Fultz’s NBA career has been a nightmare so far with injuries and shooting troubles seeing him produce 0.6 win shares in 33 games. He has not been on the court since 19th November and Brett Brown’s last update suggested he is a long way from returning.
The upside is obviously still there, though. Fultz showed signs of his defensive ability when he was playing for the Sixers earlier this season. Orlando will hope, under Steve Clifford’s guidance, he can return to the offensive player the warranted the number one pick. He is athletic enough to be an elite defensive guard; his ceiling remains very high.
With Mohamed Bamba and Jonathan Isaac selected in the lottery in the 2018 and 2017 drafts respectively, Orlando have been desperate to add a young point guard. They have looked a good fit for Fultz ever since suggestions began he could leave Philadelphia.
It would be great for the NBA to see the best of Fultz. Heading to a smaller market, and somewhere that he can shed the number one overall tag, can only be a positive for a 20-year-old who has had a very difficult two years.
No one has been able to judge the market for Fultz. With Philadelphia going all-in with the Tobias and Jimmy Butler trades, a deal seemed inevitable before the start of next season, however.
This came out of nowhere as the deadline approached, and it’s surprising that Elton Brand did not look to acquire another role player from the Magic who could help down the stretch this season, such as Terrence Ross, instead of the Thunder pick.
The diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome is a concern for Orlando, but giving up a heavily protected pick, a second-rounder and the struggling Simmons minimises any risk.
Philadelphia might have expected more. The attention Fultz attracted whenever he stepped near Wells Fargo Center could easily have been a distraction – it’s understandable if they just wanted to move on from a challenging period for all parties. Orlando are the beneficiaries of Philadelphia’s new direction, bringing in a high-potential young guard without having to relinquish key players or draft assets.