This was surely not the rookie season Markelle Fultz anticipated.
But being a Philadelphia 76ers rookie, maybe it’s the one he should have expected.
Plagued by a shoulder injury and a mysterious shooting glitch, Fultz, the No. 1 pick in the draft, played in just 13 games this season.
Eyeing the playoffs, the 76ers brought him back for the stretch run after he missed the bulk of the season. Head coach Brett Brown put him in a low-pressure situation off the bench while in the midst of a 16-game win streak to end the season.
Fultz has certainly not been the shooter hoped for out of a No. 1 overall pick at point guard since his return, but he’s shown progress and been a valuable addition to the rotation, giving Philadelphia reason for optimism.
Sixers fans saw the brightest ray of light yet in Wednesday’s season finale blowout of the Milwaukee Bucks. The 16th win in a row was nice, but it was nothing in comparison to Fultz’s hard-fought rebound near the end of regulation to secure his first career triple-double.
The moment was not lost on his teammates, who mobbed the rookie as fans rose to their feet and doused him with water after the game. Fultz ended the game with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in 25 minutes off the bench. The 19-year-old became the youngest player to ever record a triple-double in the process, passing Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, who achieved the feat at 20 earlier this season.
Markelle Fultz gets the water bottle treatment pic.twitter.com/jxaEHDnex6
— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) April 12, 2018
It’s encouraging for Fultz and just another reason for the 76ers to feel great going into the playoffs, where they have clinched the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers and will face the Miami Heat in the first round.
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