Markelle Fultz will win Most Improved Player
Markelle Fultz has quickly become one of the best players on the roster. After a strong start to the season, Fultz is on pace to improve in most statistical categories and could possibly win Most Improved Player of the Year.
Oftentimes we find ourselves overreacting to the first couple of games of the season. Seeing Markelle Fultz make big plays down the stretch in the Magic’s first three games of the season is certainly a sight to behold
Fultz recently signed a rookie extension with the Magic for three years and $50 million locking him for the foreseeable future. Two years ago, this would have been a questionable move but after reviving his career last season, Fultz convinced the front office to commit to him.
He has quickly become one of the focal pieces of the rotation offensively and defensively. Although it is a small sample size, Fultz has shown a level of maturity in the first three games that he has not shown before.
Fultz is averaging 18.3 points per game and 5.8 assists per game while shooting a 45.4-percent effective field goal percentage through four games. The scoring bump has been a welcome addition to the team.
In a win against the Washington Wizards, Fultz found himself in big moments making big plays. Whether it was dropping a career-high 26 points or making key defensive plays late in the game, Fultz made his presence known.
His stellar play is undoubtedly a cause for excitement and while the Magic have only played three games, there are several takeaways that continue to solidify his case for Most Improved Player.
Particularly in his matchup against Raul Neto, Fultz was cognizant of the physical mismatch and exploited it to bring the Magic within striking distance. After an unsuspecting steal on an inbounds play with 15 seconds left on the clock, Fultz put the game away by sinking a few of the Magic’s last free throws to cap off a team 97.4-percent from the free-throw line.
It will be important for Fultz to be as aggressive and as physical as possible when attacking matchups. Especially since he has hit 12 of 13 free throws to start the season, drawing contact resulting in free throws would greatly benefit the Magic’s offense.
The Sixer Sense
Fultz has also shown his abilities to run an offense and work within a system. Although he finished with two assists in their second win against the Wizards, Fultz was active on and off the ball. His constant movement is what created opportunities for his teammates such as Nikola Vucevic for Terrence Ross who finished with 26 points.
However, in order for this prediction to become a reality, Fultz must improve his 3-point shooting. He does not need to become a 35-percent three-point shooter, rather improving to 30 to 32-percent will pay dividends.
Fultz will be able to succeed with the tools he has now as he has shown early this season. But in order for Fultz to take the next step, he will need to increase the number of threes he takes while also improving his overall percentage.
Last season, Fultz shot 26.7-percent on catch and shoot threes last season while only shooting 23.8-percent on pull up threes.
While Fultz’s three-point shooting is far below the league average of 35-percent, if he were to improve on his catch and shoot threes, his improved shooting would make the Magic’s offense more complete.