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Tatum scored 28 points during a 117-101 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between Boston and Philadelphia. Fultz did not play due to a coach’s decision. “He was there. I guess it was all about the fit. We took Fultz. Philly took Fultz. Obviously his rookie year, I think he’ll be a rookie again next year, sort of like [Ben] Simmons, because of all the injuries.”
“I love this game to death, and I know stuff happens,” Fultz said after scoring 10 points with eight assists in his first game after a 68-game absence. “I just had a lot of teammates, front-office staff, and coaches who really supported me through these tough times. I just worked every day, that’s all it was. … It was a long journey to get here, and it felt good.”
JJ Redick: Happy to see you back out there ballin @MarkelleF 🙌🏻🙌🏻
Derek Bodner: Bryan Colangelo says the decision to return has been in Markelle’s court for a while now. “It’s about him being comfortable.” Says it’s been a gradual process, but has picked up pace lately. #Sixers.
Kyle Neubeck: Bryan Colangelo says the Sixers feel the 10 game period between now and end of the season is enough for them to make a determination whether he can be a contributor in the playoffs or not
Derek Bodner: Brett Brown on Markelle Fultz’s return: “He’s put in a lot of work. I’m thrilled to be able to offer him the opportunity to come join his teammates at this exciting time of the year.”
Molly French: BIG credit to @BillyLange4 for helping Markelle work towards this moment. I just spoke with Billy who told me there are no expectations tonight just excitement. He’s overcome a lot. People can speculate. More in-game on @NBCSPhilly. Bottom line: Kelle feels good about himself.
Jon Johnson: Markelle Fultz WILL play tonight
Kyle Neubeck: Brett Brown says he still doesn’t know how far the Sixers are away from a Fultz decision.
Jessica Camerato: A look at @Markelle Fultz pregame
The Sixers have only 14 regular-season games remaining. That begs the question of why bring him back at all? Brown’s answer was because Fultz can make the Sixers better. “This is the Holy Grail, the risk-reward of Markelle Fultz,” Brown said. “I’m tilting on reward. Maybe I’m right. Maybe I’m wrong. But that would be the answer that I give you.”
Derek Bodner: “I truly don’t know.” #sixers head coach Brett Brown says on whether Markelle Fultz will play this season. Says a decision will have to be made soon.
Jon Johnson: Brett Brown about Markelle Fultz on @MarksReeseWIP: ”We are going with the flow. He is getting better.” “To date there is no clear direction yet, and when we get him back, I look forward to it. But there is no end game, or definitive date we have set.”
Victor Oladipo made one thing obvious: He’s pulling for Markelle Fultz. […] Oladipo, 25, shared some of his advice for the 19-year-old Fultz. “Everybody’s path is different,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason. What he’s going through is only going to make him stronger and better as a man and a person. … His time is coming.”
Sixers coach Brett Brown said it hasn’t been determined if Fultz will return this season. However, there’s a good chance that he will do so and soon. Fultz’s shooting form has been looking close to normal in recent workouts. “His time is coming,” Oladipo said. “I know he’ll be ready for it, because I know he puts the work in.”
Oladipo, 25, shared some of his advice for the 19-year-old Fultz. “Everybody’s path is different,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason. What he’s going through is only going to make him stronger and better as a man and a person. … His time is coming.”
Derek Bodner: While there is optimism around the #Sixers on the progress Markelle Fultz is making, at this time there are no firm plans for the rookie guard to return this week, according to multiple sources.
Derek Bodner: This is in direct response to a forged image of an alleged report that Fultz would return on Friday. Sources deny any such plans exist. The tweet in question is fake. I have not been given any indication a Fultz return is imminent, just that team is encouraged by progress.
Jessica Camerato: Markelle Fultz free throws after shootaround:
Jessica Camerato: Brown on if there is a cut-off date for Fultz to play/not play this season: “It’s all internal discussions we’re going through right now and just trying to accurately assess his situation. And we’re discussing that as we speak.”
Keith Pompey: #Sixers coach Brett Brown on @Markelle Fultz’s three-point shot: “I think he’s getting better. I think it looks like it’s getting more comfortable.” Fultz drained some threes following today’s shootaround.
Jon Johnson: Per team source, there is no plan for Markelle Fultz to return in the immediate future/next few games. Nothing surprising.
The organization believes Fultz has developed a hitch over time and his case of the yips is strictly mental. Sources around the NBA have said people inside the Sixers organization have been telling league colleagues the same thing since October. However, let’s not forget what led reporters to investigate the obvious poor mechanics and alterations in his foul shooting and jump shots. Once they shut him down in late October, the Sixers speculated in their subsequent media availabilities that someone could have changed Fultz’s shot when he was back home in Maryland in August.
Perhaps as a way to protect him, the Sixers never fulfilled their obligation to make Fultz available to the public within a week after announcing that he would be sidelined for an extended period in October. The team still refuses to make him available to explain the whole situation even though they made him available for a nationally televised, agent-driven interview with TNT. A grievance was even filed through the Pro Basketball Writers Association by the local media in regards to speaking to Fultz.
Simmons called Fultz “an amazing young player” and admitted he hates guarding him in practice because of his impressive ability to attack the basket. Ben Simmons: It’s tough. The position he’s in. He’s so young coming into the NBA and then obviously having this injury. But he’s in a good position where he’s staying focused and working hard. I see him everyday in there trying to get back to where he was and he’s going to do that. It could be physical. It could be mental. I’m not too sure about the details, but I know he’s working hard every day. You see him trying to push back, but on the floor, even in practice, you can see he’s an amazing young player. I hate guarding him. He’s so good getting to the rim.
Markelle Fultz and his longtime trainer, confidant and family friend, Keith Williams, made significant alterations to his shooting form in the months leading up to the start of the Sixers’ season, according to multiple sources who spoke to The Athletic on the condition of anonymity. These changes were described as an effort to quicken his shot, shorten the dip in his shooting mechanics and bring his set point over to the right side of his body, according to sources with knowledge of the changes Fultz made over the summer.
Fultz and Williams returned to the gym at the conclusion of the Las Vegas Summer League in July, where they continued working to alter the former Washington guard’s jumper through the beginning of September, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. When Fultz returned to the team in the middle of September his lack of confidence in his new jump shot was immediately apparent, according to multiple sources. The team’s efforts to revert Fultz back to the shooting form he showed at Washington began almost immediately.
Williams is no stranger to grooming NBA prospects, having worked extensively with the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, Lonny Baxter, Marcus Thornton and many more. Reached by The Athletic, Williams denied having made significant changes to Fultz’s shot since he left Washington. Williams does acknowledge they have worked on what he said were a few minor alterations, including limiting the dip at the beginning of his shooting motion.
Over the course of the last six months, PhillyVoice has spoken to people in, around, and connected to the Sixers about what is going on with the kid who was supposed to be the final piece of their puzzle. What is most striking is the degree to which opinions on Fultz’s shot diverge depending on who it is you ask. Doctors explain how unprecedented this is for a basketball player, staffers point the finger at outside influences, and his own GM says publicly his range does not currently extend beyond the paint. All the while our subject in question remains silent, retweeting videos of what his shot used to look like as an avalanche of criticism floods his Twitter mentions. Markelle Fultz is surrounded by sound and fury. And once you begin to understand that, the disappearance of his jumper makes a lot more sense.
Comment or not, the evidence suggests someone is not being truthful here. Members of the organization expressed their frustration with Williams over the course of the last six months, viewing him as at least a portion of the problem. “Markelle left [the Sixers] at the end of July, and the shot looked fine from our view until he showed up for training camp,” one source told PhillyVoice in mid-November. “He wasn’t working by himself all that time.”
The Sixers, according to multiple people who spoke with PhillyVoice for this story, believe they are one of a small group of NBA teams with a setup that allows them to train players in virtual reality. It is something the organization has been toying with over the last half year or so, which they believe is primarily useful to help put players inside a game situation, like being part of an inbounds play. It is a way to keep them involved in the program when they can’t participate physically, as they’ve done with injured rookie Furkan Korkmaz.
With Fultz, there is a different motivation to get him behind the VR goggles. The Sixers, according to multiple sources, wanted him to be able to visualize the mechanics he’ll use in a game, to remember how easy it once was for him to rise up with the ball and shoot from anywhere on the court, and to be able to do so without the glare of the cameras or other people around him. With pressure coming down on him from all angles, turning part of a teenager’s job into a video game is one way to relieve the stress of the situation.
His reemergence in front of the public is also partially a product of his own desire to be out there and carrying on like normal, according to sources who spoke with PhillyVoice. Just as Joel Embiid has some autonomy in whether he suits up for a game, Fultz holds a lot of power in how his situation is handled. He does not want to be known as the kid who backed down from the challenge, knowing he has already overcome plenty to get here at all. The Sixers have currently chosen to empower that, rather than letting a teenager become consumed by inner demons away from the spotlight.
Some reports have (incorrectly) claimed or assumed this is the same thing as an imbalance. This is not the case, and in fact, a muscular imbalance can be a causative factor in dyskinesis. The Sixers already claimed the imbalance was fixed in early December, and sources who spoke to PhillyVoice confirmed the dyskinesis diagnosis Butler used as correct. We continue to see a problem that comes and goes in his shot, changing based on his distance from the hoop and whether he’s static or on the move. Dyskinesis remains, which is a small but critical detail in tying the various causes of his missing shot together.
Sources around the NBA have said that folks inside the organization have been telling league colleagues since October that it was mental. But if you needed any confirmation, it came during the Sixers’ ESPN televised game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 28. That’s when broadcaster Mark Jones said Sixers coach Brett Brown disclosed in a production meeting that Fultz was suffering from “psychosomatic effects” with his shooting. Translation: Jones said Brown acknowledged that Fultz has a mental block and psychological conflict that prevents him from shooting correctly.
Jones tweeted the follow night that Brown never actually used the word “psychosomatic.” However, his tweet didn’t deny that the coach told him it was a mental thing for the University of Washington product.
Sixers never fulfilled their obligation to make Fultz available to the public within a week after announcing that he would be sidelined for an extended period in October. The team still refuses to make him available to explain. However, the Sixers didn’t block an interview with TNT on Tuesday night that was set up by his agent. During that interview with Caron Butler, Fultz said he’s trying to “relearn” his shot.
“He’s working his [butt] off,” Redick said after Friday’s shootaround. “I understand that fans want to see his progress, but this is maybe going to a longer process than we all hoped for. He may be back on the court soon. I don’t know. That’s not my thing. “But I don’t get the coming in here every day to like watch him shoot pull-up jumpers. That’s a little obsessive.”
Jessica Camerato: Bryan Colangelo on Markelle Fultz: “There’s always a chance that he’s going to be out there soon, and there’s a chance that he’s not going to play this year. I can’t answer that question because we don’t know the answer to that.”
Derek Bodner: Other quick notes on Fultz: – They still don’t know if changing the shot caused the injury or if the injury caused the changed shot. – No timeline. Could come back in days or could be out the season. – Has to completely rebuild the muscle memory in his shooting mechanics
Bryan Fonseca: Markelle Fultz really working on the basics ahead of #Sixers vs #Nets tonight. @NetsDaily @DefPenHoops @SBNationNBA #NBA
ESPN’s Mark Jones and Doris Burke served as the broadcasters for Sunday’s Sixers-Thunder matchup. During the game, the duo referenced Fultz and the No. 1 pick’s recovery from a shoulder ailment that has limited him to just four games this season. “Brett Brown was telling us prior to the game tonight, prior to tip, that he speaks with Fultz, he works with Fultz and there seems to be some psychosomatic issues involved with getting over the hump and getting back on the court,” Jones said. “Brown says he continues to improve and he would expect that he would play at some point this year.” “I’m worried about the young man,” Burke added. “Nineteen years old. He clearly seems to be shaken where that jump shot is concerned. You just hope his confidence gets back where it needs to be.”
“It was completely misquoted. There was no reference to any of that,” Brown said before Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. “I’ve spoken with ESPN this morning. They’re very apologetic.” “Markelle Fultz’s injury has been well-documented. I have talked about this hundreds and hundreds of times. The story hasn’t wavered once. His shot has been affected by the injury. We’re trying to reclaim it. There are times when he rises up to shoot that he does feel a bite and it affects him. It’s really that simple.”
Keith Pompey: #Sixers guards @Markelle Fultz, @JJ Redick and @Furkan Korkmaz did not make the trip to Memphis.
The 19-year-old’s shooting stroke is so ugly and ineffective he remains sidelined even as he regains his health following a right shoulder injury. “I’m old, and I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said Monday of Fultz’s lost shot. “I really haven’t.”
Brown, who calls himself “a shooting coach at heart,” vows to help Fultz rediscover his shot. He plans to spend extra time with him at practice. The team has shielded Fultz from reporters since he was sidelined. “He’s a rise-up guy. He’s a live ball, off-the-dribble, rise-up guy. A Kyle Korver type, that wasn’t who he was,” Brown said. “He was a wiggly, do-what-he-wants-to-guard. So you go back and you say, ‘How can you find that again?'”
Jessica Camerato: During today’s media availability after practice, Markelle Fultz looked more effective driving the basket than pulling up for threes. Brett Brown on his shot: “It’s not where it used to be. His free throw, I think, is. But some of the longer shots and the rise ups are not.”
Derek Bodner: Brett Brown on Markelle Fultz’s shoulder: “I don’t know if we could say it’s 100%, the doctors could say that better than me, but it certainly is getting better.” Reporter: Does it need to be 100% for him to play? Brown: “I think what he needs to be is able to shoot a basketball.”
Fultz will miss his 35th consecutive game when the Sixers (19-19) “host” the Boston Celtics on Thursday afternoon at The 02 Arena here. The team said it’s unclear when he’ll return.
While he’s eager to play, the combo guard is elated to at least have joined his teammates in five-on-five scrimmages the past four days. However, he has yet to be cleared for full practices while rehabilitating from left shoulder soreness and muscle imbalance and working on his shot.
Markelle Fultz played full contact 5-on-5 during Sixers practice Sunday in Camden. Though still not considered a full-practice participant because of some small restrictions, Fultz looked good in his full contact play said coach Brett Brown.
Jessica Camerato: Brown said he does not expect Fultz to return to play for the game in London.
Michael C. Wright: From the Sixers: guard Markelle Fultz has been cleared to begin final stage of his return-to-play program. The program consists of gradual re-integration into team practices and training, complemented with additional conditioning work to support fitness readiness for gameplay.
Keith Pompey: #Sixers @Ben Simmons on @Markelle Fultz: “I know he wants to get out there. He can’t wait. I’m looking forward to playing with him just because the start of the season, you could see a lot of potential with him.I think we’re going to have a great chemistry once he gets back.”
Rehabbing rookie point guard Markelle Fultz is traveling with the Philadelphia 76ers on their West Coast road trip and is expected to take on more basketball activities, including team drills, on the trip.
There is still no timetable on an actual return to action, sources tell ESPN. Fultz, the No. 1 selection in the 2017 draft, has played in just four games this season because of a scapular muscle imbalance in his right shoulder. The Sixers shut down the point guard following a game on Oct. 23.
Jessica Camerato: Fultz walked by Brown as he was talking about the rookie’s health and status. “Put me in coach!” Fultz called out. “He’s engaged and he’s got a fantastic personality. He’s really got a charisma, personality that I think can grow into being a very respected leader,” Brown said.
Mike O’Connor: Colangelo on Fultz: “The soreness is completely gone. The muscle imbalance is completely gone.” Says there’s no timeline on his return, but “we anticipate that the end is near.”
Tom Moore: Brown: Still no timetable with Fultz. No update on his shoulder. #Sixers
Jessica Camerato: Markelle Fultz is back from Kentucky and with the Sixers. Brett Brown said his basketball activity was “minimal” on Wednesday. “We are just happy to have him back. I felt like I haven’t seen him in a long time,” Brown said.
Markelle Fultz is rehabilitating his right shoulder under the supervision of surgeon Ben Kibler at the Shoulder Center of Kentucky in Lexington. The 76ers combo guard arrived in Kentucky on Wednesday and will partake in physical therapy for a couple of days. He’s scheduled to return to the Philadelphia area later this week. Fultz is expected to go back to Kentucky in the next week or two to have his shoulder re-evaluated.
Jessica Camerato: Anderson, Fultz, Stauskas out tonight for Sixers.
The 76ers are expected to provide an update on Markelle Fultz’s right shoulder on Sunday. The first-overall pick in June’s NBA draft is in Lexington, Ky., this weekend to be reevaluated by surgeon Ben Kibler at the Shoulder Center of Kentucky. Kilber determined that Fultz had scapular muscle imbalance in addition to soreness in his shoulder during his first visit there on Oct. 29. Kilber is expected to reexamine Fultz’s shoulder on Sunday.
The guard previously visited two Major League Baseball doctors who specialize in shoulder injuries. All three doctors confirmed that there’s no structural damage in his shoulder.
Jessica Camerato: Bayless (wrist), Fultz (shoulder), Stauskas (ankle) out tonight. Okafor (upper respiratory) doubtful.
The Sixers have given Fultz assignments during the games. He is tasked with watching numerous elements on the floor from a distance. They hold him accountable outside the arena, too. As a guard in the Sixers’ system, Fultz could be asked to run the floor, which creates an even bigger need to keep up with the schemes. “We challenge him a little bit,” Robert Covington said. “Even though he’s not playing, he still has to see what’s happening. He’s doing a good job. We ask at various times, on the bench, we catch him off guard. He handles them very well. He’s engaged even though he’s not on the court. One thing I can say is even though he’s not playing, he’s still learning a lot.”
Keith Pompey: Nik Stauskas, Jerryd Bayless and Markelle Fultz are out tonight vs. #GoldenStateWarriors.
This series of mysterious events would seem to be even more rare for a player whose talent was worthy of making him the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. Yet this is what has happened to the Philadelphia 76ers’ Markelle Fultz. Quite simply, it’s baffling. “This is not normal,” an Eastern Conference general manager told Bleacher Report. “It’s perplexing.”
“That doesn’t add up at all,” Tim DiFrancesco, the co-founder of TD Athletes Edge who served as the Los Angeles Lakers’ head strength and conditioning coach for six seasons, told B/R. “Lots of players at the NBA level have scapular imbalance or a lack of appropriately conditioned muscles that attach to the shoulder blades, therefore leading to poor scapular mechanics.”
In addition to Colangelo’s suggestion that the altered shooting mechanics may have caused the pain, a league source told B/R that another theory the team is entertaining is that something happened to Fultz between summer league and the start of training camp—or, something new was introduced into Fultz’s offseason training.
Jessica Camerato: Markelle Fultz met with multiple specialists, including two Major League Baseball team doctors. They confirmed no structural damage.
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May 27, 2018 | 11:15 pm EDT Update
Brian Windhorst: LeBron James has won 6 straight Game 7s. He’s won a road game in 32 of last 33 series. He will play in his 9th Finals. This is perhaps the greatest Eastern Conference win of his career.