Why the Markelle Fultz Trade Killed the Process

In the 2017 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers traded the third overall pick and a future first round to the Celtics for the first overall pick. The 76ers would then select the consensus top prospect, Markelle Fultz. Fultz would then proceed to have one of the most bizarre seasons in recent memory.

Through the first five games of the season, Fultz had 24 points. In the fifth game, Fultz was injured with a scapular muscle imbalance and was sidelined until the very end of the season. During the time that he was inactive, rumors broke out that Fultz might have a condition called the “yips.” The yips is an unexplainable loss of motor skills usually in athletes with years of experience in their sport. Fultz insisted that the rumors were false claiming that “what happened was an injury.” It is still unclear whether Fultz suffered from a physical injury or a mental injury.  

It’s safe to say that Fultz has underperformed in the short time he has been in the NBA. Fultz’s play in college has not translated to the NBA. This lackluster performance has made the 76ers question his future with the team.

 Points Per GameRebounds Per GameAssists Per Game
College23.25.75.9
NBA7.73.43.4

Because of this lack of progress, Fultz has reportedly been placed on the trade block. Many teams have been rumored to have inquired about acquiring him. Recently, the Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly offered Kyle Korver and a protected draft pick for Fultz.

With the third overall pick from the 76ers, the Boston Celtics selected a more underrated prospect, Jayson Tatum from Duke. Since his professional debut, Jayson Tatum has been one of the most consistent players on the Celtics. This season, he is averaging the 2nd most points on the team behind only Kyrie Irving.

 Points Per GameRebounds Per GameAssists Per Game
College16.87.32.1
NBA14.45.31.7

Tatum was also a catalyst for the Celtics playoff run last year on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals while the team was shorthanded due to injuries to Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. If the 76ers had drafted Tatum instead of trading their pick, their starting five could consist of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum, and JJ Redick. This could have been a team to be reckoned with and would even possibly be able to compete with the new-look Raptors for 1st in the Eastern Conference.

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