What Does the Future Hold for Markelle Fultz? | Crossover Podcast

Recent video of Markelle Fultz's jumpshot paints a different picture than what we've seen in the past. Has the Magic guard truly overhauled his jumpshot and set himself on a course that will get his career back on track? Chris Mannix discusses on the latest Crossover podcast. 

Chris Mannix: Let's talk about a few of the bigger topics of this past week. Markelle Fultz has played in just 33 games since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2017. He averaged 7.7 points and made a total of four three pointers during that span. 

Dan Woike: Oh, amazing that you're doing this off the top of your head. It is it's quite incredible to see it in person. 

CM: Markelle Fultz have been battling some combination of confidence or injury issues. The Magic, they believe that is enough to guarantee Fultz and his $12.3 million salary for 2020 and 2021. What do you think of the Magic's decision to to buy into Fultz for at least two more years?

DW: I think for them it's a no brainer in the sense that you have to kind of view that $12 million against what they could use that $12 million on in the market. The ceiling for a player like Markelle Fultz is so much higher than anybody they could spend that money on, at least with the way the roster is constructed now. This isn't the go get Tracy McGrady, go get Grant Hill era. It doesn't feel like it's that Orlando Magic, right? They feel like they're on a different tier in terms of destinations.

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That being said, if he's good it's going to matter for this team. They're in sort of that could they be the fourth, maybe fifth best team in the East? It seems like they're sort of in that range and they can be pretty frisky. I think you try to give yourself as much time as you can and you don't want to be the team that invested a year in him, let him go because you don't believe in his option and then watch him go succeed somewhere else. If he's just on your bench in a jacket and sneakers for 70 games a season then so be it. It's a two year. You're locked in for two years and you've tried to get everything out of it. I don't know what you think. 

CM: Yeah, I agree with you. I mean, the Magic, as Bobby Marks at ESPN pointed out, are over the cap in 2020 and 2021 so there's no real harm done outside some money out of your pocket. They did make a reasonable investment. They traded a protected first-round pick and Jonathon Simmons to go and get him out of Philadelphia, and it's not like they have great depth at their point guard position. I mean, D.J. Augustine is there, Michael Carter-Williams, but that's it.

So you know, if it's just money, why not roll the dice? We don't have any indication that Markelle Fultz is anything different.

DW: He's still a functional rookie in so many ways.

CM: Agreed, but my point is we're in the era of the offseason highlight videos on Instagram, right?

DW: I was one of 8,000 last night watching Markelle's reworked jump shot. 

CM: Yeah, we haven't seen a ton of Markelle Fultz, though all offseason. It hasn't been like a market flooded with here's him with his new trainer, him doing that. It's been relatively quiet when it comes to him. 

DW: Maybe he was waiting on that option before he got the Antonio Brown people filming. No, I did watch one of the workout videos, which was just a tremendous waste of time, watching a guy go one on zero in a crowded gym. He made shots on the video. He looked comfortable and looked like the way he shot it in Washington. But I mean he wasn't Jimmy Chitwood at Washington either, right? He was a streaky shooter, a guy who was probably more of a tough shot maker than a actual good shooter, and he's behind.

This should be offseason three here for him as a pro. This would be a time when ideally he's becoming a 35 to 37% three point shooter, where he's figured out kind of what it takes to play point guard in the NBA. And he might have done some of that from watching. but that's why I mean like when he's like essentially like a functional rookie in this way. I mean he's so inexperienced. He's been through a lot mentally if he comes out of it I think he'll be stronger for it, but that's a lot of time to miss basketball wise. There aren't a lot of really positive stories about guys who lose two years of their career and come out of it and look great. I couldn't think of anybody.

CM: Here's why I have some confidence that he can come out of this as a solid NBA player: first, he's no longer the No. 1 pick. In Philly he was always going to be the No. 1 pick. He go to Orlando and they don't give up too much to get him, it's top-20 protected sure it's like a pretty low risk. So the pressure is not there, and it's Orlando. Yes, they're expected to be pretty good but there's not this type of national media pressure. It's not a major market when it comes to the NBA. He's going to have the freedom to kind of breathe a little bit down there as a player.

And most importantly, I think he's worked with the right coach. Ask Kemba Walker about the influence Steve Clifford had on him. Kemba Walker will be the first to tell you that Steve Clifford put him in good positions, showed him how to become an All-NBA type of player and it paid off. I think Steve Clifford is the exact guy that Markelle Fultz needs right now. There may be some tough love shown to Markelle Fultz, but I think there's going to be enough to get him back on track.

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