Former teammates of 76ers' Markelle Fultz discuss his struggles

Markelle Fultz’s NBA future remains in question.

The top pick in the 2017 draft stepped away from Philadelphia last week in order to deal with a shoulder injury and the team reportedly may no longer see him in its long-term plans. Fultz was also reportedly interested in a “fresh start” with a new team.

Jerryd Bayless and Dario Saric, who both played with Fultz in Philadelphia before they were sent to the Timberwolves earlier this month as part of the Jimmy Butler trade, discussed the second-year player’s struggles in a recent interview with Forbes.

“I see a young player that’s had extraordinarily high expectations placed upon him based on where he was drafted that’s going through a lot of things that most young players will go through,” Bayless said. “Is it heightened because he was the number one pick? I would say so.”

Bayless said Fultz wasn’t “moping about his situation.”

“He came in and did his job,” Bayless said. “That’s what you can ask for, especially in his situation.”

The 20-year-old guard began his career with high expectations. But he dealt with injuries and a hitch in his jump shot that limited him to 14 regular-season games during his rookie season.

Fultz has averaged 8.2 points and 3.1 assists in 19 appearances in 2018-19. Saric told Forbes he was “close” with Fultz before the trade.

“It’s been very hard for him what’s been happening the last couple of seasons,” Saric said. “I saw him this summer, he was, like, fine.

“He was happy, he was really enjoying it. When I was talking to him, he seemed like everything was okay.”

Bayless has yet to play this season after he suffered a knee injury in late September while Saric has averaged 10.7 points and six rebounds in seven games with the Timberwolves.