Hall of Fame Footsteps for Orlando Magic to follow
Hall of Fame Follow: Jason Kidd
Orlando Magic Follow: Steve Francis
Markelle Fultz is still one of the tougher players for the league to figure out.
On one hand, his talent is simply undeniable. There is a reason he was the clear-cut No. 1 pick in his draft class and not something anybody questioned. Injuries are the only reason he never got a chance to make good on that potential.
Now that his ACL injury from the 2021 season is behind him, there is legitimate excitement about the way he finished his season — 15.6 points per game, 6.0 assists per game and 53.3 percent shooting — and having a fully healthy offseason to improve and develop. That is just something Fultz has not really had in his career.
Still, there are doubts about Fultz. Those around the league do not quite believe he is nearly back to his pre-injury form and there are those around the league who may never believe that.
Fultz is still working to prove he can make a positive impact despite his perceived poor shooting and poor outside shooting. And that is the biggest story of his career to this point.
That is why he should be looking to a player like Jason Kidd for a model on how to impact games.
Kidd was a masterful point guard throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the king of triple-doubles for his era. He was the kind of point guard that made his teams competitive just by his presence — leading a sometimes underwhelming New Jersey Nets team to two NBA Finals in 2003 and 2004.
At his peak, Kidd averaged 18.7 points per game and 8.9 assists per game in the 2003 season. He shot only 34.1 percent from three on 4.6 attempts per game that season. Kidd shot better than 35 percent from three nine times in his career, but only two of those seasons came before his age 30 season.
Kidd is at least proof that a player can develop from a non-shooter into a shooter at some point in their career. That is likely where Fultz wants to get as he uses his size and playmaking to make up for his lack of shooting in the early part of his career.
Fultz may not ever get to the levels that Kidd reached. But there is a lot he can learn from Kidd.