As the No.1 pick in what was, one would project, a very deep NBA Draft class, the 76ers have invested a lot in Markelle Fultz and are counting on him to be a cornerstone of their franchise.
Fultz is known for his effortless ability to score in a variety of ways including from deep as he shot 41% from three in his one season at Washington.
So why were Jerry Bayless and other 76ers defenders reportedly playing way off of him and daring him to shoot in the 76ers scrimmage over the weekend? Apparently Fultz tried to tweak his jump shot on his own this off-season and it is not working out for him thus far.
Here is what 76ers Head Coach Brett Brown told David Murphy of the Philadelphia Enquirer about the situation…
“No (he’s not comfortable with it), and so we’re gonna get back on track. His heart is in the right place. All by himself, he pivoted out over the summer and tried to make it better and tweak it, and he’s in a place right now where we’re gonna try to remind him where his shot was and try to bring that back into probably more a tighter shot, bring his release point down a little bit, bring the ball closer to his body. We have a Team Markelle all around him to help him, and he’s gonna be just fine.”
You have to appreciate Brown’s candor here, basically admitting that Fultz tried to alter his jump shot on his own and the organization (read between the lines) is slightly annoyed by it, but they have faith that they will be able to help him regain his previous confidence in his jump shot and find a happy medium for him that feels familiar but has slightly better mechanics.
Here is what Brown to told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jessica Camareto about Fultz:
“His percentages revealed that he’s a more-than-capable shooter,” Brown said. “I think right now him trying to figure out how to not overcomplicate things and maybe make over something that didn’t need to be made over as much as he might of thought is a challenge.”
Fultz’s free throw form looks way different as well as you can see in this comparison of him shooting a free throw during a 76ers practice and during a Washington game last season…
Interesting how dramatically different Markelle Fultz's FT stroke looks here compared to @ UW (65%). Has lowered release point considerably. pic.twitter.com/6REIFX0qtR
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) September 28, 2017
Fultz is young and he will figure it out, he may struggle as many players do coming out of college and trying to adjust to the rigors of the NBA and playing against grown men, but I am sure he and the team will develop a jump shot that works for him.
He will need it playing alongside another young star notorious for not having a very sweet stroke in 2016 NBA Draft No. 1 pick Ben Simmons.