Markelle Fultz’s way-too-early Most Improved Player case

Markelle Fultz has been solid for the Orlando Magic as he returns from a torn ACL. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Markelle Fultz has been solid for the Orlando Magic as he returns from a torn ACL. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic
Markelle Fultz made his triumphant return as the Orlando Magic defeated the Indiana Pacers. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

Markelle Fultz’s early Most Improved Player case

Orlando Magic’s Need and Upward Trajectory

The Orlando Magic finished with a 22-60 record in 2022.

Markelle Fultz will no longer be the lone No. 1 overall pick on the roster, as the ping-pong balls fell in place for the team. There is going to be a very talented player added to the roster along with the young players improving inside the building.

This will bring many new eyes to Orlando’s games which will only microwave Fultz’s MIP chances.

In 2022 Orlando suffered from a nasty concoction of injuries, inexperience and tanking. There were many bright spots this season, though.

Franz Wagner emerged as a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-most as a rookie. Wendell Carter grew as a shooter and passer and built on his already-solid defensive reputation. Jalen Suggs began to find his own pace and Cole Anthony took a big scoring leap.

Defensive ace Jonathan Isaac is set to return along with whichever draft selection Orlando makes.

With the No. 1 overall pick in the mix and roughly $28 million in cap space, the Magic are primely positioned to improve greatly over last year’s win total. Winning will considerably inflate the attention on everyone on the roster. And ultimately winning is what garners awards attention.

Orlando is also in desperate need of a conductor to orchestrate the offense. All three of the choices at the top of the draft are bigs/super-sized wings and neither Anthony nor Suggs possess anything close to the playmaking and organizational skills Fultz has showcased thus far.

This bodes well for Fultz being the odds-on favorite to lead the guard rotation in minutes next season. Between the bump in minutes, desperate need for his playmaking ability, and almost certain leap in team record, Orlando’s context is perfectly ripe to welcome their first Most Improved Player since Ryan Anderson in 2012.

Next. OMD Draft Big Board 2.0: Considering needs. dark

Fultz is rooted for and enjoyed by NBA circles outside of Orlando. His story is one of perseverance, redemption and jaw-dropping ability. This is a man, a story and a basketball player that voters can and will get behind when choosing their 2023 Most Improved Player.