3 Orlando Magic players who will surprise in 2023
2. Markelle Fultz
In the last two seasons, Markelle Fultz has played 26 total games and since 2020 the Orlando Magic have drafted two point guards in the lottery.
The national media has pretty much written him off as an unfortunate story and a player who does not hold the potential he once had coming out of Washington.
But Magic fans know the ability he has and they have seen what he can do when he leads the offense.
So to the Magic faithful, this would come as no surprise if Fultz makes a jump next season, but he is on this list because it would certainly surprise everybody else.
Now how can he finally make a jump and begin an upward trajectory?
First, he has got to stay healthy. The fact he has only played 26 games in the last couple years was mentioned earlier. But he has not been healthy in his entire NBA career outside of the 2020 season where he played 72 games.
In his other four seasons he has only managed to play 59 total games due to the lingering knee injury from his college days, the thoracic outlet syndrome that dramatically affected his ability to play and then the torn ACL he suffered early in the 2021 season.
If he can stay healthy, he will be able to put together a year that he is truly capable of. And that is a year as the starting point guard, and main playmaker on the Magic.
The 18 games he played last year coming off of his ACL tear will prove to be very important to him next year.
Getting to play under coach Jamahl Mosley should help. And having been on the court will prevent any mental block he could have had next year regarding his ability.
What he was able to produce on the court in limited minutes was also promising. Most of his averages were right in line with what they were pre-injury.
In 20.0 minutes per game, Fultz averaged 10.8 points per game on a career high 47.4-percent shooting from the floor. He also averaged a career high in assists at 5.5 per game. Again, this was all in limited minutes as the Magic brought him off the bench and carefully monitored his minutes in his return from a torn ACL.
They finally let him loose in the final game of the season. He scored 10 points to go with a career-high 15 assists in the finale win against the Miami Heat.
The only issue he will have next season is making sure he can coexist with Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony. Or figuring out the right pairing next to him if the Magic are on board with starting him from the jump.
But Fultz should begin the season with the keys because Suggs will most likely start the season coming off the bench and Anthony will probably start to play more minutes at shooting guard. Not to mention veteran Gary Harris remains in the mix.
It will be clear about a month into the season what kind of year he will have.
As a player who has been in the NBA for five years, Fultz has been through an entire career’s worth of adversity. But when he has been on the court for the Magic, he has shown he is more than capable of running the offense.
Now he will get to show that this year.