Draft Prospect: Markelle Fultz
Draft range: 1-2
Markelle Fultz looks like the real deal. Fultz will have just turned 19 years-old when he gets drafted in June and looks to be the most NBA ready player in the draft. He has the tools to be a great player in the NBA and should be the number one overall pick in the upcoming draft.
Fultz is as NBA ready as any guard in recent draft history. He is 6'5" with a 6'10" wingspan and already filling out his already solid frame. Most 19 year-old males tend to keep growing until they are about 22 so the potential for Fultz to grow a couple inches and add to that long wingspan still exists. To go along with his above average size for the position, Fultz is also an elite athlete. He is explosive and quick.
Athletes are easy to find in the NBA. Highly skilled athletes are not. Fultz ran the point at Washington. As the lead guard Fultz averaged 23.2 points and nearly 6 assists per game. The talent around Fultz was sub-par as Washington finished 2-16 in PAC-12 play, which raises the question of how much better could his scoring as assist numbers be. Fultz also grabbed 5.7 rebounds per game, something that should translate to the NBA level.
Fultz's offensive fundamentals are solid, down to his ball handling and shooting form. As he develops these strengths Fultz can at least ensure that he will be a solid guard in the NBA, if not develop into a star player.
Fultz is young and still learning how to play basketball. This is a general issue with most freshman leaving college. The correct combination of the right situation and coaching goes a long way in a player's development. Fultz was the first option player on a bad team. Against better defenses Fultz had trouble generating the best looks and settled into bad shots. This also lead to his inconsistencies in his shooting from the field. Overall however, Fultz did shoot good percentages in the season hitting 50% of his two-point field goals and 41% of his three-point shots. The only number that stands out is his 65% free throw percentage. On the defensive end Fultz is learning how to stay focused and monitor spacing. A common problem with American players allowed to take plays off on the defensive end because of their stardom and load on the offensive end.
Keys to success:
Fultz is ready to go and just needs some coaching and then application. He would fit well on any team. If he ends up in Boston he can fix his weaknesses easily under Brad Stevens and develop slowly on a contender. In the event Fultz goes to a rebuilding situation he is definitely a building block player and could win rookie of the year.