A Look at Markelle Fultz to Orlando
One of the most bizarre stories over the last two seasons has been the 2017 number one pick Markelle Fultz. Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, the expectations were that he would form a young big 3 along with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. On paper, his skillset looked like a perfect fit with the other two, hopefully becoming the final piece to the 76ers’ championship puzzle and validating the years of suffering that was the Process. A broken jumper, whether from injury or from the “yips”, made Fultz almost unplayable alongside Embiid and Simmons, the later of which needs to play with as many floor spacers as possible. The 76ers have championship aspirations now so they’ve decided to move on from Fultz and salvage whatever trade value he was still worth.
For the Orlando Magic, the best way to describe their last decade would be either “NBA purgatory” or “the treadmill of sub mediocrity.” The Magic have consistently finished in the 10-12 range in the East, not good enough to make the playoffs but not bad enough to get a get a high draft pick and a foundational talent.
This trade sends Markelle Fultz to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Jonathon Simmons, a first-round pick (via the Oklahoma City Thunder) and a second-round pick (via the Cavaliers).
For the 76ers, this trade was about getting something positive back for Fultz. He’s long fallen out of their rotation while still making around 8 million per year on his rookie contract. With the moves they’ve made this year to acquire Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, the 76ers were low on assets and no longer had the time to see if Fultz could turn things around. Jonathon Simmons is not expected to play much in the rotation, so the real prizes in this trade for the 76ers are the draft picks.
For the Magic, this trade gets them something they haven’t had in years, a player with number one potential. Expectations for Fultz will be very minimal in Orlando, which will hopefully lessen the pressure to immediately succeed, as was the case in Philadelphia. In addition, Fultz is currently recovering from surgery to repair what is called thoracic outlet syndrome, which they believe has been the physical source for the problems with his jumpshot. If Fultz does comeback healthy and able to perform up to his number 1 potential, this trade could end up being a steal for the Magic.