Philadelphia 76ers G Markelle Fultz has had a bizarre first two seasons in the NBA. As a rookie, Fultz missed 68 games with a shoulder injury, which some had speculated was the “yips.” Over the summer, Fultz worked with trainer Drew Hanlen to rebuild his jump shot, but so far this season, Fultz’s jump shot does not look much better, and according to reports, Fultz and Hanlen are no longer on speaking terms.
The story got even stranger on Tuesday when the team announced that the 20-year-old Fultz, on advice from his agent, will not play or practice with the team until he sees a specialist in New York City on Monday to look at his shoulder, and according to The Athletic, Fultz is also having his wrist examined and would prefer a move to a new team
While some believe the number one overall pick in 2017 NBA Draft could be a bust, former NBA player Antoine Walker believes Fultz can play and thinks the second-year player’s issues are “mental.”
“It’s unfortunate. I’m going to give him time. He’s on a team where he can be bought time, especially with them acquiring Jimmy Butler, so they don’t need him right now,” Walker recently said on his SouthSide Heat podcast. “I feel bad for him. I think it’s mental; I think it’s nothing to do with physical. I think his physical ability when healthy he’s got the skill set to play in the NBA and can play 10, 15 years. Whatever he got going on mentally with his shoulder, it’s something he’s going to have to try to figure out.
“Obviously, for his agent to call and tell the 76ers’ coach and GM that he’s going to take some time out to see a specialist, it’s obviously something Markelle is coming back to his agent and talking behind closed doors to him about. It’s a mental thing that he wants to see somebody else.”
I agree with Walker. Something is just not right, but I think it’s physical as well. Just watch his tape from college, he looks nothing like that guy right now. Fultz best position is point guard, and the 76ers have a point guard in Ben Simmons. Therefore, Fultz does not really fit in Philadelphia, especially with the addition of Jimmy Butler.
A change scenery might be what has to happen for Fultz to be the player many thought he would be coming out of Washington.