Is Markelle Fultz An Early Contender for Next Year’s Most Improved Player Award?

 Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz played in his first game in over a year after tearing his ACL.
Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz played in his first game in over a year after tearing his ACL. / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic Started off last year’s delayed season looking really sharp and went 5-2 out of the gate. Then, Markelle Fultz blew out his ACL and went on the shelf indefinitely. The Magic went on to win just 10 more games the entire rest of the season and finish with the worst winning percentage in the NBA at .242. 

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

But, the Magic got some good news this week as Fultz returned to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 21, 2021. Even in limited minutes, Fultz reminded the world that he is the best player on this team. Fultz also looked healthy and was moving off the ball beautifully. Fultz put up 10 points and six assists in 16 minutes of play in his first action in over a year. The craziest part is that the Magic actually won that game and are now on a two-game win streak after dropping seven of their last 10. So, is Fultz the spark this team needs to get their mojo back? Well, if he isn’t they are in real trouble, to say the least.

Could Markelle Fultz Win MIP Next Season?

This all got me thinking about how much of an impact a healthy Fultz will have on this team next year. Would it be enough to consider him a candidate for the Most Improved Player award for the 2022-23 season? Well, considering he only played six and a half games last year and missed most of this year, it won’t be hard for the guy to put up better numbers in 2022-23. In his last full season of work Fults averaged 10 points and six assists and helped the Magic actually make it to the playoffs. They were promptly beaten by the Bucks in five games, but it was a big win for the Magic. They haven’t even come close to competing since and Fultz’s injury has a lot to do with that. Keep an eye on if and when he gets up to full speed and consider an offseason play on Fultz in 2022.