Forget Man Crush Monday, last night was Markelle Monday. Yeah, I said it.
I wrote about the mystery that is Markelle Fultz back in January. As you can imagine, I was excited to hear of his surprise return to the court on Monday.
When Fultz broke his 68-game hiatus, the sold out crowd gave him a standing ovation. I think a lot of NBA fans, not just those from Philadelphia, are really rooting for Fultz to succeed. Nobody wants the sad story of the promising, number one draft pick who lost the ability to shoot and suffered from mysterious shoulder injuries. They want the story of the promising number one draft pick who lost the ability to shoot, suffered from mysterious shoulder injuries, then came back with a vengeance and kicked some ass.
Fultz played 14 minutes in his first game back as the back-up point guard to Simmons. In those 14 minutes, he scored 10 points, had 8 assists and 4 (offensive) rebounds.
Um. Yeah, that’ll do.
Those are incredibly impressive stats for somebody who hasn’t played in a game since October.
Fultz had wonderful energy on the court and had some spectacular finishes at the rim. We caught glimpses of the creative playmaker he is, and it was clear that both the fans and his teammates were extremely excited to have him back.
Shot Still Shoddy?
In my last piece about Mr. Fultz, I addressed everybody’s main concern: his shot and how it seemed to have mysteriously broken.
I was eager to see if and how his shot has changed and was concerned when his first jump-shot attempt resulted in an airball. Sure, it was an airball, but the movement of his shot was different. There was less of that forced, jerky motion that caused such confusion, and more fluidity.
Fultz continued to play hard and consequently made two jumpers in the second half. His shot, while not exactly the same as it was when he was a Husky, looks worlds better.
“DON’T THEY LOVE THAT?” pic.twitter.com/fJV943Yam5
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 27, 2018
8 assists and 4 offensive rebounds shouldn’t be overlooked either, especially in 14 minutes of play. Fultz has the ability to find his teammates and create plays that convert to points. He’s also willing to be aggressive on the boards, leading to more possessions for his team. His contributions were well-rounded across the board, making Fultz’s (Fultz’???) return the court incredibly successful in my eyes.
The Timing Tho
I can’t help but wonder if the timing is right for Markelle’s (I didn’t want to have to type Fultz’s again…wait, dammit) return.
The 76ers have clinched a spot in the playoffs, behind the young powerhouses that are Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. The formula Coach Brown has been using with his players all season has clearly been working, so is now the right time to bring back Markelle Fultz?
I say, why the f*ck not? Fultz will be playing as a second option to Simmons, who will be able to rest and recover more fully. If he continues to play with the confidence he played with tonight, Fultz will be a bright spark for the Sixers off the bench. There’s clearly a long way to go, but last night as a giant step in the right direction.
I’m excited to see what Philadelphia brings to the table during the playoffs. The Eastern conference is all over the place, and I think a lot of people might be surprised by what this young team is able to achieve. Do I think Markelle Fultz will be a success story?
- / 1 day ago
This one is a classic.