Considering he was nearly a consensus No. 1 overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft, it almost seems as if Markelle Fultz is flying under the radar. Obviously, there has been some level of buzz surrounding the former Washington star but, after Summer League explosions from Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith and Jayson Tatum, Fultz hasn’t been the centerpiece of the NBA offseason in the typical way of a top pick.
With that said, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report caught up with several NBA scouts to evaluate Fultz’s game and the returns were highly encouraging for Sixers fans. One such review saw a comparison to a future Hall of Fame guard in Dwyane Wade.
“He’s an underrated playmaker because his teammates at Washington didn’t finish a lot of his passes. Versatile enough to play off the ball, too. Reminds me of Dwyane Wade.”
It is (very) important to note that, without context, assuming this comparison means a prediction of a Wade-like career would be misplaced. Fultz does have the size and skill set required to play both on and off the ball, though, which is when the comparison to Wade makes some sense.
If anything, Fultz is actually a better stand-still shooter and, while he may not be the nuclear athlete that young Wade was, that kind of combo guard make-up could be intriguing for the No. 1 pick.
Beyond the Wade comparison, there was plenty to like in the evaluations of Fultz, including the fact that he is seen as NBA-ready from the moment he arrives.
“He’s ready day one. His combination of skill, size and athleticism will allow him to quickly impact games at both ends.”
The fit alongside 2016 No. 1 pick Ben Simmons has been a topic of conversation since the moment the Sixers traded up to secure Fultz in a deal with the Boston Celtics and that will be a significant part of his transition to the NBA. Both players have enjoyed free rein in terms of having the ball in their hands full-time but, in Philadelphia, they will need to learn to play off one another.
Given Simmons’ limitations as a shooter, that likely means that Fultz will be asked to slide away from the ball at times and, frankly, that is one of the biggest appeals to his game when looking at things through a Philadelphia prism.
Until we see Markelle Fultz on the floor doing what he looked to be capable of at Washington, the jury will be out on comparisons to Dwyane Wade and other NBA stars. It speaks to his raw ability, however, that a parallel could be drawn before he ever steps on an NBA floor and the Sixers will be wildly intriguing with Fultz, Simmons and Joel Embiid on the same floor this season.