UPDATE:Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz has been cleared to begin the 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.
This latest article from Keith Pompey Markelle Fultz is falling behind; it's time for him to play mainly tells us what we all know already. The main point that #1 overall pick Markelle Fultz needs to get on the basketball court and get real, healthy playing time under his belt sooner rather than later if he's going to "catch up" enough to help Philly make a playoff push.
I don't subscribe to a big worry about "falling behind" for Fultz because Brett Brown has emphasized already that they are spending a lot of time working with Markelle on the mental aspects and I presume the Sixer's playbook part of the game even though he hasn't been in the teams physical practice drills. That should somewhat speed up Fultz's time to adjust to the team just as it apparently did with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid when they jumped in after a long rehab period.
What I do find more news worthy and interesting is the mention of a new shooting trainer working with Fultz.
His on-court work has mostly consisted of individual shooting-form drills with former NBA sharpshooter Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
Chris Jackson who later became Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was definitely a real Steph Curry prototype in terms of his basketball skills.
It is a bit odd that they or he would bring on a new shooting coach at this point in the season.
Abdul-Rauf training implies a reworked shooting form instead of Fultz going back to his college form.
Markelle was already an elite shooter in college, except for his FT%. College Chris Jackson had a all time great shooting form and NBA Abdul-Rauf had a much quicker release than Fultz which also translated to a 90% free thow shooter!
To appreciate how good of a shooter Abdul-Rauf was and evidently still is, check out a couple of videos:
Remember, shooters like Jordan and Abdul-Rauf were shooting like this before the 3 point revolution encouraged players to focus on 3's and shoot even more 3 point shots than they did back then.
You might not be able to find a better shooter to model after for Fultz other than bringing Steph Curry himself over to work out with Markelle!
That all would be great for Fultz to pick up but seems unlikely to be something you make a quick change to while maintaining a 40% ish 3 point shot accuracy. One might expect such big change to be pursued in the offseason rather than immediately in a playoff push.
I view it similar to the ideal scenario where Ben Simmons changes his jump shot and free throw to his more natural right hand in the off season, if he does so, when he has time to make the adjustment stick. I certainly hope Simmons pursues this because for as long as he has been playing basketball, there's no good reason he should be as reluctant a shooter and free thrower as he is unless he's been forcing his jump shot to the off hand all these years.
But this post is about Fultz. Its certainly possible that Fultz is in fact working on his own slower but still very nice jump shooting form from college.
Is he rehabbing and starting to rework his shooting form at the same time or is this just an initial connection to an all time great shooter while Fultz works on returning to his college shooting form?