3 Orlando Magic players with short- and long-term questions
Short-Term Question: How close can Markelle Fultz get to No. 1 pick Fultz?
Long-Term Question: Is Markelle Fultz the right point guard for this team?
Markelle Fultz is going to look a bit different when he takes the floor for training camp in a couple of weeks. Gone are the long locks that he sported when he arrived in Orlando back in 2019. Fultz is looking a bit more like his younger self in Washington these days.
That feels at least partially appropriate because Fultz has probably never been closer to being “top overall pick Markelle Fultz” than he is right now.
Fultz had a career season, averaging 14.0 points per game and 5.7 assists per game. He shot 51.4 percent from the floor overall, not quite canceling out his struggles from three but leaving him efficient enough to be dangerous off the dribble. He played in 60 games, missing the first 20 only because of a preseason toe injury just before training camp.
After the All-Star Break — an important marker because it would mark nearly one year after he returned from his ACL tear — Fultz averaged 15.6 points and 6.0 assists per game while shooting 53.3 percent from the floor and 32.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Fultz was quietly one of the best stories to end last season. It felt like he had finally reclaimed himself.
It certainly feels like he has set the stage for a breakout season where the rest of the league comes around on him. If Fultz is ever going to approach being the first-overall-pick version of himself, this is the time for him to do so.
There is probably no player with as wide a variance for what he can become this season than Fultz. He could easily be the team’s third-leading scorer and ace point guard, or he could still just be a solid starting point guard option as he has been when he has been healthy during his career.
The national media seems ready to see the Magic move on from Fultz as a point guard option. Magic fans certainly are not. They believe in what Fultz can still be. And so everybody is eager to see what he can become.
Those national pundits though do raise that important question.
Can the Magic succeed with their duo of Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner without a point guard who can shoot it consistently? When the Magic get to the playoffs, will defenses sag too far off him and dare him to shoot?
So much of this season for Orlando is about trying to figure out what will work for the team when it gets to the postseason. And as much as everyone is excited to see what Fultz can do, he faces a lot of these long-term questions.
And there are legitimate questions to ask about Fultz and his future ahead of his contract year.
A lot is expected of Fultz this season. And a lot of questions about his future with the team will get answered this season.