After months and months of videos showing a broken down shot and warmup footage, #1 overall pick Markelle Fultz stepped onto the court for the Sixers on Monday night. 68 games it took for Fultz and Brett Brown to feel confident with the rookie to re-enter the Sixers rotation but just like all processes with this team, it was one worth waiting for.
Fultz checked in during the first quarter and received a standing ovation from the Sixers crowd as screams of excitement filled the Wells Fargo Center. 20,000 people erupted into elation whenever Fultz tossed a dime or posted a layup, ultimately ending in a ‘SKOL’ chant mock, replacing the word with ‘FULTZ’.
The Washington product amassed 10 points, 4 boards and 8 assists. This may sound impressive, but it was actually historic. The 19-year old joined Kevin Porter as the only other player in league history to post those numbers in 15 minutes or fewer.
Ending on 5-13 shooting, Fultz demonstrated his reformed jumpshot and after a night of mixed success, began to exude confidence on the floor with fans driving him to flash all that talent that’s been kept under wraps for so long. The court-vision was just as impressive, with Fultz dishing out passes in a stylish and safe fashion.
“He looked confident,” coach Brett Brown said, according to ESPN. “I thought it was a real, sort of bold, gutsy effort that he made given where he was now where he is.”
It’s unclear whether or not Fultz will continue to see an increase in minutes with the postseason drawing close as it certainly doesn’t make sense to disrupt the chemistry or tamper with anything that could hurt the structure of the team. But allowing Fultz to get some important game experience before that period is absolutely crucial and it’s safe to say he made the most of his first opportunity to shine.
The Sixers are easily one of the most exciting teams in the league and they’ve achieved that status while the phantom Markelle Fultz situation continued to confuse the rest of the league. But now you filter in a player who is so fluid in his game and so explosive, who teams have little tape on when it comes to preparation, the Sixers have just become even more exciting. Three #1 overall picks on the court at the same time? The potential for dominance is there…and it’s only just beginning.
Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports