Philadelphia 76ers rookie point guard Markelle Fultz returned to the court in Monday's 123-104 win over the Denver Nuggets at Wells Fargo Center, and the overwhelmingly positive reaction he received from the fans in Philadelphia encouraged him.
At one point, the crowd was chanting Fultz's last name, which the No. 1 overall pick didn't initially think much of.
"I thought they were saying 'Nick Foles,'" Fultz said, alluding to the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "Then I realized it, and it was pretty dope. These fans are great, and I love them."
Fultz finished with 10 points and eight assists in 14 minutes on the floor, which is a solid return considering he had missed Philadelphia's last 68 games. According to NBA.com, only one other player in the shot-clock era had 10 points and eight assists in fewer than 15 minutes.
McCollum and the Blazers Snapped Postseason Losing Streak for "Jennifer"
Stars Invest in Plant-Based Food as Vegetarianism Sweeps NBA
The NBA Got Some Wild Techs This Season
Jarrett Allen Is One of the NBA’s Hottest Rim Protectors
Wade's Jersey Swaps Created Epic Moments This Season
Westbrook Makes History While Honoring Nipsey Hussle
Devin Booker Makes History with Scoring Tear
29 Years Ago, Jordan Dropped Career-High 69 Points
Bosh Is Getting His Jersey Raised to the Rafters in Miami
Steph Returns to Houston for 1st Time Since His Moon Landing Troll
Lou Williams Is Coming for a Repeat of Sixth Man of the Year
Pat Beverley Has the Clippers Stealing the LA Shine
LeBron Keeps Shredding NBA Record Books
Young's Hot Streak Is Heating Up the ROY Race with Luka
LeBron and 2 Chainz Form a Superteam to Release a New Album
Wade's #OneLastDance Dominated February
Warriors Fans Go Wild After Unforgettable Moments with Steph
Eight Years Ago, the Nuggets Traded Melo to the Knicks
Two Years Ago, the Kings Shipped Boogie to the Pelicans
ASG Will Be Competitive Again If the NBA Raises the Stakes
The 19-year-old mentioned how his comfort level climbed once he got back into game action.
"It was a little bit of excitement and little bit of just like, I gotta help the team," he said. "Once I stepped on the floor, it felt great just to be back out there with my brothers."
With only nine games left in the regular season, there isn't much time for Fultz to find his groove before the playoffs get underway. But even if he's playing just 15 or 20 minutes a game, Fultz could be a difference-maker off the bench for the Sixers in a postseason series.
The team already had enough to get excited about this year, with Joel Embiid staying healthy and Ben Simmons likely winning Rookie of the Year. Fultz's return provides even more reason for optimism about the franchise's future.