NBA

Markelle Fultz Just Made His First Real Contribution to the 76ers Thanks to an Ex-Teammate

Markelle Fultz was a disaster in Philadelphia after being drafted No. 1 overall by the 76ers in 2017. The franchise burned through valuable assets to move up and grab Fultz in the draft, but he didn’t pan out in the slightest. Fultz was traded to the Orlando Magic in 2019 after two failed years in Philly.

Although he’s no longer affiliated with the franchise, Fultz just indirectly gave the 76ers a huge boost thanks to his former teammate, Mike Muscala. Maybe now Philly fans will be a little less hard on Fultz.

The 76ers traded Markelle Fultz to the Magic for a possible first-round pick

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Markelle Fultz was supposed to be the final piece of the puzzle to finally complete “The Process.” Instead, he turned out to be one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory, and the 76ers moved on from Fultz after two underwhelming and head-scratching seasons.

The haul Philadelphia received for the former No. 1 pick was just as underwhelming. In return for Fultz, the Sixers received Jonathon Simmons, a 2020 protected first-round pick from Oklahoma City, and a 2019 second-round pick.

Simmons lasted just one season in Philly. The 76ers used the 2019 second-round pick to move up and draft defensive stud Matisse Thybulle, who has already proved to be a crucial piece to the future of the franchise.

The 2020 pick from the Thunder, though, only conveyed if Oklahoma City landed in the top 20. If they came outside the top 20, the pick would turn into two future second-round picks. The Sixers looked as if they would have no first-round selections in the upcoming draft, but Fultz’s former teammate changed that with some recent late-game heroics.

Fultz’s former teammate just helped the 76ers land a first-round pick

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Before Wednesday night, the 76ers were not in line to have a first-round pick in the 2020 NBA draft. The Thunder sat outside the top 20 and trailed the Miami Heat in the fourth quarter.

Miraculously, Oklahoma City made a roaring comeback and won the game on a Mike Muscala 3-pointer. Yes, that Mike Muscala. The Muscala who played a half season with the 76ers while Fultz was still with the team.

The veteran big man didn’t offer much more than some bench minutes and a few made jumpers per game in Philly, but he just gave the Sixers a huge boost for the 2020 NBA draft.

With the win, the Thunder’s first-round pick jumped into the top 20. Just like that, the Sixers turned the Fultz deal into a decent first-round pick for the upcoming draft.

The 76ers officially won the Markelle Fultz trade with the Magic

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When the 76ers sent Fultz to Orlando for pennies on the dollar, fans were disappointed in the haul. Fultz was a top prospect who was still only 21 years old, and Philadelphia only received a rental player and a few mediocre picks.

It was looking as if the Sixers were going to end up with a few second-round flyers for Fultz, but the trade has made a drastic turn. The 76ers have officially swapped Fultz for Thybulle and a first-round pick in 2020.

Thybulle has been arguably better than Fultz was in Philly. Now, the 76ers have a chance to pair him with a first-round talent, or they could use that pick for a trade package to move up in the 2020 draft.

Fultz has plenty of time to prove the Sixers wrong for trading him, but Philadelphia should be happy to be in the position they’re in now.