Markelle Fultz will miss three games due to his lingering shoulder soreness, an issue that GM Bryan Colangelo addressed at Wednesday morning’s shootaround.
Head coach Brett Brown had his chance to speak on the topic before the 7 p.m. tip off against Houston.
“I’m glad for him,” Brown said of his rookie guard. “I think we all understand that there were some things going on. And I feel like it’s a time where he can take a deep breath and we can help move him forward in a cleaner way. I’m looking at this as a positive.”
Brown on Fultz: pic.twitter.com/FitT9cCpoy
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) October 25, 2017
Brown was asked by Howard Eskin if he previously knew about the severity of the issue.
“You could feel it,” Brown said. “You could feel that he just wasn’t a hundred percent. I’ve been saying that for a while now.”
Esking followed up: Did the Sixers medical staff not express that the shoulder was a considerable problem?
“Not to the point where anybody was going to shut him down,” Brown explained. “I think, without getting into their side of it, and I say this with ease – when you have a first player chosen he’s struggling the way he was with his shot – I immerse myself in the chronological history of him in (high school), him at Washington, him at our own draft workout, summer league. And I’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of his shots. The thing I get out of it, as much as anything, when you leave watching it, you see clearly why he was the first chosen. He’s a baller. He can really, really play.”
Earlier, Colangelo suggested that Fultz’s shoulder soreness might be the result of him changing his shot mechanics back in August. Brown was asked if he had ever heard of that before.
“No, I haven’t. I don’t dismiss that it could have been a possibility. There is zero doubt that Markelle – in goodness in his heart and trying to do the right thing – tried to readjust his shot. He has historically been a left hip guy, and on his own he decided, with some help, to be able to try to improve it. Not maliciously, but trying to get better.”
At the same exact time Brown was speaking to media at Wells Fargo Center, Fultz’s trainer and mentor, Keith Williams, was on 94 WIP’s Carlin and Reese show… saying the exact opposite.
This exchange begins with Williams being read Brown’s comments, almost in real-time:
Williams: “Oh my God.”
Carlin: “What’s your reaction?”
Williams: “That’s false.”
Carlin: “Not true?”
Williams: “That’s not true.”
Carlin: “It all has to do that he was injured and he was trying to alter it?”
Williams: “Yeah… just from the standpoint of why would a kid attempt to change his shot, he shot it so well. So I’m like, what would be the reason behind that?”
Williams, despite this exchange, was complimentary of the Sixers during the rest of the interview, which you can listen to here. But he becomes the second Fultz associate in 24 hours to contradict the team (and in doing so, make them look bad). Yesterday, Fultz’s agent wound up walking back a quote about Fultz getting fluid drained from his shoulder. In this case, it’s hard to imagine that the Sixers would be outright lying here. From the sounds of it, according to his trainer, who has some incentive to not look like the responsible party, Fultz experienced some soreness, began to tinker with his shot as a result, and then the rest is just semantics, lost in translation and resulting in some finger pointing. I wouldn’t be shocked if these comments wind up getting “clarified” as well.
Brown, to his credit, does more media availability than any other coach in Philadelphia. He’s the de facto guy for injury questions and winds up being the point man on pretty much all communication, whether he’s an expert in that area or not.
He was asked specifically about that role Wednesday evening.
“Here I am in front of everybody, and I don’t mind doing this. It’s not difficult for me. I think the area where you start getting into diagnosis and projections on fair questions, duration, I don’t know any of that stuff. I can talk as a coach and I can tell you about his shot and I can tell you what I think the connection is to his swagger and to his confidence and the fact that he’s 19. I can do all of that. In relation to how we disseminate information, I think we are unfairly scrutinized. Sometimes. I get (it regarding) the past, and we own stuff. Nobody’s trying to hide from stuff. But the purpose this year with Daniel Medina, and Bryan had to come out today, that’s unfortunate. That’s not who we are. That’s not who they are. That is not who they are. I understand that we have been put in funny situations. But in relation to my role, when it comes up about basketball stuff, I’m good to go. I’m fine talking to y’all.”
Both Kevin Kinkead and Kyle Scott worked on this post