It’s over. Finally.
Thirty-three total regular season games.
255 total points.
That’s what the Philadelphia 76ers got out of Markelle Fultz. Drafted first overall in the 2017 NBA draft and less than two years later, he’s traded for a depth guard and two picks that don’t really add up to anything special. This is the guy that former GM and Twitter aficionado Bryan Colangelo traded two first round picks to get. Giving away a good first round pick from the Sacramento Kings along with the #3 pick in that draft in order to move up two posts and select Fultz first overall.
He’s the guy that apparently missed most of his shots at his workout and the team brass said to pass on but Colangelo, in all of his self-absorbed genius, decided was best to draft, knowing that the guy played point guard and we just happened to have the future of the position, Ben Simmons, ready to play and dominate.
Elton Brand, after becoming the GM, needed to make some moves in order to make the team his and get them moving toward the future. He’s done that very well. He’s traded for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to give the Sixers one of the most formidable starting lineups in the league. He’s picked up some depth pieces in Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott, and James Ennis. The real key was being able to find someone that was willing to take a gamble on the potential of Fultz, despite the injuries, mental issues, agent/family interference and virtual lack of playing. The Orlando Magic stepped with the time and pieces to take him off Brand’s hands. Getting a depth player like Jonathon Simmons could help with defense on the second unit but, he also picked up a late first round pick from OKC as well as a Cavaliers’ second rounder. Not a bad haul for a guy that has absolutely zero value to the team right now.
In the long run, Fultz may be able to get back on track and become the player that everyone envisioned after his lone season of college basketball. He could also go the way of Kwame Brown and Greg Oden. Only time will tell. One thing that is certain is that he’s no longer the problem for the Sixers, their management, the team, nor its fans.
The Sixers can move on with a truly deadly starting five and an improved bench. They can look forward to advancing past the second round of the playoffs. They can look forward to re-signing Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris in the off-season. They can look forward to the long-term success that the “process” was supposed to lead to. They can do this, simply, because they were able to get rid of the one issue that constantly seemed to follow them around, Markelle Fultz.
Elton Brand needed to close the door on the chapter of Bryan Colangelo for this team and today he shut it, locked it, threw away the key, then welded a steel plate over it. He’s made it his team and has shown the team, it’s fans and the NBA that he’s qualified to be the GM that will lead this team, successfully, into the future.
Cheers to Elton Brand for adding to this team by subtracting it’s biggest headache.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports