- Markelle Fultz has struggled shooting the ball, both in the preseason and regular season.
- According to his agent, Fultz had his shoulder drained after an injury that is apparently so bad that he “literally cannot raise up his arms to shoot.”
- It’s unclear if Fultz will miss any time with the injury, but the Philadelphia 76ers ought to be cautious with their No. 1 draft pick.
One week into his NBA career, Philadelphia 76ers rookie Markelle Fultz is reportedly dealing with a shoulder injury that sounds worrisome.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Fultz, the No. 1 pick of the 2017 draft, had his right shoulder drained one week before the season because of a shoulder injury.
Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, told Wojnarowski that Fultz “literally cannot raise up his arms to shoot the basketball.” Brothers said Fultz wanted to play through the pain for the team.
The injury has apparently completely changed the way Fultz shoots the ball, something the NBA world started to notice in the preseason. Fultz, who shot 47% from the field in college and 41% from three, was suddenly pushing the ball in front of him, most noticeably on free throw attempts.
Here was the attempt that drew attention to his shoulder during the preseason.
It’s only gotten worse during the season. Fultz is averaging 6.0 points per game on 33% shooting and has not yet attempted a three-pointer. His free throw shooting hasn’t gotten any better, either, as he’s shooting 50% on 12 attempts.
During preseason, 76ers coach Brett Brown said he thought Fultz’s shoulder was bothering him more than he let on. However, the 76ers apparently did not think the injury was bad enough to have Fultz sit.
The effects have been obvious. Fultz was the consensus No. 1 pick in the draft for his ability to play both guard positions. Fultz can handle the ball, get to the rim, and break down defences, or play off the ball and spread the floor with his shooting. Yet through four games, Fultz hasn’t taken a shot beyond 14 feet.
According to ESPN, there’s no decision yet on whether he will sit to let the shoulder heal. While the 76ers would like to make the playoffs this season and be competitive, that should come as a second priority to making sure their 19-year-old, No. 1 pick is healthy enough to raise his arm.
Biggest problem with Fultz free throw is that he starts it at shoulder height. Needs to start at waist level for rhythm and POWER pic.twitter.com/CExnUgao4r
— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) October 9, 2017
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