Can the 76ers bring their #1 draft pick, Markelle Fultz, back to 100%?
The answer is yes. It is going to take some time though. Fultz came out of Washington University and was the 76ers number one draft pick. His numbers at Washington were really good, and he was just what the 76ers needed. They even made some trades to get first-round draft pick specifically so they could get Markelle Fultz. In Las Vegas, during the summer league, his numbers were good as well, and he was looking promising.
One of the main reasons the 76ers picked up Markelle Fultz was because of his very high release, and the ability to finish over defenders. You would not think this was the case when Fultz came back for training camp in September. He was now releasing the ball from chest level, and the shot was cringe-worthy. Head Coach Brett Brown of the Philadelphia 76ers said that “Fultz purposely altered his mechanics in an effort to improve his shot.” Fultz said otherwise.
Fultz claimed that he changed his mechanics because of the soreness in his right shoulder. I found this odd that Fultz and Brown were not on the same page. Fultz played with this wacky new shooting form against the Washington Wizards on October 18th and played three more games following the opener. During that 4 game span, Fultz only went 6-12 from the line and 9-27 from the field. On top of that Fultz did not attempt any 3-pointers at all.
What else was a little fishy was the fact that on October 24th, Fultz’s agent Raymond Brothers told ESPN that Fultz had gotten fluid drained from his shoulder, and then hours later corrected that statement by saying “Fultz actually got a cortisone shot in his shoulder, not fluid drained from it.” It seems like his agent should know what’s going on with him at all times. Tim DiFrancesco, co-founder of TD Edge, and former Los Angeles Lakers strength and conditioning coach said “This doesn’t add up at all.”
Fultz was diagnosed with scapular imbalance. This is very common for NBA players, and something DiFransesco was familiar with. What was weird was that Fultz’s injury was causing him pain. A scapular imbalance alone doesn’t cause pain according to DiFransesco. It would only cause pain by trying to introduce a new shooting mechanic the shoulder is not used to, which leads me to believe Markelle might have purposely altered his shooting mechanics.
Fultz trainer Keith Williams said otherwise. Williams told reporters that he never deviated away from his normal training, and at no point was there any effort to alter Fultz shot mechanics. “He’s a great shooting point guard,” Williams said. “There haven’t been many point guards who shot the ball as well as him coming out of college, off the dribble and off the catch. I never changed his shot. Why would I?”
Fultz recently returned to the court with a somewhat normal shot again, and despite what people say, and that fact that nobodies stories match up, Fultz can be rehabilitated back to health. He just needs more time, and I believe should play minimal amounts of time for the remainder of the season. The 76ers are still building, and repairing, and growing stronger day-by-day, but for now the only thing we can do is TRUST THE PROCESS!