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Markelle Fultz Will Hurt The Sixers

Amy Gizienski Via Flickr


Markelle Fultz Will Hurt the Sixers This Season

It’s no surprise to hear Sixers’ rookie Markelle Fultz’ name in an unflattering light as of late.

In December, Head Coach Brett Brown hinted at a mental aspect to the unfolding Fultz’ situation on Adrian Wojanowski’s “WOJ Pod.” More recently, videos of the 2017 NBA Draft’s first overall pick’s heavily altered jump shot have gone viral. Both the clips and podcast could lead most a similar conclusion: Markelle Fultz has forgotten how to shoot a basketball.

With Brown announcing the rookie’s participation in five on five work, his return is inevitable. Moreover, so is the liklihood of Fultz’ hurting the team far more than he helps it.


No More Cindarella Fit

The Sixers have had a love/hate relationship with the three point line so far this year. Regardless, the three is an important part of their offense. Fultz was seen as the perfect fit between center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons. He was going to play off-ball and complement both post-oreinted players with a deep ball and great shot creation.

However, Fultz showed a heavy reluctancy to shoot the outside shot during his only four games of the season. Per, every one of his shots were from inside the arc. This hinders his ability to play with a driver, in Simmons, relegating him to the bench initially. He’ll be forced to rely heavily on other strengths in his game as a member of the bench squad.

Consequently, this takes away minutes from TJ McConnell, who has been a steadying presence off the bench this season. Fultz’ potential equaling the production of the third-year McConnell doesn’t seem likely as of now.  Additionally, history is not on his side either.

Doomed to Repeat the Past

Historically, rookies have not been net positives during their first year. MVPs, such as Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash both scored under 8ppg and shot below 43% their first season. Gary Payton, who would become known as a good shooter, shot below 10% from deep during his rookie campaign. Draft Express’ Mike Schmitz compared Fultz to current NBA superstar, James Harden.

Their skill sets are similar enough to see the obvious link. Harden’s inaugural season ended with a 40.3 FG%.

Those guys weren’t first overall picks, you say? Point taken, and I raise you superstars, like Dwight Howard, Yao Ming, Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin. All of the aforementioned players were net-negatives on the court according to’s RPM (real plus-minus).

Though not entirely his fault, Markelle Fultz will almost certainly bring a negative presence to the near-playoff bound Sixers.

Stay The Course

All in all, the city of Philadelphia must continue to demonstrate the supreme patience “the Process” required. Will Fultz make the team worse right away? The evidence points to yes. Is it possible that he causes Philly to miss the play-offs? As tight as the 5-8 spots in the East seem, it could happen. Most importantly, do either of those things matter? Absolutely not.

Reliance on draft picks for immediate sucess is a mixed bag. For every Ben Simmons or Jayson Tatum, there is a Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kobe Bryant. Not every player is a stud right out of the gate. Fultz’ long-term success is infinitely more important than what he shows when he returns.

For a kid who appears to be battling in his head as much as he is on the court, a tough city’s support may make or break the young guard as he navigates through tough times. Ultimately, the best course of action may be to lower expectations, watch for Fultz’ development and simply continue to trust the Process.