Orlando Magic Daily Mailbag Volume 38: While we wait

The Orlando Magic are eager for Nikola Vucevic to make his return to the court. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic are eager for Nikola Vucevic to make his return to the court. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Markelle Fultz, orlando Magic, Boston Celtics
Markelle Fultz has turned a lot of heads in what is essentially his rookie year with the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

Fultz comparisons

We have been as guilty as anyone of trying to hype comparisons for Markelle Fultz based upon his first full year in the NBA — his “rookie” year. Some of those comparisons got a bit too far, as some pointed out.

But still, Markelle Fultz compares really favorably with some solid point guards. His trajectory seems to be pretty bright considering he is just 21 years old.

Fultz is averaging 12.1 points per game and 5.2 assists per game on a 52.0-percent effective field goal percentage. Those are not numbers blowing anyone out of the water — he would not win Rookie of the Year this season. But they are solid nonetheless.

Especially considering where he started the year.

The Magic have never had a player average at least 12 points per game, average at least five assists per game and shoot better than a 50-percent effective field goal percentage in their rookie seasons.

Other notable point guards in Magic history posted solid numbers, but nothing this good. Anfernee Hardaway averaged 16.0 points per game and 6.6 assists per game with a 48.9-percent effective field goal percentage. Elfrid Payton averaged 8.9 points and 6.5 assists per game on a 43.3-percent effective field goal percentage.

And that brings us to the question at hand.

Victor Oladipo averaged 13.8 points and 4.1 assists per game with a 45.8-percent effective field goal percentage.

Scoring-wise Fultz is definitely behind the best guard rookies the Magic have seen. But he is certainly comparable with his passing and his shooting efficiency. Perhaps some of that is because this is not really Fultz’s rookie year. This is his third year of NBA experience even if it is just his first full year without injury (and now he might not even get a full 82-game season).

The Victor Oladipo comparison though is interesting. Not that they play the same position. But that this is Fultz’s age 21 season just like Oladipo’s rookie year was his age 21 season. So at least developmentally they are on the same track.

Fultz is scoring just a bit less than Oladipo did in his rookie year, but he is much more efficient already. That would suggest that Fultz can make the same kind of leap Oladipo did.

After all, both were known as great drivers who struggled to shoot entering their age 21 season.

I do not think their development paths are quite the same. True, Oladipo played a lot of point guard his rookie year. But that was never where he was going to end up. And Fultz is playing a different role than Oladipo played in his rookie year — both as a starting point guard and as a member of a playoff team.

It is at least notable and good that Fultz is somewhere near these benchmarks from previous Magic rookies. That is at least a start for him as he really gets his career going.