Markelle Fultz returned to the NBA after a five-month absence and looked fantastic. He took 13 shots in 14 minutes, finished with 10 points, eight assists and four rebounds. The #1 pick in the 2017 draft will add an extra dimension to the Philadelphia bench heading into the playoffs, which should strike fear in the Raptors, Celtics, and yes, Cleveland.
But the team that should be scared by Fultz the most is the LA Lakers. Because in the chase for LeBron this offseason, the Lakers still have the lead, but shortly, they’ll be in the clubhouse for the season.
Philadelphia has the firepower to make a run to the Eastern Conference Finals. How attractive is Philadelphia going to be to LeBron if Fultz can average 12-4-4 the rest of the way, and more importantly, helps the 76ers win a couple rounds in the playoffs?
LA does have one advantage, though – they can afford two max free agents, and in LeBron’s previous two moves, he’s brought a friend each time – Chris Bosh, then Kevin Love. If LeBron sticks to that, advantage Lakers.
But Fultz’s return – combined with the easiest schedule in the NBA the rest of the way – could mean Philly hosts Cleveland on April 6th with a 12-game winning streak, and a much better supporting cast than LeBron has. Win that, and then a couple rounds in the postseason?
Be very afraid, Lakers.