The first overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft, Markelle Fultz, played merely fourteen games last season, averaging 7.1 points per game. However, the trainer of the 76ers player thinks he is ready to be an All-Star.
The expectations around Fultz were really high last season before the Philadelphia 76ers decided to select him with the first pick. No wonder why, after just one season in the NCAA, the Washington Huskies player averaged 23.2 points (with a remarkable 47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from the three-point line), 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds, which earned him a place in the third-team All-American.
However, Fultz’s professional career hasn’t been as fruitful. After four games coming off the bench where he scored six points per game, the 76ers announced that he was going to miss three games due to a shoulder injury. The 20-year-old guard played only fourteen games throughout the whole season, with twenty-three minutes on the court during the playoffs where he scored five points.
The only match where he actually displayed the level he displayed in college basketball was against the Milwaukee Bucks during the last regular season game. Fultz had 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double at 19 years and 317 days.
Despite this poor season, Fultz’s trainer, Drew Hanlen, believes the Sixers player can be an All-Star this season. Hanlen trains other NBA stars such as Bradley Beal, Zach Lavine, Jordan Clarkson and Markelle’s teammate Joel Embiid.
"I literally think that, if he’s back to 100 percent,” Hanlen said to Clutch Sports, “I think he’s immediately an All-Star. I know that’s a bold statement, but I work with a lot of other All-Stars. So, I think I have the right to say that."
If Drew Hanlen is right, the former Husky could join an exclusive list of active players that have become All-Stars in their second NBA season including Vince Carter, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, and Anthony Davis.
There’s no doubt that Markelle Fultz is a young player full of talent. Nevertheless, to come back to the court and become an All-Star in his second year after an injury which forced him to change his jump shot, sounds like a feat quite difficult to achieve.