NBA News: ‘No Idea’ When Markelle Fultz Will Play, Magic GM Says

Mitchell Leff Getty Images

Markelle Fultz was chosen as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers only two years ago. Following a series of events that involved either a shoulder injury, a mental block about shooting, or some combination of both, Fultz had several long absences from the team, and he was traded to the Orlando Magic in February at the trade deadline.

Even after the trade, it doesn’t mean we have any clear idea of when Fultz might get back on the court. At least, that’s according to his current team’s general manager.

John Hammond, the general manager of the Magic, appeared on iHeartRadio’s The Zone this week, and as transcribed by NBC Sports, he addressed the Fultz situation.

“He will not play in summer league with us,” Hammond said in the interview. “We didn’t think there was any way that he was going to do that. We didn’t plan on him doing that. So, probably not the place for him right now. But overall, I can just say that he’s doing well.”

Hammond went on to say that Fultz, who is only 21-years-old, is in good physical shape, but that he wasn’t sure about the timing of when Fultz might suit up and play basketball again.

“We want to have patience with him and get him ready and put him on the court when he can be most productive.”

Fultz, the top pick in the 2017 draft out of the University of Washington, played only 33 games in his first two seasons in the league.

Per a Philly Voice timeline, early in his rookie season, it was clear that something was wrong with the player’s shooting form, with the problem attributed at various times to a “scapular muscle imbalance” and to the player having changed his shot in preparation for his NBA debut. Fultz ended up sitting out the majority of his rookie season before returning in the final weeks and showing flashes of success, including a triple-double in April.

The player returned to the Sixers for his second season after it was touted that he had solved his woes by working with shooting coach Drew Hanlon. But Fultz struggled early on and lost his role in the starting lineup when the team traded for Jimmy Butler in November. Shortly after that, Fultz’s representatives announced that his health would be independently evaluated and that he was sitting out indefinitely. Fultz was eventually diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome; he never played for Philadelphia again and was traded to Orlando in February.

In last week’s NBA Draft, much like with the Fultz trade, the Philadelphia 76ers made a trade with the Boston Celtics in order to trade up and acquire a guard out of Washington, Matisse Thybulle.