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DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz

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DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#1 » by darealjuice » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:46 pm

Hey guys, to celebrate the last tape we get of our prized prospects going into the draft, every 2 or 3 days over the next couple weeks as March Madness starts taking over I'll be posting some long-ish form scouting reports I've been putting together on some of the top prospects in the draft that should be in range of our pick come draft day at the request of BW and the other mods (in no general order). I'll try to snip some clips out of games and videos I can find online to add to the posts so it's not all words over the next few days, but it's going to take some time and it's a mess typing out BBcode on Word, so I'll post games I've found online as well. A lot of what I say is coming from notes I've taken watching games through the year, re-watching whatever old games I can find on Youtube and WatchESPN, reading some sports media interpretations of prospects, and discussions of prospects with other fan's online. This is how I interpret the prospects, and I doubt everyone is going to agree with what I say, which is fine because "scouting" isn't an exact science and even GMs that get paid millions still screw up big. Without further ado, here's the first one on the general consensus #1 overall pick:

Markelle Fultz – University of Washington (Fr.)
Age on Draft Day: 19 years, 1 month
Height: 6’ 4.75”
Wingspan: 6’ 9”
Standing Reach: 8’ 6”

Games Available Online:
Vs. Arizona: vs. UCLA vs. WSU vs Nevada
Other Content:
Lakers Film Room Offensive Scouting Report (Highly recommended, defense should be coming soon too):Markelle Fultz DX Page

Edit 3/21: Draft Express put up an updated scouting report with new strength and weakness videos today, really good stuff.

http://www.draftexpress.com/article/markelle-fultz-nba-draft-scouting-report-and-video-analysis-5832/

Introduction

In my mind, Markelle Fultz is the clear-cut best prospect in the draft. He’s the second youngest PG in the draft behind Frank Ntilikina, and he offers elite size and length for his position, above-average athleticism, the ability to create and score from all 3 levels, great ball handling skills, and excellent playmaking ability. Fultz is very advanced running the pick-and-roll, the most prominent part of NBA offense right now, showing the ability to hit the 3 when the defender goes under the screen, get into the paint when his man chases over the top, and split the defense and get to the rim when the screener’s man hedges hard. His ability to create offense for himself efficiently is second-to-none in this draft, as he shot 46% on over 200 2-point jump shots with 13% assisted, compared to Dennis Smith Jr at 30% on 100 shots with 3% assisted and Lonzo Ball at 44% on 25 mid-range shots with 9% assisted. Part of that ability comes from his jump shot having a very high release that allows him to get it off over defenders without needing much space.

Like any prospect, Fultz is not without flaws. His intensity in games comes into question at times, especially on the defensive end, and he can be passive when it comes to taking over the game when his team really needs a bucket. Like Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson, Fultz’s free throw shooting is also a concern, sitting at only 65% on the season without showing much improvement month-to-month despite showing great scoring ability from all over the court. Lastly, although I’m not sure of the severity, Fultz had knee issues throughout conference play and missed multiple games at the end of the season, including his second match-up with Lonzo Ball. They could have just been preventative rest games because he’s basically guaranteed to be one of the top picks in the class and Washington’s season was as good as over, but it could be something to keep an eye on once the draft process gets underway.

Scoring

Fultz is already a comfortable scorer from all 3 levels and has one of the most polished offensive packages in the draft despite also being one of the youngest. One of the best things about Fultz’s scoring potential is his shooting form, as he gets good lift, has smooth mechanics, and has a high, difficult to block release. He has excellent FG% on all 3 levels with solid volume: 62% at the rim on 112 attempts, 46% on 2-point jump shots on 200 shots, and 41% from 3 on 126 shots from 3. He isn’t overly quick, but he is very crafty with how he gets players off balance and on their heels using jab steps, crossovers, and change of pace to get into the paint and score or hit the open man. Along with the ability to get into the paint, he has the size and length to simply shoot over most PGs in college basketball and the NBA to go with a great step back that he uses frequently when driving middle.

His ability to score and out of the pick-and-roll is one of his best traits and will be extremely important in his transition to the NBA. Because Fultz is such a skilled and creative ball handler, he can counter just about anything the defense can throw at him to defend the screen and turn it into an advantage. He has a lot of “shake” to his crossovers that makes it tough for the defenders to correctly predict the direction he is going while staying on balance and off his hip. His size and high release allows him to get a clean shot off over the pick when his man tries to stop the drive by going underneath, his ball handling and athleticism get him into the paint and where he scores with a variety of floaters and pull-ups, and his ability to draw defenders and pass on the move creates passing lanes and open shots for his teammates to take advantage of Fultz’s gravity on the court. I would argue that he is one of the best guards in college basketball at playing the pick-and-roll because he is so smooth, crafty, and patient, and he knows how to counter the defense while having the skill to make it happen.

Passing

I’ll preface this by saying that if Fultz had scorers like TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford, Aaron Holiday, and Isaac Hamilton as his spot-up options instead of David Crisp, Matisse Thybulle, and that’s about it, I think he’d be leading college basketball in assists like Lonzo is. Fultz is a very unselfish player, at times too unselfish, and is willing to play within the offense before creating shots on his own to the point where Washington likely would have been better if they just let Fultz run a high pick-and-roll with shooters spotted up around the perimeter every time down the court. He’s a very good passer on the move, capable of making quick flip passes to big men on the drive, hitting shooters on the perimeter when he draws their man into help, and making the right pass in transition. Fultz typically keeps it simple on offense and doesn’t make too many flashy/ill-advised passes on offense, which is reflected on his TOV% being the lowest amongst himself, Ball, and Smith Jr (13.4%, 18.4%, and 17.3% respectively) despite having the highest AST% and USG% (35.5% and 31.4%, 31.6 and 18.2%, and 34.2% and 27.2% respectively) of the point guard crop.

Defense

Fultz has all the tools to be a very good defensive player in the NBA. He has the size, length, and frame, the athleticism, the basketball IQ, and the feel for the spacing of the game, but he has a habit of getting caught ball watching or just being disengaged on defense in general. There are plenty of reasons why he’d put less effort into defense: his teammates around him are all undisciplined, bad defenders, their season may as well have been over for him in January with how bad Washington and Romar are, he carries a huge load on offense as the primary ball handler, distributor, and scorer, and he knows that when he wants to lock in, he can. I don’t really like those excuses because I like to see players leave it all on the court and be locked in on both ends, and unless the Celtics/Nets win the lottery he’s going to be on another bad team where he’ll eventually/immediately be expected to carry a similar load to what he’s doing now with the expectation of defending the best position in the NBA. He uses his tools and timing to make great defensive plays in transition, but he needs to learn to be engaged on defense the entire game and not just when his man has the ball or when they absolutely need him to make a play.

To show in a couple of charts kennydorglas provided:

kennydorglas wrote:
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Conclusion

I see Markelle Fultz as the ideal scoring point guard for the current trend of pick-and-roll and pace and space in basketball. His game isn’t flawless, but the few flaws he has are fixable. He already has the scoring ability and playmaking skills, he has the tools to be a good defender and shows flashes of it, and he is a very intelligent and in-control player with the potential to be a #1 option on offense and the primary distributor in the NBA. I expect his free throw shooting to improve to an acceptable level when basketball officially becomes his career, as his form is too good and consistent for him to not develop into at least an average free throw shooter. I personally only expect him to be an average defender in the NBA, those athletic plays will be less frequent when the level of competition skyrockets and tough defense is as much mental as it is physical, and I just don’t see the “defensive stopper” mentality in him. In my opinion, the draft starts with the 2nd pick in the draft because Fultz is a no-brainer for #1.


I'll be following up this one in a few days with the only other player projected to be in our draft range that we have all of the available tape on because they missed out on March Madness: Dennis Smith Jr.

Thanks for reading, and the more discussion we get the better. I'm also hoping to get some feedback to make the next one better for everyone. What would you like to see added? What did and didn't you like? Would you prefer a new post of the next one or just to edit the post to the next player and update the title? etc. etc.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#2 » by bwgood77 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:04 pm

Great job! I'll have to dive into the videos a bit more. I watched a bit of the Lakers one, but will have to come back and finish.

I think what we can do is for the second one, have a new post, so all responses within thread at that point will relate to that particular write up. When the third one comes out, it can also be a new post, but at that point the first two will be merged, and the title updated, and when the 4th comes out, another new post, but third will be merged with first two. This will only leave two threads on the page at any given time. Not too much clutter, but an individual thread for the new write-up so responses within the first few days will relate to that particular write-up.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#3 » by MathiasPW » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:14 pm

I give praise to anyone who puts in effort, but this is just outstanding! Great job!

One suggestion only, since this is a Suns forum, you could add a "fit with Suns" section to try to forecast how he would work in our team.

For Fultz, I think we would give Bledsoe a few months of time as a starter to make sure Fultz is not a bust for some inexplicable reason, and at the deadline we would trade our vet PG and give Fultz full control of the team. His skills could easily replace Bledsoe's, and then some, specially given his naturally unselfishness.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#4 » by darealjuice » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:18 pm

MathiasPW wrote:I give praise to anyone who puts in effort, but this is just outstanding! Great job!

One suggestion only, since this is a Suns forum, you could add a "fit with Suns" section to try to forecast how he would work in our team.

For Fultz, I think we would give Bledsoe a few months of time as a starter to make sure Fultz is not a bust for some inexplicable reason, and at the deadline we would trade our vet PG and give Fultz full control of the team. His skills could easily replace Bledsoe's, and then some, specially given his naturally unselfishness.


That's a really good idea, I'll edit a section like that in tonight.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#5 » by blee732 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:49 am

Adding visualizations like a radar/spider chart (example below) would be a nice way to start comparing prospects. It would be great to see how the top 10 picks compare to each other and - to Mathias's point - to our current core.

We could rank them across some basic categories like 3 pt shooting, playmaking, finishing, etc (doesn't necessarily have to be hard data, could just be subjective ratings like A/B/C). We could also have a category called "Lavar Ball" just for Lonzo, although not sure a spider chart can show a negative easily....

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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#6 » by bwgood77 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:21 am

blee732 wrote:Adding visualizations like a radar/spider chart (example below) would be a nice way to start comparing prospects. It would be great to see how the top 10 picks compare to each other and - to Mathias's point - to our current core.

We could rank them across some basic categories like 3 pt shooting, playmaking, finishing, etc (doesn't necessarily have to be hard data, could just be subjective ratings like A/B/C). We could also have a category called "Lavar Ball" just for Lonzo, although not sure a spider chart can show a negative easily....

Image


It would be great if others that know where to find these charts or the info to develop them to add to the thread, to add more perspectives and ways to evaluate each prospect on top of darealjuice's research. Being that he is taking the time to write up each one, if someone can add these things to these threads, that would be great.

I know kennydorglas had some charts on Fultz, and him he could add those here. I'd move those posts over but they would (based on dates) then be the first posts in the thread, so for him to re-post would be good, and any other information people can add for discussion.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#7 » by darealjuice » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:40 am

blee732 wrote:Adding visualizations like a radar/spider chart (example below) would be a nice way to start comparing prospects. It would be great to see how the top 10 picks compare to each other and - to Mathias's point - to our current core.

We could rank them across some basic categories like 3 pt shooting, playmaking, finishing, etc (doesn't necessarily have to be hard data, could just be subjective ratings like A/B/C). We could also have a category called "Lavar Ball" just for Lonzo, although not sure a spider chart can show a negative easily....

Image


Also a good idea, I saw kennydorglas post 2 on how Fultz compares to other PGs and SGs statistically so I'll look for that and edit it into the post when I finish up the "how he fits in phoenix" part that Mathias suggested.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#8 » by DarkHawk » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:17 pm

I can def appreciate the write up. I, however, would rather know where we will be come lottery time before investing in researching players that we may not have a shot at.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#9 » by MilotheSlayer » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:23 pm

Greatly appreciate the time you put into this! Great read up and very well done. I look forward to the next prospects!
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#10 » by Duke4life831 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:32 am

Hes the best scoring guard in the draft. He has a great mix of physical tools and should be a good player offensively from day 1. Dont look for him to be a good defender any time soon but he has the tools to be a good defender so he has the potential to be solid on that side. Hes a good facilitator but I dont see him being a great facilitator in the NBA. Should be solid though, I think he is a 6-7 assist type guy.

I think he can be a good fit on your team but with your roster I dont think hes the best pick available for you guys. I still think that roster is built ideally for Lonzo Ball. But if you guys end up with Fultz on draft night it still would be a great night. The dude is a stud for sure. Probably the best mix of high ceiling and high floor in the draft.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#11 » by Frank Lee » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:26 am

Wow.... nice job
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#12 » by GimmeDat » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:00 am

This is a great post, kudos. I agree, in a draft full of exciting top end talent, Fultz still stands out to me as the #1 guy. Tools to be elite in so many areas. I think he's a star.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#13 » by Shamrock » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:36 pm

Excellent write up. Fultz is one of the best prospects we've seen in years, theres just not many question marks with him. All of his weaknesses are stuff that can be improved upon rather easily.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#14 » by HotelVitale » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:55 pm

Shamrock wrote:Excellent write up. Fultz is one of the best prospects we've seen in years, theres just not many question marks with him. All of his weaknesses are stuff that can be improved upon rather easily.

I have Fultz #1 too, but his main weakness is a general lack of explosion and athleticism. He's super smooth and has that nice pull-up game, but what happens when he consistently has bigger, faster, and stronger players on him night in and out? My worry is that he's just ahead of everyone else development-wise--plays more like a 22 year old than a 19 year old--and that he actually doesn't have that much more to improve on.

Contrast him with someone like Bledsoe, who came to the league with great strength and athleticism but had to figure out how to play in space, get good shots, etc. It took Bledsoe 4 years in the NBA to get to a Fultz-like skill/IQ level, and it's great that Fultz is already so far ahead; but you have to master a lot of that stuff to even be a decent starter in the NBA, and what if Fultz doesn't really have another couple levels of improvement in him? Not sold he's a big time scoring threat with just the moves/tools he has now, and I'm not completely clear on what he can do to make his current tools better and more effective.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#15 » by MrMiyagi » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:10 am

HotelVitale wrote:
Shamrock wrote:Excellent write up. Fultz is one of the best prospects we've seen in years, theres just not many question marks with him. All of his weaknesses are stuff that can be improved upon rather easily.

I have Fultz #1 too, but his main weakness is a general lack of explosion and athleticism. He's super smooth and has that nice pull-up game, but what happens when he consistently has bigger, faster, and stronger players on him night in and out? My worry is that he's just ahead of everyone else development-wise--plays more like a 22 year old than a 19 year old--and that he actually doesn't have that much more to improve on.

Contrast him with someone like Bledsoe, who came to the league with great strength and athleticism but had to figure out how to play in space, get good shots, etc. It took Bledsoe 4 years in the NBA to get to a Fultz-like skill/IQ level, and it's great that Fultz is already so far ahead; but you have to master a lot of that stuff to even be a decent starter in the NBA, and what if Fultz doesn't really have another couple levels of improvement in him? Not sold he's a big time scoring threat with just the moves/tools he has now, and I'm not completely clear on what he can do to make his current tools better and more effective.

I feel like this is a stretch for a weakness. It's not that he lacks explosion, I think it's just that we're used to guards like Westbrook and MVP DRose who are/were always in 5th gear. I think Fultz changes gears incredibly well, and going from 1st to 3rd gets him where he needs to be. Sure in the NBA he'll have to get up to 4th and 5th, but I don't think he doesn't have them.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#16 » by HotelVitale » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:09 pm

MrMiyagi wrote:
HotelVitale wrote:I have Fultz #1 too, but his main weakness is a general lack of explosion and athleticism. He's super smooth and has that nice pull-up game, but what happens when he consistently has bigger, faster, and stronger players on him night in and out? My worry is that he's just ahead of everyone else development-wise--plays more like a 22 year old than a 19 year old--and that he actually doesn't have that much more to improve on. Contrast him with someone like Bledsoe, who came to the league with great strength and athleticism but had to figure out how to play in space, get good shots, etc....
I feel like this is a stretch for a weakness. It's not that he lacks explosion, I think it's just that we're used to guards like Westbrook and MVP DRose who are/were always in 5th gear. I think Fultz changes gears incredibly well, and going from 1st to 3rd gets him where he needs to be. Sure in the NBA he'll have to get up to 4th and 5th, but I don't think he doesn't have them.
I get not seeing that as a 'weakness' but it seems like a weird thing to give full benefit of the doubt on. Have we ever seen a player that plays the entire year two steps slower than he's capable of? Why would anyone ever do that--to conserve energy for an entire season? To show off that he can take worse/lower % shots and still be fairly efficient for a whole year? Last year Ben Simmons often played in lower gears but we saw flashes of him in top gear almost every game.

I'd like for that to be true of Fultz, just don't think it is and don't see any reason to think it's true. At the next level he won't be the slowest guy but he won't be able to create space, get to the rim and finish, etc consistently doing the same things he does now. I don't have that concern with Ball or Smith or Tatum, and I think it places a big burden on his feel and skill game that makes me nervous (I also think it's a similar concern that's led to disappointing scoring guards like DLo, H Barnes, B Knight, Trey Burke, etc, though none of them are good direct comps for Fultz for various reasons).

Again, I still like him because of his size, skill, and feel, and I'd be willing to take a chance on him at #1. But he'd have to be so good at the little things that I also wouldn't be at all shocked if we look back at him in 6 years and think 'why did people think this dude was a #1 pick? He's just an average volume shooter with solid passing skills.'
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#17 » by darealjuice » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:04 pm

Glad people are enjoying the post and it's generating some discussion, I didn't expect much for Fultz to be honest since most of us have accepted he'll be gone lol but I'm pleasantly surprised. I appreciate all of the feedback and will look to implement it all into the next posts, especially the "Fit in Phoenix" suggestion.

I'm sorry for the delay with Dennis Smith Jr, I only caught a few of his games this year and had a lot to watch over along with enjoying March Madness and time got away from me, but it'll be posted before the end of the day for sure. Next in line after DSJ is going to be Jonathan Isaac, then Jayson Tatum, since they are both done for the year. I assume that they'll take less time because I caught a lot of FSU and Duke this year, so hopefully they'll both be up by end of the weekend.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#18 » by darealjuice » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:02 pm

http://www.draftexpress.com/article/markelle-fultz-nba-draft-scouting-report-and-video-analysis-5832/

Draft Express put up an updated scouting report with new strength and weakness videos today, really good stuff.
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#19 » by mzepol » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:53 pm

How concerning is the knee issue for those that are eyeing Fultz in the draft?
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Re: DarealJuice Draft Series Part 1: Markelle Fultz 

Post#20 » by bwgood77 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:31 pm

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