Markelle Fultz cannot shoot the basketball. That’s been borne out by his results so far, as the #1 overall pick has gone just 9-27 from the floor to start his career, without taking a single three-pointer across four games. Fultz has also only shot 6-12 from the free throw line.
That’s kind of impressive, considering his foul shot form has been something like what you get when a little kid who can hit shots on a lowered basket tries to shoot on a 10-foot hoop instead:
Small sample size, but Markelle Fultz is shooting just 29.2% from the floor and 40% on FT’s this preseason.
More concerning is his form: pic.twitter.com/FzZSTsRZhh
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) October 10, 2017
So it’s unsurprising that his camp is in damage control. Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, revealed to Woj that Fultz underwent a procedure to drain fluid from his shoulder, and that complications from the procedure and the initial problem:
“Markelle had a shoulder injury and fluid drained out of the back of his shoulder,” agent Raymond Brothers told ESPN. “He literally cannot raise up his arms to shoot the basketball. He decided to try and fight through the pain to help the team. He has a great attitude. We are committed to finding a solution to get Markelle back to 100 percent.”
No decision has been made for Fultz to miss games, league sources said.
Fultz had the shoulder drained prior to the start of the regular season, which caused him to miss the end of the Sixers’ preseason schedule, Brothers said.
Except then, a few hours after the story went up on ESPN.com, Brothers came back to Woj and said in fact fluid hadn’t been drained from the shoulder; rather, Fultz had undergone a cortisone shot:
“He had a cortisone shot on Oct. 5, which means fluid was put into his shoulder — not taken out,” agent Raymond Brothers told ESPN on Tuesday night. “My intention earlier was to let people know that he’s been experiencing discomfort. We will continue to work with (Sixers general manager) Bryan Colangelo and the medical staff.”
Cortisone shots are used to relieve pain and inflammation. Sixers officials confirmed to ESPN a treatment took place several weeks ago and Fultz’s inflammation and symptoms have improved.
What in the world is going on? Why would Brothers go to the media for a spin control session without knowing the entire picture?
And that’s clearly what this was, as Woj included this quote from Brothers in the original post:
“From a basketball perspective, it’s been encouraging to see that Markelle can get any shot he wants during the games, but he has been unable to shoot the ball,” Brothers told ESPN.
Woj let that go unchallenged, as though Fultz being able to get open looks against a defense that doesn’t respect him at all because he’s clearly hurt is a good thing.
Assuming Fultz’s issues are clearly tied to his shoulder injury, that’s probably a good thing. It beats the yips. But if he’s hurt to the point that he can’t shoot, how in the world are the Sixers sending him out there? How can that be beneficial? It can’t be good for his long-term health, nor can it be good for his shooting mechanics; he’s only engraining bad habits, at this point.
But nothing about this makes any sense. The Sixers clearly haven’t had a problem sitting high draft picks for long-term health benefits. In any other case, if an NBA player is hurt to the point that he absolutely cannot shoot a basketball, he wouldn’t be playing, and the team would be announcing that injury; the coach wouldn’t be giving confused quotes about how no one knows why Fultz is changing his stroke.
And now, his agent gives two versions of the story to Woj, of all people, on the same day.
What the hell is going on?