Markelle Fultz is still just 25 years old and coming off the best season of his career with the Magic, and as he watched his former 76ers once again fail to make it out of the second round of the postseason, he couldn’t help but think he could have helped them achieve a different outcome.
During an appearance on The Players Tribune, Fultz expressed his appreciation for the Sixers organization after spending the first two seasons of his career in Philadelphia, but added that he would have liked the team that drafted him to have been more “patient” with their prized prospect before moving on when he was just 20 years old.
“I had my support and stuff like that,” Fultz said after a long pause when asked if the Sixers could have handled his situation better. “I’m thankful for the Sixers organization and everything they did for me, but it was a weird situation. Again, I understand it’s a business, and I understand now the business and the ins and outs of everything. I’m just thankful to be able to be moved somewhere where I had a second chance and an opportunity to grow.
“They wanted to win. I wish I had a chance to help them, because I really feel like I could have helped them win if they were patient and let me get healthy. At the same time, I’m thankful for everything they did for me. Everything worked out good.”
Fultz dealt with injuries after being taken as the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, another draft reward for a Sixers team tanking and urging fans to “Trust the Process.” He played in just 33 games over his two seasons with the Sixers before being dealt at the 2019 trade deadline for Jonathan Simmons and two draft picks that Philly would turn into Carsen Edwards and Tyrese Maxey.
Fultz has still had some injury troubles in Orlando, but he managed to make 60 starts last season, averaging a career-high 14 points per game while shooting 51.4 percent from the field, and a career best 1.5 steals per game.