Comparing top draft picks Ben Simmons (2016) and Markelle Fultz (2017) and their journey so far in the NBA. Both Simmons and Fultz formed the backcourt of the 76ers.
The Philadephia 76ers had back-to-back 1st overall picks in the 2016-17 drafts. The team had the power to make one of the best backcourts in the NBA, considering both the picks played guard position.
Ben Simmons was selected as the 1st overall pick by the 76ers in 2016. Despite being selected to play in the 2016-17 season, Simmons would make his debut in the following year due to an ankle injury.
The Australian native impressed everyone with his basketball IQ and ability to play both ends of the floor. The 6″10′ guard averaged 15.8 PPG, 8.2 APG, and 8.1 RPG, his ability to excel in all aspects of the game earned him the Rookie Of The Year award.
The 1st pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Markelle Fultz, who was only 19-years during the time, was coming off a phenomenal freshman year in college. The highly touted player was First-team All-Pac-12.
However, injury played a major hindrance in Fultz’s career. His shoulder injury during his rookie year resulted in him playing only 14 games that season.
According to several reports, Fultz’s shoulder injury had caused him certain nerve damage. Thus affecting his shooting abilities to great levels. In 2019, the 76ers traded Fultz to the Orlando Magic.
Ben Simmons vs Markelle Fultz
There is no denying when it comes to popularity, Simmons is way ahead of former 76ers guard Markelle Fultz. Simmons is 3x All-Star, 2x NBA All-Defensive First Team, and led the league in steals during the 2019-20 season.
On the contrary, Fultz has had a relatively slow start, with injuries constantly prodding him. However, the former 76ers player has shown glimpses of a potential star in his new journey with the Orlando Magic.
In his 4 seasons so far, Simmons has averaged 15.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 7.7 APG, and 1.7 SPG. The 3x All-Star’s biggest struggle during his career has been his inability to shoot the ball.
A career 14.7% from the 3-point line and 59.7% from the free-throw line. Simmons’ shooting woes clearly haunted him during the 2021 playoffs making him a liability for the team.
His former teammate Markelle Fultz has averaged 10.9 PPG, 4.6 APG, and 3.3 RPG so far in his career, shooting 26.5% from the 3-point line and 69.5% from the free-throw line.
Though stats give Simmons the edge, Fultz can shoot the ball more efficiently than the former. The Magic guard has shown incredible progress as a player. Fultz hasn’t been able to showcase his full abilities due to injuries.