Despite having a very strange tenure with the Sixers, the Magic are encouraged about what he can bring to the table. President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman was extremely ecstatic about the move and said that the “sky’s the limit” as to what Fultz can do for the franchise.
“I can definitely say it’s a high reward. There’s no question that it’s a high reward,” Weltman said. “Markelle Fultz was the No. 1 pick in the draft two years ago and it wasn’t a fluke. I think the whole league had him there.
“So we believe that at 20 years old, the sky’s the limit for him. And he’s got all the ingredients, not just the physical abilities, to blossom.”
The Magic, back in action on Saturday against the Bucks (9 p.m. ET — watch on fuboTV), surrendered a first-round pick (originally from the Oklahoma City Thunder), a second-round pick and Jonathon Simmons in the deal to acquire Fultz. The former top pick is currently sidelined after he was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, which is an injury that deals with the nerves between the shoulder and neck.
Fultz, out of action since Nov. 19, was averaging just 8.2 points in 19 games this season prior to the injury. It’s been expected that Fultz will return to the court at some point this season for Orlando, but exactly when is still undetermined.
“As to the timetable, you guys have heard me say this to the point where you probably don’t want to hear me say it again, but I will anyway. We’re going to do it right. We are not going to do it fast,” Weltman said. “We look forward to getting him in here, getting our arms around him, [and] understanding everything that he’s dealing with. Getting him through that, it’s our job organizationally, from the performance directors to the coaches to all of us to put him in a position to succeed. And however long that takes, that’s how long it’ll take.”
The Fultz situation was one of the strangest that the NBA has seen in recent years. The Sixers traded the 2017 third overall pick and an additional first-rounder to the Boston Celtics in order to acquire the top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. It’s been well-documented that Fultz has barely played while Jayson Tatum has shown the potential to be a superstar with the Celtics.
“His size, his skill level, his vision, his competitiveness,” Weltman said. “This guy has the whole package. To have the physical profile of a Markelle Fultz, that big, strapping guard who can blow by you and attack the rim and can just pressure on you in all ways is something we’re all just looking for. Those are the guys who can dominate games these days.”
It’s obviously a fairly hefty price tag to give up a first-round pick for a player that hasn’t seen the floor a ton during his first two NBA seasons, However, Fultz showcased massive potential during his lone collegiate season and the Magic are hoping he can realize that success at the NBA level.