Magic excited for arrival of former No. 1 pick Fultz

Feb. 8 (UPI) — Former No. 1 overall draft pick Markelle Fultz is now a member of the Orlando Magic, and the Magic are excited to be the first team to give him a second chance.

The Magic need guards and Fultz needs a fresh start.

“He’s thrilled to be a part of the Magic and looking forward to getting down here and starting his journey with our team,” Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman told the Orlando Sentinel. “Obviously you know he’s dealt with a lot and I think he’s looking at this as a fresh start. He’s really excited about it.

“We had been looking for an opportunity like this. We, like the rest of the league, thought very highly of Markelle at the [2017] draft and we were just very happy when it [trade] turned out to actually be there for us to execute.”

Fultz has suffered a mysterious shoulder injury since the start of last season, shortly after the Philadelphia 76ers chose him with the first pick. One thing is for certain: The 6-foot-4 guard never fit in Philly.

With the Sixers acquiring the likes of Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and others since the start of the season, there was clearly no more room for Fultz and his attempts to find a spot. The Magic sent reserve forward Jonathon Simmons, a 2020 first-rounder and a 2019 second-rounder to the Sixers.

Fultz appeared in just 14 games last season and 19 this year. He is averaging a pedestrian 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He hasn’t played since Nov. 19 after being diagnosed with a nerve issue in his right shoulder.

Fultz’s agent said in December that he intends to play again this season. The Magic hope that will be the case and that eventually, he lives up to the old hype.

“The biggest thing I think when he gets here is just to sit down and make sure we have a good idea of what he feels his strengths and weaknesses are and how he feels he plays best,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said.

“And then, like I said, have some more background work so we can give him our opinions. I’ll give him my opinion. That’s how you start to come to a place where he’s comfortable and we’re comfortable.”

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