Tha Sports Junkies 101

Nobody Puts McConnell In A Corner: Don’t Doubt The Sixers’ PG

Erika Reinsel via Flickr


Due to their drawn out rebuild and injury woes, Sixers fans need a break. Markelle Fultz‘s right shoulder injury seemed destined to happen. His athleticism is what they need at the guard position. In many fan’s eyes, his arrival is permission to write off third year point guard T.J. McConnell.

The timetable for Fultz to return is unclear and patience is running thin on Broad Street. All of this far too familiar for Sixers fans but McConnell is still here fighting on the court to move The Process forward.

Been There, Done That for McConnell

Team trainers have come into question after Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons‘ absence.  Before 2015, Embiid second missed year, then General Manager Sam Hinkie took a shot and signed scrappy Pittsburgh native T.J. McConnell after spring training.

Cracking an opening day roster is difficult for an undrafted player but McConnell left no doubt that he belonged in the NBA. He started 17 games and, according to Basketball Reference, ended the year top 10 in both steal and assist percentage on the 10-72 squad. The next year, first overall pick Ben Simmons was out with a foot injury.

Once again, the Philly faithful had to wait to see him and Embiid together. McConnell started 51 games and he once again placed in the top 10 in steals and assist percentage in addition to rank in the top 10 in total assists, total steals, and steals per game.

Only Way is Up

Despite practicing caution with Markelle Fultz, his injury also has the look of being mishandled. Now comes round three of waiting with Embiid and Simmons accelerating The Process. With Fultz’s return to the court in sight(?), T.J. McConnell is helping steer the ship towards the team’s first playoff appearance in six years.

His heart stays on the court each night much like when he was an undisputed starter for Brett Brown‘s squad. In time Fultz will show the city what he’s truly made of. Until then, find peace in knowing that T.J. McConnell and company are here to move this team forward.