'I Didn't Even Think He Was A First-Round Pick': SEC Coach Rips Magic Guard Markelle Fultz
A former Orlando Magic assistant too.
Arkansas Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman is one of the most respected names in basketball coaching. Since the late 1980s, Musselman has lived an incredible basketball life, coaching in college, the then D-League, and the NBA, including a stint with the Orlando Magic from 1998-2000.
“Having coached in the NBA, I didn’t even think he was a first-round pick, let alone the No. 1 pick,” Musselman told The Athletic. “But the most interesting thing about this process is how much research the winning teams that draft so well truly do, and on the flip side how little some others do. The only teams who called me about Fultz were the winning teams."
It wasn't the Magic , but rather the Philadelphia 76ers who traded up from the No. 3 pick to No. 1 to select the Washington guard. At the time, the 76ers had selected within the first three picks of the draft for four consecutive seasons, often choosing questionable projects with a high pick.
Fultz suffered a shoulder injury that kept him on the sidelines through majority of his tenure in the City of Brotherly Love. He played just 33 games during parts of two seasons before he was dealt to the Magic at the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline.
The Magic traded for Fultz given the low price for a player with a ton of upside. It only took a future first-round pick and veteran Jonathon Simmons to complete the deal.
Fultz has continued to struggle with injuries in Orlando, but after recently recovering from a torn ACL and playing 18 games down the stretch for the Magic, the former No. 1 pick enters the offseason healthy and seeks a breakout year in 2022-23 .