I’m really starting to feel bad for Markelle Fultz. This has gone beyond being thrilled Danny Ainge swindled the Sixers out of Tatum and a pick. This is just sad.
I was perfectly happy to draft Fultz first overall, mostly because he was doing stuff like this in college:
The jumper was smooth. And then he and Drew Hanlen had to go and mess with it. For whatever reason, they tried to mess with his form and they broke him like Stan Lee trying to fit The Hulk into the Batmobile.
Fultz missed most of last season and came back this year to a starting role that was gifted to him in a play to boost his confidence and try to salvage his long-term growth.
It didn’t work. His shot is still a mess, his free throw routine has changed every game and he even developed a weird double clutch before switching to “kitten playing with a ball of yarn” sort of motion.
In the midst of this, his shooting coach tweeted, then deleted this.
Futlz and Hanlen since parted ways. Fultz insisted he was healthy, but now he’s not playing until he sees a specialist.
It’s still way too early to figure out how this story ends, but Fultz is a broken player right now. It got so bad the Sixers had to trade away two good players they probably would have loved to keep alongside a progressing, maturing third star in Fultz. Instead, they felt they needed to bring in the third star, which was signal enough that Fultz wasn’t panning out the way they’d hoped.
Can Fultz be fixed? It’s hard to say. Maybe a trade to a new team would help. Maybe a different staff with no history with Fultz can help him find himself. Whatever he needs, he needs to figure it out soon or risk being forever broken.