In his NBA Summer League debut — and first-ever professional basketball game — Markelle Fultz gave Philadelphia fans sick of watching the floundering Phillies a taste of greatness.
Yes, greatness in the summer league.
That’s what the first overall pick put on display while collecting 17 points and three blocked shots (three blocks for a 6-foot-4 point guard, that could be fun).
That includes this:
Markelle Fultz got all the way up there for this block on Kadeem Allen. ?? pic.twitter.com/QbdRl0UCcX
— Hashtag Basketball (@hashBasketball) July 4, 2017
The hustle and then execution of the defensive plays Fultz made shone bright in a meaningless game in Utah earlier this week, and the rookie out of Washington will stress the defensive side of things as he prepares to contribute to Brett Brown’s defense-first scheme.
“I think it’s very valuable,” Fultz said. “You don’t see a lot of guards running after a big; everybody is trying to block the shot. So it’s going to throw people off and it’s going to make everybody think when they’re driving to the basket. So I think it’s very valuable.”
However, slowing ones role may be required, as 6-for-16 shooting did show a few mad shot-making decisions, though 17 points in 22 minutes is impressive nonetheless.
Sixers scouts, coaches and fans are all expecting a wide range of skills to be on display throughout the summer and into the much anticipated 2017-18 season from Fultz, who was a no-doubter as a No. 1 overall pick and seems to be even-keeled, even under the intense pressure he’ll experience in the fishbowl that is Philadelphia sports.
“Offensively and defensively, he has the size to guard multiple positions,” Kevin Young, a Sixers assistant coach said of Fultz. “He has a versatile skill set in terms of his passing and his scoring. From a coach’s standpoint, it makes the game from a tactical standpoint fun, because you have a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things.
“The thing that I have been impressed with is he doesn’t get too high, he doesn’t get too low. Like I said, he’s pretty steady, which has been, I don’t know if surprising, but more comforting. Because you get thrown in this position of being the No. 1 pick, you have a lot of guys kind of all eyes on you and he has handled it great. He has been very coachable, very humble. He has asked all the coaches a lot of questions. He has been a joy to be around so far.”