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What the Fultz?

Wells Fargo Center by Peetlesnumber1 is licensed under CC BY SA-4.0

What the Fultz?

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

One of my favorite things about the NBA season thus far has been watching multiple rookies killing it. This does not include the #1 overall pick, Markelle Fultz. In fact, Fultz has only played in four games, the last being October 23rd against the Detroit Pistons. Markelle Fultz has played in as many professional basketball games as I’ve seen the movie, Titanic.

College Golden Boy

Fultz was a bit of a mystery to me even before he got drafted to Philadelphia. I don’t follow college basketball too closely (Ithaca College is never in the playoffs – lolol does Ithaca even have a basketball team?), but I do pay attention to top draft picks. He played for the University of Washington, who finished the season 9-22. Though the Huskies fell flat, Fultz was fantastic. He averaged 23.2 points on 47.6% shooting from the field and 5.9 assists. He’s the only NCAA Division I Guard to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in the past 25 years. Sounds promising, right? Promising enough for the 76ers to trade their #3 pick and pick from the Lakers for him.

The Unsolved Mystery of Fultz’s Shot

Fultz began to worry Philadelphia fans as early as the preseason. He missed wide open layups, seemed afraid of the ball, but even weirder was his shot. I was able to watch a few summer league games, and it appeared that he had already started tweaking his shot then. About halfway through the preseason, however, Fultz’s shot began to look extremely different. It seemed like he was trying to quicken his release, even though his shot was working out just fine at Washington.

Cut to the regular season, and Fultz plays in the team’s first four games and then is out with an extremely vague shoulder injury. Fultz played pretty well in his regular season debut, scoring 10 points on 5-9 shooting but shied away from jumpers – shots he was more than comfortable with in college. In the following three games he shot no more than 25% from the field.

Regarding Fultz’ injury, his agent initially stated that Fultz had his shoulder drained of fluid and that he was unable to lift his arms up to shoot. Okay, yeah, that sounds like it would definitely affect one’s shot. But then, his agent stated that instead of having fluid drained, he actually had cortisone injected into his shoulder. I’m no medical expert, but having a cortisone shot sounds a lot less serious than having fluid drained. He was missing games and no one was quite sure why. No one knew the severity of his injury, or what it even was. Was his shoulder even injured, or was it just to cover up Fultz’s bizarre shot form? The Sixers do have a history of being extremely vague with their injury evaluations (see: Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid).

Fultz has allegedly recovered from his mysterious shoulder injury but has not yet returned to the game. Recent videos of Fultz’s shot reveal that his form is still off. He looks Something tells me he won’t be returning to the court anytime soon with this shot.

Sixers coach, Brett Brown, said of Fultz’s shot, “I’m old, and I’ve never experienced anything like this”. He has also made it clear that he is dedicated to helping Fultz rediscover his shot.

Is it still too early to worry about the overall #1 pick? I like to give players the benefit of the doubt, but something just seems absurd here. The discussion around his injury/non-injury/scapular imbalance (wtf) has been so vague, and the fact that Fultz himself hasn’t really commented on anything that’s been going on is fishy. Is his form going to improve? Could the issue be mental or is it purely physical? Is he going to actually play some more games this season, or will he sit out the rest of the season the same way Ben Simmons did with his vague “foot injury”?

I’ve got a lot of questions and I want some answers, dammit.

Jamie is an actress, bar manager (and frequenter), beauty blogger, INFP, and of course, NBA fanatic living in Los Angeles. She spends most of her free time curating her Spotify playlists, eating Korean BBQ with her boyfriend, and deciding what color lipstick to wear.

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