Markelle Fultz has had one of the more bizarre beginnings to a career of any #1 draft pick in NBA history, maybe even in the major professional sports. Sure, we’ve seen top picks have their fair share of injury problems over the years. But Fultz is a special case.

Fultz sat out much of his rookie season after a shoulder injury. However, in the course of his absence, it seemed as if he had also developed the yips in his shooting motion. Basically, his jumper started looking like the basketball equivalent of Charles Barkley’s golf swing.

The drama around his injury and shooting motion made Fultz’s rookie year extremely difficult. He appeared in just 14 regular season games shooting just 40% from the field and averaged 1.7 PPG in the playoffs.

Fultz spent the offseason re-working his jumper and the fans in Philadelphia tried their best to give him some encouragement in the team’s home opener on Thursday night. After Fultz made a pull-up jumper in the second quarter, the Philly fans gave him a standing ovation. That’s right, a standing ovation!

Reggie Miller’s point is an interesting one. Could that kind of reaction actually have a negative stigma on Fultz if people are going to make that big a deal out of something that should be so routine? Fultz’s past troubles may be playing in his mind just a little bit as he passed up this wide open jumper in the first quarter.

Fultz can be the missing link for the 76ers in their quest to battle the Boston Celtics this year for supremacy in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully for his sake his jumper can find some consistency and we can all see why he was such a highly touted prospect coming out of the University of Washington.

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.