Posts for Markelle Fultz

Markelle Fultz and Orlando Will be a Perfect Match

Coggin Toboggan - February 15, 2019

An old Chinese riddle has puzzled philosophers and seekers of truth for decades.

“If the first overall pick of the NBA draft takes a parting shot at the city and the coach that supported him for two angst-filled years, does anyone care?”

All apologies to Danny Watkins, but the biggest draft bust in Philadelphia history just couldn’t help himself. Markelle Fultz couldn’t resist taking one last passive aggressive shot at the coaching staff, fans, and city that cheered every awkward attempted three pointer, every herky jerky free throw, and every head-scratching excuse for an ever-devolving jump shot the cherubic cheeked failure could throw at us.

At least this time he said it to reporters instead of posting it on social media like a 16-year-old girl who was just dumped by her boyfriend before the big Spring Fling Dance.

You really can’t trust NO ONE !! How could he have done this to me?!” We get it, Emma, enough already.

Talking to the assembled Orlando Magic media for the first time since being traded for a case of floor wax and Jonathon Simmons, Fultz decided it would be the perfect opportunity to toss a molotov cocktail at the franchise that went to exorbitant lengths to protect him and his delicate psyche at every turn.

During his introductory press conference, Fultz pontificated on what excited him about the change of scenery from Philadelphia and what would enable him to be a better player for Orlando:

“It just excites me to know that I have a coach that’s going to push you to be better and not just going to tell you what you want to hear,” Fultz said.

Oh, so that’s what Fultz needed….he just needed some tough love to reach the dizzying heights of a so far wasted professional career. He wasn’t held back by a mysterious pseudo-injury, or the yips, or a domineering mother, or his inability to ride a BMX bike…no no no, it was the yes men in Philadelphia that didn’t challenge him enough who held him back from truly being great.

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Now Is Not The Time to Give Up On Markelle Fultz

Tim Reilly - December 7, 2018

On Wednesday’s edition of Pardon the Interruption, NBA analyst Doris Burke offered an insightful take on the Markelle Fultz situation. Fultz, who was recently diagnosed with Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, has endured national ridicule for a hitch that has hampered the mechanics of his jump shot and free throw form.

Burke’s commentary is worth considering in full, and I have transcribed it below:

“You know, this is hard for me. I am the mother of a twenty-four year old son. And so the first prism through which I look at this, guys, is that of a mom. And if my son were going through this, it would be incredibly difficult to watch. We are evaluating a twenty year old in incredible scrutiny, under incredible performance pressure. It’s been over a year issue. It feels to me, personally, like if I were his mom I’d almost want him in a different organization, just to give him a fresh start. The reality is, this is a business decision for the Sixers. Brett Brown continues to be supportive. He keeps talking, saying I’m going to coach him like a son, not like the number 1 pick in the draft. I think Markelle’s inner circle has given him some interesting advice over time. I don’t know that there’s a positive outcome on either side. I’m just hopeful for the young man, that he can either (1) come back healthy in the timetable given- now 6 weeks- or (2) maybe somehow he moves to another place.”

Burke’s compassionate perspective stood out particularly because it was offered on an ESPN program. To say the network has leaned into the Fultz story would be an understatement. Earlier in the day on First Take, Stephen A. Smith had proclaimed Fultz “the biggest bust in NBA history,” and asserted in the same segment that “this man has some personal demons that are none of our business.” One month earlier, Fultz’s awkward free throw in a game against the Miami Heat was played for laughs and offered as fodder on a number of ESPN platforms, including First Take and The Jump.

ESPN is not alone among sports outlets in reveling in Fultz’s struggles; however, given the network’s venerable status and its broadcast partnership with the NBA, it is unquestionably a major amplifier. Armed with seemingly endless B-roll footage of Fultz lowlights and an impressive array of analysts, the network has considerable power in shaping the narrative around a player.

And, more than ever before, ESPN is in the storytelling business. SportsCenter long ago ceded its monopoly over the sports highlight market; in its place is a relentless brand construction and destruction machine masquerading as a highlights and analysis program. Continue Reading

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Right Now the Chasm Between Jayson Tatum and Markelle Fultz is a Deep and Dark One

Coggin Toboggan - October 17, 2018

I caught myself doing a slight fist-pump three minutes into the second quarter of the 76ers game as Markelle Fultz nailed a 14-foot jump shot for his first points of the year. I found myself saying out-loud in an empty room that his shot “didn’t look THAT bad.”

It didn’t look that bad?

I’m happy that the 2017 NBA draft #1 overall pick’s 14-foot jump shot didn’t look THAT bad?

There would be no more fist pumps after that moment. Just depression. And frustration.

Three minutes into the second quarter Fultz notched his first points of the game after taking only three shots. Until that point he was largely invisible, just a nondescript player bringing the ball up the court, immediately looking to give it up to either Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid, and then almost hoping to disappear into the comfortable area beyond the three-point line where he could observe the action undisturbed.

By the time Fultz made his first not-as-quite-herky-jerky-but-still-slowly-developing jump shot, Jayson Tatum already had 12 points and was making his impact felt on both ends of the court.

Tatum poured in another 11 points to pace the Celtics in their decisive season-opening victory over the Sixers. Fultz would spend almost the entire second half on the bench drinking Gatorade.

The chasm between the two players has never been deeper, darker, or more evident than it was last night. If you fell into the black abyss and screamed out “trust the process,” it would echo back 10-times over before you finally hit the hard, cold ground.

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Bryan Colangelo on Markelle Fultz, His Skill Set, and Playing Him at the Point

Kevin Kinkead - March 27, 2018

Bryan Colangelo spoke at length about Markelle Fultz’s return to the floor before last night’s game.

It went on for about 21 minutes and didn’t wrap up until shortly before tip-off, so I think most of his quotes kind of got lost in the shuffle as the focus turned to Markelle’s performance and his post game locker room availability.

I wanted to go back through the general manager’s press conference this afternoon and pick out some of the more interesting passages to talk about.

I’ll start with his explanation for Fultz’s shoulder injury. Colangelo has said from the start that he is not sure how it happened:

“It was diagnosed as a scapular imbalance by a well-known expert in Kentucky and the cause is unknown at this stage. We don’t know where it started, when it started, but it was sometime from the time we saw him in summer league – when everyone saw that he did not have a shoulder problem and there was no indication there was a problem with his shot – to something that very quickly rose to awareness in late September and early October as we started the season. Once it was determined that he really was not able to function, we dove deeper to determine whether or not there was something going on. Even though an MRI showed that there was no structural concerns, there was a scapular imbalance, as determined by the doctor in Kentucky. It literally was just a breakdown of muscle function. We don’t know enough about the injury. It’s very uncommon in basketball. It’s very complicated and complex, and that’s why there’s been so much unknown here.

We certainly apologize if we have not been clear, but I could not be more clear. We’re not sure when it happened or how it happened, but it happened. And what we’ve seen is a hard-working young man and a hard-working staff that has done everything possible to get him ready for this moment, to get back out on the court and do what he loves to do, play basketball.”

That’s Colangelo’s explanation. Fultz decided not to talk about it, so now we’ve asked both sides what happened and you can draw your own conclusions from there.

Now to the important stuff – Markelle’s future with the team and how he fits in.

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Markelle Fultz Is Playing Tonight

Kevin Kinkead - March 26, 2018

That’s the word from Brett Brown.

Markelle Fultz is cleared to play and will come off the bench tonight to spell Ben Simmons. Expect to see him on the court for 14 or 15 minutes in a ball-handling role.

Brown says Fultz came to him earlier on Monday and said that he’s ready to go, obviously feeling healthy and ready to contribute after missing more than five months of action since a shoulder issue took him out of the starting lineup in October.

Brown’s first two quotes from pregame:

“It was his decision. It’s been fluid and you know I get goose bumps telling you all that. I’m so proud of him and the people around him have all done great things. I give that kid credit. He will be with us tonight. I’ll bring him off the bench as Ben’s backup and give him the ball. Justin will not play tonight and I’ll move T.J. over. We’ll rotate the group accordingly. I see it being a very, initially a drip feed – it’s March, it’s game 71. He’s 19. There needs to be an intelligent, realistic plan for him and we’re all going to learn, see where this plays out. But it’s just fantastic news for him.”

More Brett:

“I’m so proud of him, and the people around him, and the experience that I think is gonna be a positive one for him, where it’s just so atypical with what went on with the first player chosen. We can look in the rear view mirror and see a bunch of different things, but to come out of this – and he looks confident, his body is off the charts good and we’ve been practicing and playing and his individual work – Billy Lange has been a star for him, getting him in shape. The collective efforts of Ned Cohen and Bryan Colangelo and the medical people and his teammates – here we are. I think to be able to share that news with the city of Philadelphia and the fans and, you know, you folks in the media, it’s a good day.”

“Markelle and I have been talking a lot and never was it at a stage where, it’s definitely gonna happen. Today I felt something good with the performance he’s been having in practice and some workouts, and you could tell hes got a confidence and a spirit. You could see that. He came to me and, ‘Coach, I’m ready to play. I want to play tonight.'”

“I’ve been giving him the ball (in practice). He’s had the ball, he’s getting up and down the floor. He’s elite in the open court. We’re always challenging him defensively. I think it’s going to be easier for him to impact the game in ope court. It’s gonna be tough territory initially, chasing those guards around, NBA movement and speed and sets – that’s going to be a foreign experience for him. But we have 10 games before the playoffs. I’ve said for a long time, the risk/reward, I’m gonna lean on reward. He’s different than anything we have. And most importantly, for his sake, 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.”

How long has the ball been in his court?

“Not long – he’s always been sort of the primary driver, but he’s had a collective group of people that figured this out. Only recently did we feel like he’s ticked all the medical (boxes), (that) when he’s ready to play we’re certainly ready to have you. He offered me that news a little while ago.”

Bryan Colangelo spoke to us pregame. It’s waaaaaaaaaaaay too long to transcribe, but he says they still don’t know what Markelle did to his shoulder.

I recommend watching the video:

Markelle will speak after the game.

James Young was also waived.


Markelle Fultz Named In NCAA Corruption Probe For Allegedly Taking Money

Bob Wankel - February 23, 2018

If Sixers rookie Markelle Fultz was hoping that we would stop talking about his broken jumper (and psyche), I think, and this is just a hunch, that he’s about to get his wish–for a day. Maybe.

An explosive(!) report dropped this morning by Yahoo! Sports cites hundreds of pages of FBI documents in detailing wide-ranging potential rules violations committed by some of college basketball’s biggest names and programs.

The report focuses on the dealings of former NBA agent Andy Miller, his ex-associate Christian Dawkins, and the ASM Sports Agency. The documents reveal what could be a major headache for up to 20 NCAA programs and up to 25 current and former players, which allege that ASM worked with programs and players to get them to sign with the agency. Among the players reported to have taken money? That’s right—you guessed it. Markelle Fultz. The top pick of the 2017 NBA Draft reportedly received $10,000 from ASM, but didn’t go on to sign with the agency. Boss move.

Other notable players accused of taking money who appear in the report include Dennis Smith Jr. ($73,500), Isaiah Whitehead ($37,657), and Kyle Kuzma ($9,500).
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Joel Embiid Suggests that Markelle Fultz’s People Have Not “Had His Back”

Kevin Kinkead - February 13, 2018

Lost in the dazzling glow of a T.J. McConnell TRIPLE-DOUBLE was a post-game Joel Embiid interview featuring an interesting tidbit about Markelle Fultz.

Embiid went on NBA TV after Monday’s night’s win and was asked about the situation surrounding the injured rookie guard. The relevant passage begins around the 5:01 mark:

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Transcript: Bryan Colangelo (and JJ Redick) on Markelle Fultz

Kevin Kinkead - February 9, 2018

With respect to the Sixers organization, Bryan Colangelo’s Friday availability was 75% non-answer, 15% useful information, and 10% off-topic questions from media members who missed the point.

Because the only topic of the day should have been Markelle Fultz, and what exactly is going on with the rookie’s bum shoulder.

In the interest of context, I’ll post the full transcript here, but first some bullet points:

  • Colangelo says they still don’t know how the shoulder injury happened.
  • There’s no timeline for a return. Colangelo would not rule Fultz out for the season, but said he may or may not play, which answers nothing.
  • He reiterated that Fultz has to relearn his mechanics as a result of the shoulder injury.
  • It seems to me like Fultz’s agent and his people are still at odds with the team, especially based on the TNT interview Fultz did the other night that apparently was organized without the Sixers’ public relations staff.

Anyway, here’s the transcript. I took out the bullshit questions about the trade deadline and anything not concerning Markelle’s injury:

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