Markelle Fultz After Magic Trade: Nice to Have Coaches Who Tell It Like It Is

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2019

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 14: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Orlando Magic looks on during the game against the Charlotte Hornets on February 14, 2019 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz has yet to live up to expectations after the Philadelphia 76ers selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, and he appeared to take a shot at his former team during his introductory press conference Thursday.

"It just excites me really to know that I have coaches that's going to push you to be better and not just going to tell you what you want to hear," he said, via Dan Feldman of NBC Sports.

Orlando acquired Fultz via trade from the 76ers on Feb. 7.

Fultz also said during his press conference that his shooting struggles were a physical issue and not a mental one and further explained what thoracic outlet syndrome feels like.

"It was hard to explain to people," Fultz said. "But it's almost like hard to lift up your arms. You lose feeling in your fingers. It's not really—you can't tell when it's going to happen. It's not like you do the same motion every time. But it's just you get tingling in your fingers, numbness, stuff like that."

He did not provide a timeline for return.

The Washington product played a mere 14 games as a rookie and averaged 7.1 points, 3.8 assists and 3.1 rebounds a night while attempting just one three-pointer. Through 19 games this season, his agent, Raymond Brothers, told Philadelphia his client wouldn't play before seeing a specialist, per David Aldridge of The Athletic.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com wrote in November that Fultz "has lost the ability to carry out and follow through on long jump shots, and there has been internal and external debate about how much of this perplexing circumstance is physical versus mental."

Orlando's new guard averaged 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while going 4-of-14 from deep in those 19 games this season.

Despite the lackluster numbers, he is just 20 years old. The Magic took a chance on him and surely hope he can eventually live up to his potential as they strive to become an Eastern Conference playoff contender.