Going from a No. 1 overall pick on a team with legitimate NBA Finals aspirations to one scrapping for the chance to get swept in the first round felt like just the right amount of pressure that Markelle Fultz’s flimsy shoulder could bear to hold. Unfortunately, a month after the trade that sent him from the Sixers (and Jimmy Butler’s scowls) to the Magic (and the sunshine of lowered expectations), it seems that the weight of being an NBA player playing actual NBA minutes won’t be Fultz’s to lift until next season.
As the Magic were set to face the Sixers in Philadelphia, Orlando coach Steve Clifford was asked by SiriusXM Radio about his delicate asset the way one might ask about a piece of art slowly being restored back to life. His answer will leave all three of the remaining Fultz bandwagoners overcome with existential sadness:
He’s still rehabbing his shoulder and he’s not even able to really do much on the floor yet. It’s a pretty significant shoulder injury.
I would say he’s starting to do a little bit, but it would be very difficult for him to get back this year.
Fultz has been rehabbing his shoulder in Los Angeles pretty much exclusively since being shipped away from the Philadelphia pressure cooker, according to ESPN, and it appears that he will enjoy a West Coast state of mind for the foreseeable future.
At least his old coach, Philadelphia’s Brett Brown, had some empty praise for his former theoretical player, one that is no longer his problem:
First and foremost, elite person, really just a good human being. Two, a point guard. Thinks like a point guard, speaks like a point guard and he’s a point guard by nature.
Consider yourself released from worrying about Markelle Fultz until next season, at which point you will hopefully see him in a SportsCenter highlight and say to yourself, “Oh yeah, he plays for the Magic now!”