NBA Draft Profile: Markelle Fultz
Key Stats: 23.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 5.9 APG
Measurables: 6’4, 195 pounds
Strengths: Markelle Fultz bursted onto the scene as a no name player out of DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. At 6’4, Markelle Fultz is the prototypical combo guard in today’s NBA, with an elite scoring repertoire that includes stepbacks , floaters, runners , and an elite layup package his skillset is tailor made for today’s NBA. Offensively, there is no weakness in his game, the only concern I would have is he made a lot of contested shots in college, one has to ask is that due to great shot making or is it the inability to really separate from defenders, I would like to think it is the former but only time will tell. His greatest strength though is his offensive versatility, you can play him at point guard and he has an elite feel at running the pick and roll, which is pivotal for the new era of pace and space. If you play him at the 2 spot he has shown the ability to knock down shots and attack aggressive closeouts. What I love about him the most is his work ethic, having been cut from the varsity team as a sophomore, he showed determination to go from a non- factor from the high school ranks to the potential number 1 pick in this year’s draft. Ideally he should start off his NBA career playing the point guard position as that is the position he played the most in college and high school, but look for NBA coaches utilizing his size and length across the NBA perimeter positions.
For weaknesses we can only guess as to what they really are due to the fact he played on a really bad team in Washington. Leadership is a question mark any scout would have but all sources point to him being fine in that department you don’t hear any negative stories like we heard with Ben Simmons and it seems he has a nice grounded group around him. As with most freshman consistency on shooting the outside shot comes with reps in and out of practice and game time situations so I think in that regard he will be fine. His great shot making ability fools him into thinking he can make a contested layup at the rim rather than kicking the ball out for an open shot or drive for a teammate but once again that comes with time and experience. Defensively the fact that he was relied upon so much for a subpar team at Washington really hinders our ability to grade him out as an elite defender, however, watching him during his AAU days and USA experience you see a smart defender that is not overwhelming physically but always seems to be in the right spot.
Best Team Fit:
Any team looking for a point guard or shooting guard will be clamoring for this prospect. For him if he wants to enjoy winning and competing at the highest level the Boston Celtics will be the perfect situation for him (quick side note: if Boston gets the number 1 pick look for them to draft Fultz and potentially package a deal to get their superstar this summer). The next option would be for him creating his own legacy and to be honest a team like New York with Carmelo Anthony on the way out would be wise to pray to the ping pong ball odds to pair him with Porzingis. Last but not least the Sixers would be in playoff contention immediately with a trio of Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid.
NBA Player Comparison:
When I see Markelle Fultz I see a complete offensive guard, he can shoot, drive, and create for his teammates and makes it look easy at that. He fits the current mold of the scoring point guard at the next level. However, when I see him I see a mirror image of James Harden which is a 2 guard disguising as a point guard. At worst case you will have a solid scorer at the point guard spot that can move over to the 2 if needed in a pinch (i.e. CJ McCollum), which makes him a very safe pick in the 1-3 range in this draft.