Is Markelle Fultz an early contender for next year’s Most Improved Player of the Year?

The Orlando Magic started the season on hold last year looking really sharp and made it through the group stage 5-2. Then Markelle Fultz blew her ACL and was on shelves indefinitely. The Magic went on to win just 10 more games for the entire remainder of the season and finished with the NBA’s worst win rate of 0.242.

Things aren’t going any better this season but at least the Magic have hit their win total from last year with a 15-47 record. But with Cole Anthony and Franz Wagner as their top scorers, it’s easy to see why this is once again one of the worst teams in the NBA.

But, Magic received some good news this week as Fultz returned to the roster for the first time since January 21, 2021. Even in the limited minutes, Fultz reminded the world that he was the one. The best player on this team. Fultz looks healthy too and nice ball move. Fultz scored 10 points and six assists in 16 minutes in his first game in more than a year. The craziest part is that Magic actually won that game and is now on a two-game winning streak after beating seven out of 10. So is Fultz the resource this team needs to get their morale back? Well, if it weren’t for him they were in real trouble, to say the least.

All of this got me thinking about how much impact a healthy Fultz will have on this team over the next year. Is it enough to consider him a candidate for the title of Most Improved Player of the 2022-23 season? Well, considering he played only six and a half games last year and missed most of the year, it shouldn’t be hard for him to put up better numbers in 2022-23. Over his entire final season, the Fults averaged 10 points and six assists and helped Magic actually make it to the knockout stages. They were quickly beaten by the Bucks in five games, but it was a big win for the Magic. They haven’t even come close to playing since and Fultz’ injury has a lot to do with that. Stay tuned if and when he hits top speed and consider an offset against Fultz in 2022. Is Markelle Fultz an early contender for next year’s Most Improved Player of the Year?

John Verrall

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