Oooohhhhh Happy Day!
Folks the day has finally arrived, it is June 22, and hopefully you know what that means, but if not, don’t worry, keep reading and I’ll help ya through :). Today sadly marks the end of this revolutionary column, and I’d just like to say thank you for your support, it’s been a hell of a ride. Be sure to tune in tonight at 7 on ESPN for the actual draft, but for now let’s analyze the presumptive and anticlimactic first overall pick, Markelle Fultz.
We All Knew This Was Coming
Doesn’t make the draft any less fun to watch in my opinion, especially since the past week has been a downright frenzy and has me all rattled and trying to #staywoke.
Fultz is a special kind of point guard. At 6’3″ with a 6’9″ wingspan, Fultz is long and lean. He can score from absolutely anywhere on the court, and with a variety of different moves. Off of the dribble hesitation his jump shot is deadly, his spin move easily put college defenders in blenders, and can catch and shoot, not to mention his skill absorbing contact on his way to the rim and finishing. He is great at using his size as an advantage over other guards, which will probably be less of an advantage at the NBA level given the size/defensive intensity difference in the pros, and that will be an interesting thing to watch him adjust to in the pros. Regardless, the kid is known for putting the ball in the hoop. Another upside for Markelle related to his size is his potential on defense. While he phoned it in rather hard at times with the Huskies, he has the physical tools to contain opposing backcourt players, has big and active feet and hands which should allow him to move side to side on the perimeter or stay straight up if being backed down. He led the PAC-12 in PER, points per game, and points produced per game.
Markelle Fultz: 23.2/5.7/5.9/1.6/1.2, 50.2% from two, 41.3% from three, 55.8% true shooting percentage, 35.5 assist percentage, 3.8 win shares, and a 9.1 box plus/minus on a 31.4% usage rate.
Granted, these numbers came as a result of Fultz being the best player and go to guy by a 100000 mile long margin, but still. Those numbers pop. The encouraging thing for Fultz, especially after the Philly-Boston trade, is that he won’t be tasked as the go to guy for them, but he will still assumedly start and immediately get minutes. He can play of Simmons who will most likely stay as their de facto point guard, while also giving the sixers another facilitator (his 35.5 assist percentage led the PAC-12 last season).
One of the biggest knocks against Fultz was his intensity in college. People pointed to his non-vocal style and the lack of team success at Washington. These concerns about intensity are warranted, you can see in the tapes that he takes possessions of but not the ones about him not being able to win are not. I realize high school is somewhat irrelevant in the NBA but considering Fultz is a 1 and done player, we don’t have much else to evaluate. His high school team, Dematha High, went 33 and 5 his senior season. Again, winning in high school does not at all translate to winning in college or the NBA, but it still shows that Fultz is capable of winning at some level.
Still, Fultz does not have the intensity level that all-time greats have, or the GOAT has, and he is projected and has proclaimed he could be the best ever. For a player held this highly the intensity level should be a bit of a flag, he can appear casual at times.
Well, that’s all she wrote for this column. Stay tuned later this evening for more draft coverage, and be sure to check in on twitter for some live tweeting/takes during the draft. Thanks everyone!
All stats courtesy of sports-reference college basketball