At times, NBA fans, teams and owners are too quick to write off these 18-to-20-year-old kids that get drafted and don't succeed right away.
Markelle Fultz - the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft - went through his issues with the team that drafted him in the Philadelphia 76ers. After playing just 33 games with the franchise, they traded him away for four months of Jonathan Simmons, a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 first-round pick.
Fultz has landed on his feet in Orlando and has quitely put together a solid season with the Magic.
He expanded on that tonight in their game against the Brooklyn Nets, going for a career-high 25 points to help lead his team to victory.
Fultz was feeling it from the start in this one, scoring nine-straight points for the Magic in the first quarter.
💫 9️⃣ straight points for @MarkelleF 💫 pic.twitter.com/uapfUNocbh- Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) January 7, 2020
It seemed like it was going to be a big game from Fultz after that outburst, but he went silent in the second and third quarters, scoring just four points.
During that silence, Spencer Dinwiddie began to get going scoring 12 points in the third quarter alone to bring the Nets back into it. Orlando's 13-point halftime lead was cut to just four points going into the fourth quarter, in danger of letting this game slip away.
The magnitude of this game may not have felt significant given it's a regular season game in January, but with the Magic holding a 1.0 game lead over the Nets for the No. 7 seed in the East, this could have seeding implications down the line.
With Orlando in need of a win to keep Brooklyn behind them, it was none other than the 21-year-old former No. 1 overall pick that stepped up in crunch time to seal the victory for his team.
Fultz scored 12 of his career-high 25 points in the fourth quarter going 5-for-7 from the field and 1-for-2 from 3-point land. He looked quick in transition, attacking the rim relentlessly, and did a great job running the Magic's offence to perfection.
💫 @MarkelleF goes on a 𝟕 − 𝟬 fourth-quarter run 💫 pic.twitter.com/sx7OqJIOFS- Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) January 7, 2020
He was also active on the defensive end, playing tough defence on Dinwiddie down the stretch, with one steal to show for his hard work.
This tough and-one finish put the Nets away for good.
🚨 NEW CAREER HIGH 🚨@MarkelleF with 25 points in the win! pic.twitter.com/L4Rg3ayvf4- Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) January 7, 2020
Fultz finished with 25 points shooting an efficient 11-for-20 (55.0%) from the field and 2-for-5 (40.0%) from 3. He added five boards, four assists and two steals to the box score and was a team-best plus-18 +/-.
With the win, the Magic advance to 17-20 and hold on to the No. 7 seed in the East. The Nets fall to 16-19, suffering their sixth-consecutive loss.
Fultz is now averaging 11.4 points, 4.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game on the season.