Atlanta Hawks: 5 Reasons to Trade for Markelle Fultz

Markelle Fultz #20 Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Markelle Fultz #20 Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
Markelle Fultz #20 Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Defensive Fit

Where Fultz would really shine for the Atlanta Hawks would be on defense – certainly an area of concern for the team as a whole in 2018-19 and in particular for the team’s backcourt duo of Young and Huerter.

Though Fultz has clearly not been able to attain the incredible offensive form he showcased in college, his defense in the NBA has been almost uniformly sterling as he is able to use his length, speed and athleticism to hassle opposing ballhandlers on the less glamorous end of the floor.

Even with his concerning numbers on offense, Fultz has brought energy and intensity every night to the defensive side of the floor, as evidenced by his defensive real plus/minus on Fultz ranks 13th overall among point guards in DRPM – ahead of defensive maven point guards like Patrick Beverley, Jrue Holiday and Terry Rozier. Last season, in limited minutes, Fultz also acquitted himself well by finishing 19th in DRPM among point guards.

Fultz has been consistent on defense throughout his career, and in each of his first two seasons, he has accrued defensive win shares of 0.4 – much higher than his offensive win shares, which are in the negative. For reference, the highest defensive win share numbers on the Hawks belong to Bazemore and DeAndre’ Bembry in a two-way tie at 0.6.

At the point guard spot, Fultz’s block rate (0.6 percent) and steal rate (1.8 percent) rank in the 69th percentile and 76th percentile, respectively, which would be rock-solid numbers alongside a noted defensive sieve like Trae Young.