The story of Markelle Fultz is the most peculiar thing I have seen happen with a top draft pick. We have seen mega busts before. Kwame Brown and Anthony Bennett come to mind as some of the worst number one overall picks in terms of talent. Then you have players like Greg Oden, whose potential was robbed from him because of numerous injuries. Nonetheless, Markelle Fultz takes the cake for strangest start to their NBA career.
Whether it was a misdiagnosis or an accident we do not know about, Fultz’s shoulder injury has made him the laughing stock of the sports world. Even Amari Cooper provided some comedy on Thanksgiving with his imitation of Fultz’s most recent free throw form during his touchdown celebration.
At least Fultz could take it as a joke himself. He took to social media to acknowledge and laugh at Cooper’s act. That’s the kind of lightheartedness he is going to need if he is ever going to come out of this obscure shooting slumping.
Most recently, Fultz’s lawyer released a statement saying that Fultz will be seeing a shoulder specialist and will not be participating in practices or games until he is evaluated.
At the direction of his attorney, Raymond Brothers, @MarkelleF is scheduled to see a shoulder specialist early next week. Per Brothers, Fultz will not participate in team practices or games until after the the specialist has had a chance to evaluate him.
— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) November 20, 2018
Other reports have suggested the 76ers do not have Fultz in their future plans and are open to dealing him.
With that in mind, that led Kevin Arnovitz on ESPN’s “The Jump” to say this,
.@kevinarnovitz seems to think Markelle could be a fit for the Hawks. Thoughts?https://t.co/PwnW1OLUvb
— SportsTalkATL.com (@SportsTalkATL) November 27, 2018
Arnovitz points out the obvious: The Hawks are not trying to win anytime soon, which will take most of the pressure of being the #1 overall pick off of his shoulders, especially a #1 pick in the city of Philadelphia. Their fans are not exactly afraid to speak their minds, and Fultz could have easily been Jayson Tatum, who knocked the Sixers out of the playoffs last year.
A potential backcourt of Trae Young and Markelle Fultz could be special, and let’s be real, Philadelphia cannot reasonably expect too much in return. Atlanta is a team with a stockpile of picks. What would it hurt to invest pennies into a player who averaged 23.2 points and 5.9 assists per game just two years ago as a freshman in college? Like Arnovitz mentions, the Hawks have at least four years to let this play out and have assembled a staff that is all about player development.
Philadelphia has placed their foot on the gas by trading for Jimmy Butler a couple of weeks ago. That will only make it harder for Fultz to see the floor when he finally decides to return to the team. A future in Philly looks highly unlikely. If there’s a place where Fultz can turn it around, Atlanta seems like one of his best options.