Where Fultz has really popped off the screen is in the open floor. With the size of some NBA wings, his ability to shift gears on a dime while keeping his chest square to the rim isn’t something you often see from lead guards. His patented right-to-left spin move has put numerous defenders through the blender, as his physicality and agility are extremely rare.
Transition has made up 29.5 percent of Fultz’s possessions since returning, according to Synergy Sports research. While he has missed a few bunnies at the rim and is scoring only 0.806 points per possession, his sheer ability to change the game in space has ignited Philly’s bench. The Sixers’ second unit posted a below-league-average net rating of minus-2.8 before Fultz’s return, but since that Nuggets game on March 26, they’ve had the best bench in the league with a net rating that surged to plus-12.5, according to NBA Advanced Stats. (Fultz played in more than 80 percent of those bench minutes.)
There’s no better example than Karlsson, who came to Vegas largely anonymous. Wild Bill finally lived up to his nickname, scoring 43 goals while chasing Alex Ovechkin for the league title. In March, Karlsson made his return to Columbus, the team that left him exposed in the expansion draft. Marchessault asked if there would be a tribute video.
Even without the pick-and-roll efficiency from his college days, Fultz remains a dynamic threat as a distributor, slasher and short-range shooter on the move, and the Sixers’ staff has done a great job of getting him going to the rim by shifting the defense and letting him attack.
He changes pace impressively and uses his combination of sheer size, unique athleticism and stride length to get good looks. He has also shown his ability to attack switches. He’s a talented one-on-one scorer when his pull-ups are falling and defenses don’t aggressively sag.
Where Fultz has been most impressive is as a facilitator. Even with defenders not having to pressure him, he has found ways to get into the paint and kick out to open shooters or hit the roller in stride. He whips around passes with either hand and boasts an impressive 4.5 assist-to-turnover ratio over his past 11 games, playing with great unselfishness while still protecting the ball.
Fultz’s ability to make others better has been a big reason his transition has been fairly seamless after missing so much time, and that should continue to be the case in the playoffs.