Prospect Profile: Markelle Fultz

The Washington freshman can almost do it all, even if his team can’t.

At the beginning of this basketball season, I decided to scout players in the 2017 NBA draft class as a hobby. My goal is to take 5 to 10 of those players and post more in depth blogs on them. These are just my thoughts. I hope you enjoy them.

Markelle Fultz: Point Guard, Washington

  • Height: 6'4" Wingspan: 6'10" Weight: 195 lbs.
  • Great athlete, great scorer, good vision.
  • Will he play defense?

Fultz is considered by most to be the best player in this class, and I agree. He can do so many things from the point guard spot. He’s averaging 23 points per game on a bad Washington team. That is good for 4th in the country, and leads all freshman. Then he adds 6 assists, and 6 rebounds per game to that resume. Oh, and he’s just 18 years old. He didn’t even start playing varsity basketball until he was a junior in high school.

Fultz is creative, and can get his shot from seemingly anywhere. Here, against Oregon, he hits a step back three. The defender gets through the screen, and stays close. Fultz takes the contact and creates space with the step back. That’s an NBA shot.

He can also finish in the lane. In the NBA, he won’t always be able to get to the rim. Developing a mid range pull up, and/or floater game will be important. At Washington though, he requires so much attention. Here, you’ll see him draw a big, so he attacks. He goes into the body of the shot blocker, and draws the help defender. Instead of putting up a shot, he dumps it off for an easy dunk.

The freshman’s ability to score is clear. He’s shooting 47.9% from the field. The question mark coming into the season was his outside shooting. He’s seemed to answer that, and is up to 42.1% from three.

Defense from Fultz is something to watch for the rest of the season. Washington as a team is horrible defensively. They rank 250th according to KenPom in adjusted defensive efficiency. Fultz doesn’t help that problem. As I heard one scout put it “he seems to float through games at times.” That can show on the defensive end. It’s almost as if he loses interest in playing on a bad team.

All in all, Fultz is a game changer. A clear number one pick kind of player. He’s explosive and he almost glides in transition. He can go get you buckets from the point guard spot, which is the way of today’s NBA. Put him in a ball screen with NBA spacing, and he’ll make things happen.

Like Ben Simmons last year, he is somewhat hidden because he plays on a bad team that will miss the tournament. In addition, Washington plays on the West Coast, so many people probably haven’t seen him play. But make no mistake, he is a game changer that, will boost whichever franchise calls his name. Then, we’ll see him doing things like this in the NBA.

Thanks for reading. Pardon any missed typos.
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