Sixers deal former number one overall pick Markelle Fultz to Orlando

February 7, 2019

The strange saga of former number one overall pick Markelle Fultz took another intriguing turn, as the Philadelphia 76ers abandoned ship on their former point guard of the future, trading him to the Orlando Magic in exchange for forward Jonathon Simmons, a protected 2020 first round draft pick, and a 2019 second round draft pick.

Fultz has battled shoulder problems and above-the-shoulders problems, as the continuously changing form on his shot has given him a case of the yips during the entirety of his professional career.  The Magic are hoping that improved health and a change of scenery might one day allow Fultz to recapture his game.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Markelle (Fultz) to the Magic family,” said Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman. “This is an incredible opportunity for us to add a former number overall draft pick to our roster and to add depth to our backcourt. We will provide Markelle with the best possible support at his own pace and look forward to his future contributions.”

For Philly, the move is a case of addition by subtraction, as Fultz's loss of confidence and minimal contribution could have become a distraction for a team that is now all-in on its chase for a title.

Fultz (#20, 6’4”, 200) has played in 19 games (15 starts) this season with Philadelphia, averaging 8.2 ppg., 3.7 rpg. and 3.1 apg. in 22.5 minpg. As a starter, he is averaging 9.0 ppg., 3.8 rpg. and 3.5 apg. in 24.3 minpg. Originally selected by Philadelphia with the first overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, Fultz has appeared in 33 career games (15 starts), all with the Sixers, averaging 7.7 ppg., 3.4 rpg. and 3.4 apg. in 20.6 minpg.

During his freshman season at the University of Washington (2016-17), Fultz played in 25 games with the Huskies, averaging 23.2 ppg., 5.9 apg., 5.7 rpg. and 1.60 stlpg. in 35.7 minpg., while shooting .413 (52-126) from three-point range. Fultz was the only player in the country to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. He set the Huskies freshman scoring record with 579 points. Fultz led all NCAA Division I freshmen and all Pac-12 players in scoring, while ranking sixth overall in the nation. He was named Third Team All-America by both the Associated Press and the NABC, and earned All-Pac 12 First Team honors.

Simmons (6’6”, 195) has appeared in 41 games (nine starts) this season with Orlando, averaging 6.9 ppg., 2.4 rpg. and 2.3 apg. in 20.6 minpg. He was originally signed as a free agent by the Magic on Jul. 15, 2017 and played in 110 games (59 starts) with Orlando, averaging 11.3 ppg., 3.1 rpg. and 2.4 apg. in 26.1 minpg. Undrafted by an NBA franchise, Simmons has appeared in 243 career NBA regular season games (69 starts) with San Antonio and Orlando, averaging 8.5 ppg., 2.4 rpg. and 1.9 apg. in 20.9 minpg.

By Staff of and news services

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