Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons however, Fultz managed to play in four games this season, which would eliminate him from the Rookie of the Year race next year.
With all the injuries rookies have suffered soon after being drafted by the 76ers for the past three consecutive years, whoever gets picked by them in the 2018 draft has reason to be scared.