Is this a nagging injury or something more?
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that recent No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz of the Philadelphia 76ers had his right shoulder drained, the cause for what many believe is the rookie’s poor performance to start his NBA career.
“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.”
Obviously, to some extent, his shoulder is injured. As to why it’s being handled so poorly and what the angle could be? I have a few ideas.
Sure, Washington missed the NCAA tournament during Fultz’s one year stay in college, but he played with the talent and confidence that warranted the Sixers jumping up from No. 3 to No. 1 in the NBA Draft to snag who they considered to be the point guard of the future.
While Fultz could knock shots down from all around the court at the college level, the NBA has been a different story. The shoulder pain could be preventing Fultz from wanting to take long range shots — but so far — it’s been safe for opponents to leave him wide open from outside the paint.
Markelle Fultz trying to pull up from 15 pic.twitter.com/RrjJYf0f91
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) October 24, 2017
Fultz has shown a preference thus far for shots inside of eight feet, and anything outside of 16 feet he hasn’t attempted. Is the injury that bad? Or is there another reason he’s avoiding shooting?
Poor Front Office Decisions
This is working more off a hunch than anything, granted Philadelphia has shown its ability to play host to the type of environment to a situation described below.
It’s time for the process to pay off. And while no one is thinking championship in Philadelphia, it would be nice to achieve, if not at least contend for, a playoff spot in a weak eastern conference.
The Sixers have already shown their commitment to having Fultz play alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid by trading up two spots to secure his rights. Could they be failing to live by their own motto and instead be rushing things along?
Terrible luck and a nagging injury
Mental blocks you have to get through. Whether that be at the NBA level as a starter, coming off the bench, in the G League, or whatever the case may be, there’s no prescription to fix something like that.
If Fultz is hurt and truly trying to play through the injury, I admire his toughness but it’s time the Sixers step in and get him back to full strength. Even if the playoffs were a goal, this team at full strength still isn’t making it too deep.
Maybe one year off of losing their top overall pick for the year in Ben Simmons, the Sixers are once again set to fight the injury bug. Maybe the shoulder is being used as a smoke screen to buy time for an NBA rookie who is simply struggling to find his groove.
Sixers fans have to hope this isn’t a long term issue. If Fultz gets it together and Embiid stays healthy, Philly could easily make a run at the playoffs.