Shortly after producing three of the finest albums in popular music history in July 1966, Bob Dylan was involved in a motorbike accident. For the next eight years after the accident, he didn’t go on tour, and aside from the Basement Tapes, he put out significantly less music than in the previous four years.
Worse, the music he did release during this time was inconsistently good and never lived up to his earlier work. The loss of his inspiration hit him hard, and three years after the success of Blood on the Tracks, in an interview Dylan reflected on the experience, saying, “It took me a long time to learn to do consciously what I used to be able to do unconsciously.”
Fans have had to make do with shaky footage captured by a beat reporter or more stylized snippets cobbled together by a team’s social media manager for the better part of a year to see Markelle Fultz play in actual basketball games that matter.
Even if it’s folly to make too much of what one sees so early in the season, in this case, even seeing Fultz on the court is enough, as he has appeared in all three of the Orlando Magic’s games so far.
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Most Fans No Longer View Him as a Future Superstar.
Even though Fultz was the first selection in the draught less than two years ago, most fans no longer view him as a future superstar. He was picked with the hope that he would become the centrepiece of the team and a real difference maker.
From here on out, we’ll judge the outcome to have been satisfactory if he can merely perform as a competent point guard and dependable starter. Believers need only watch highlights from his time in Philadelphia and his first few games with Orlando to understand why he was so highly regarded by so many clubs two seasons ago.
For both himself and his teammates, he consistently produces high-caliber looks thanks to his exceptional “feel” for the game. What he must now conquer is a want to overdo everything, as if to prove he is still capable of future greatness.
He had Played More than 36 NBA Games
As a result, he seems to make bad passes and take bad shots in a futile attempt to spark some action, averaging 11.3 shots per game but playing only 24.7 minutes every night. If he had played more than 36 NBA games, there would be cause for concern, but as it stands, he is still being given a pass. That slope, though, will gradually disappear this year as he will likely play more minutes and more consistently than ever before.
It’s good news for Fultz that he has multiple factors on his side this season that weren’t present in Philadelphia. There is more room for error for him with the Magic than with the Sixers this season because they are not competing for a title. It would be considered a success for the Magic if they merely returned to the playoffs, a quest that should be only somewhat difficult in the East.
The Point Guard Position is not Particularly Strong in Orlando.
They started the solid but boring D.J. Augustin at point guard last season. The sheer prospect of what Fultz could become is enough to convince Steve Clifford to give Fultz more of Augustin’s minutes, if not make him the starter, if Fultz begins to show promise.
Fultz has even less competition for playing time than Augustin does because Michael Carter-Williams is shifting to more of a wing role this upcoming season. When compared to the beginning of last season, when Brett Brown was juggling the growth of Fultz, Ben Simmons, and T.J. McConnell—all worthy of playing time at point guard but not always getting along with Fultz—will be a welcome difference.
On the overall, Fultz has been impressive in his limited role off the bench this season. He’s only shooting 47.1 percent from the field, but he’s making nearly a third of his shots (and 75 percent of them) near the basket because to his uncanny knack for identifying open spots in the defence.
The lost sense of optimism from Philadelphia looks to have been restored. Despite his 3-for-13 shooting performance from deep through the first three games, it is promising to see that he is not afraid to shoot jumpers and appears to believe that it is only a matter of time before they start falling for him as they did at Washington.
In addition to his impressive skill set, Fultz possesses a remarkable feel for the game and has already demonstrated why he was regarded as a premier playmaker coming out of college. These first few games have shown flashes of the star he was originally anticipated to be, but he still has a long way to go and much to prove before supporters can really believe he is a reliable player.
Fultz has only been in the professional league for a year. He hasn’t even started what could be his prime yet, so hopefully this weird beginning to his career will be nothing more than an odd aside in a long list of accomplishments not too distant in the future.
One can always find a team prepared to take a chance on a prospect in the hopes that they will be the one to unlock the player’s full potential. It’s why players like Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley keep getting signed by NBA teams despite having little to show for their time in the league.