Just when you’ve normalized the bizarre occurrences that so frequently engulf the Philadelphia 76ers, the unheard of happens yet again. In the middle of tonight’s Sixers game vs. the Miami Heat, right before our very eyes, Markelle Fultz appeared to fully regress to 2017 Markelle Fultz form:
This is worse than we have ever seen Fultz's free throw form look. pic.twitter.com/FhCYpNpd5b— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) November 13, 2018
Just about 15 minutes after Markelle Fultz’ above free throw, Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype tweeted that Markelle Fultz and Drew Hanlen were “no longer working together or on speaking terms.”
Markelle Fultz and Drew Hanlen are no longer working together or on speaking terms, according to league sources. No word on why the two parted ways, but their relationship deteriorated about three weeks ago. Prior to this falling out, Fultz spent the summer training with Hanlen.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) November 13, 2018
If you had one guess, who do you suppose fed this information to Alex Kennedy? No better time for Drew Hanlen, who this summer proclaimed Fultz an All-Star in waiting, to cut ties after Fultz seems to have had a setback.
It’s really not much of a surprise to hear that Fultz and Hanlen are no longer working together. Just a week ago, Drew Hanlen tweeted (and then deleted) that Fultz was “not healthy”, which logically led some to believe Hanlen was insinuating that Fultz was injured.
This week’s latest #NBATwitter beef is Sixers fans vs. Drew Hanlen. You’re either team Pure Sweat or Team Pure Sucka there is no in-between. pic.twitter.com/kb1uaXB1kC— Jeff McDevitt (@JeffMcDev) November 5, 2018
When Fultz was questioned regarding rumors that he wasn’t healthy, Fultz said the following, courtesy of Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philly:
“Nobody’s ever 100 percent healthy in this game. You play five games in seven days, you get bumps and bruises. That’s life in the NBA, that’s what you sign up for when you get here. But I’m working every day to get better.”
Levick noted coach Brett Brown’s response to the situation:
While Brown said he thinks Hanlen is “really good at his job,” he understandably wasn’t thrilled about his tweet.
“We wished he didn’t,” he said. “We wished he didn’t, and we move on. Elton [Brand] as our general manager will deal and has dealt with it. We’ll move on.”
From Fultz and Brown’s comments, it’s easy to see that some tension was building between Hanlen and Fultz/the Sixers camp. I’d say it’s likely that Hanlen’s tweet caused Markelle and the Sixers to cut ties with Hanlen. I can’t prove that Hanlen was the one leaking information of the separation to Alex Kennedy. But the timing is certainly suspicious.
Update (10:45 pm):
When asked about the free throw in the second quarter, Markelle Fultz said that the ball slipped out of his hands.— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) November 13, 2018