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Okay, We Have to Talk About Markelle

NBA London Game 2018 - Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC Soccer Match Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Less than two weeks ago, Jeff Gonick wrote a piece here where he offered to buy up all the Markelle Fultz stock you were selling. It was well-researched, well-reasoned, and well-thought out. Still, he should probably hit an ATM.

Since Fultz’s shoulder...let’s call it an “issue”...we’ve seen very little by way of clear footage and evidence of his shot. Before yesterday, here’s what we had:

Okay, we had more, but not much and it wasn’t too dissimilar. Those looks, along with the whole “issue” that’s been happening, have spawned multiple pieces about how Fultz is, or could be, a total bust. While the whole situation is more than a little worrisome, it’s way too early to declare “bust” on Fultz’s career when he’s played four career games, while dealing with the issue, and hasn’t been back on the court since. Yesterday, we got this:

The main site’s Tim Cato wrote about some of his concerns with the footage:

It is, in a word, baffling. In another: terrifying. The 76ers traded up two spots and gave up an additional potential top-five pick to select Fultz as a centerpiece in their highly regarded future, and the first three months have been nothing short of bewildering. That Fultz’s jumper still looks so different — and, frankly, worse — is hardly a good sign.

Cato gets to the point at the end of the piece that there were “several reasons why Fultz was the first-overall pick,” and no one should be writing him off yet. For many, it’s the only rational explanation. Fultz has the yips, or his shoulder is screwed up, or he always secretly stunk and Danny Ainge looked into his crystal basketball and saw it.

And I’m not here to tell you not to be worried. I’m worried. Look at this:

The Fultz situation has turned everyone with eyes and an internet connection into an expert on shooting mechanics in the same way it turned all of us into medical professionals with degrees specializing in the bones of the foot for three years. It seems dire. Like I said, I’m not here to tell you not to worry.

But I am here to remind you. I am here to remind you of how wrong you felt people were when they were calling Ben Simmons a bust because he hurt his foot. Or when they were calling Joel Embiid a blown pick as he missed his second full season, reports came out that he was out of shape an lacked a work ethic, and it seemed there was a 50+% chance he may never lace up his sneakers again. Sure, the Fultz situation is different (most likely). And as I have said - and I will stress it again just so you know that I am - it’s natural and fine to be worried, but all of that bust talk is here way too early. Four games is not enough. Hell, 40 games is not enough to declare someone busted. Cato ends his piece thusly:

Fultz is probably an NBA player even without a jump shot. But it’s concerning that the consensus No. 1 pick’s very first month in the NBA was so bizarre that he took three months off, and that he still hasn’t fixed the reason he took all that time off to begin with.

He’s right on every single one of those points, but the sky is not falling. One day it may - and outside of basketball that day may be approaching with some speed - but it’s not here yet.

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