NBA Draft Prospects: Top 5 Point Guards
1. Markelle Fultz, Washington Huskies
Despite being a five-star recruit and a consensus top-seven prospect coming out of high school, Fultz seemed to toil in obscurity for a bad Washington Huskies team. His talent didn't get past NBA scouts, though, as the point guard is projected to be the top pick in next Thursday's NBA Draft.
Fultz’s only season in college may not have provided the immediate team impact the Huskies were hoping for, but the point guard can't be blamed. As a freshman, Fultz ranked sixth in the nation with 23.2 points per game. He routinely filled up the remainder of the stat sheet as well, piling up 5.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game, numbers that earned him a spot on the both the PAC-12 All-Freshman squad and All-Conference First Team.
Despite the Maryland native's impressive numbers, the Huskies finished the season 9-21, leaving Fultz to declare for the draft not long after the season ended.
What sets Fultz apart from other prospects in the 2017 Draft class is his offense, specifically, his ability to create his own shot. In his time at Washington, only 23 of his 157 made two-point shots were of the assisted variety, meaning that over 85% of his made two pointers (and 75% overall) came from his own doing, per Hoop-Math.com.
The freshman displayed great range as he posted a 55.8% true shooting percentage on 17.6 field goal attempts per game. He made 61.6% of his shots at the rim while draining over 41% of his three-point shots.
Fultz's 5.9 dimes per game left him third among freshman and 15th overall in the nation. He ranked 16th-highest assist percentage in the country, a number that could've been better had his teammates improved upon their 44% shooting from the floor.
One of the biggest concerns with Fultz's ability to transition to the NBA is how he will fare against bigger, more talented defenders. At times in college, he either tried to force feed a pass to a teammate or take an ill-advised shot. His nice field goal percentage on two-point shots (50.2%) could have been nicer if he had better shot selection, while his turnover rate of 13.3% was a bit higher than scouts would like.
At 6’4” and with a 6'10' wingspan, he possesses the size most NBA teams are looking for at point guard. Fultz's length also provides the versatility to be able to play off the ball if needed, and that will come in handy if he is drafted, as expected, by the Boston Celtics with the first pick. If Fultz does indeed land in Beantown, he'll have to fight for playing time with Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley -- but with his potentially James Harden-like skill set, they'll figure it out.