The Philly Fultz Factor

Once again a recurring theme of myopic media commentary is requiring a rational look follow up and yes a little positive love spin around the Markelle Fultz situation in Sixer land.

Now that the Colangelo burner account fiasco has faded just a little bit, and King James talk is centered more around LA than Philly, we still see the most nonsensical irrational posts and stories out there about the Sixers #1 overall pick of 2017 Markelle Fultz.

Let's eliminate some of the speculation noise and look at our small but real NBA game sample size to consider what Philadelphia might expect the Fultz Factor to potentially be on the current Sixers roster.

Brett Brown was asked about the effect on Free Agency as he took the interim GM role with the departure of former GM Bryan Colangelo. In his response he said free agents will be more interested in other things like playing next to Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz and what the coaching direction and team culture is much more than caring who is in the GM role.

Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz? Interesting. Right now most probably know the big 3 in Philly reality is more like Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric but Brown put Markelle Fultz in the headline giving the Sixers a BIG FOUR right now even without free agency or the 2018 draft.

Much of the fans and media act as though Markelle Fultz hasn't shown anything yet. Many remarks are along the lines of Fultz either as a bust which is incredibly knee jerkish or as if Fultz is an unknown. Its as if these fans and media forget that Markelle Fultz DID return and play 10 real NBA games to close the season.

These fans and media commentators remember for some reason that Brown chose not to really use Fultz in the Playoffs with his short in season experience. Brett Brown in fact changed and shortened his rotation going into the playoffs. Brown left off the Holmes and Anderson's and McConnell's as Fultzs that were part of the on fire rotation to close the season. Choosing the traditional shortened playoff rotation Coach Brown was clearly not comfortable to run the same rotation that earned him a franchise record 16 game winning streak.

Markelle on top of having on 14 games total experience going into Philly's 1st playoff appearance was on shortened leash right away because the Coach, getting his first NBA Playoff Head Coach experience was immediately in WIN-NOW mode. Brown was not coaching with any experimentation or development time in mind. Even the experienced TJ who Brown trusts didn't get a decent run until the Celtics forced his hand. That rotation adjustment was clearly too late to turn the series so its clear that Fultz was simply not going get a real chance.

Given the rookie playoff coaching challenge Brown was working through and the little fact that Fultz's shot and shoulder were, and are still in REHAB it wasn't really realistic to expect Fultz Factor in the '18 playoffs.

Markelle Fultz did not score with one rebound and one assist in four minutes against the Heat on Thursday.

He did get some run next to Joel Embiid, which is rare because those two only played 31 minutes together in their careers before tonight. However, he was lost on defense, so coach Brett Brown couldn't go back to him.

So that's the type of "playoffs" appearance and throw-in-the-fire minutes that some media and fan knee jerkers are holding against the 19 year old Fultz? He's supposed to be compared with Jayson Tatum who played and learned all season with a much more seasoned Celtics roster (and playoff experienced head coach in Brad Stevens) anchored by Al Horford in his best season.

The same knee jerkers forget that Fultz gave a brief but clear look at how he could not only play in the NBA but also fit with current Sixers while contributing to the teams franchise best winning streak to close the season.

Since some people have faulty memories and apparently don't remember anything but the negative news on the young Mr. Fultz, let's take a look back at the brief but real NBA game based Philly Fultz Factor based on the time Markelle spent playing with the Sixers. This is all based on the player that hasn't yet recovered his jump shot because as he acknowledges the muscle control in his shooting stroke was not and is not yet 100%.

Fultz without a reliable jump shot factored in to a Philadelphia lineup that was just trying to address a clear weakness of bench depth. The Sixers although having definite positive season clearly lacked depth and punch on the bench rotation. To address this, the team went out and picked up a couple of veteran shooters in Marco Belinelli and Ersan İlyasova. After a lot of speculation about whether the #1 pick would play at all the rest of the season the team decided the time was right and also added to the new deeper rotation a returning rookie Markelle Fultz.

So lets take a look at what now Coach/Interim GM Brett Brown might be looking at when he says Free Agents should want to play with Ben Simmons / Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz (maybe Brown should be mentioning that Philly has a big FOUR already with Dario Saric ).

Enter the Fultz Factor.

Sixers extend win streak as Markelle Fultz returns in blowout

The Sixers went 2 for 2 Monday with a 123-104 win over the Nuggets and a solid return by Markelle Fultz.

Their 43rd victory of the season was really a side note in Fultz’s first game since Oct. 23 because of a right shoulder injury.

The 2017 No. 1 pick scored 10 points (5 for 13 from the field), dished eight assists and grabbed four rebounds over 14 minutes backing up Ben Simmons off the bench.

Sixers' 10-game win streak

The Sixers have won 10 games in a row, two without Joel Embiid, in their fight to stay in the top half of the Eastern Conference and secure home-court advantage for the playoffs. Here are 10 numbers that stand out through the current win streak.

68 That’s how many games Markelle Fultz missed before returning on March 26 in the midst of the Sixers’ 10-game tear. In his four games back, Fultz has totaled 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 19 assists with just two turnovers. He has also grabbed four steals, blocked a shot, and shot 3-of-4 from the free-throw line.

Winning Streak Reaches 11 With Convincing Win Over Nets

Markelle Fultz had logged 20 minutes off the bench. It was his most extensive involvement since rejoining the fray last week. He pitched in with 10 points on 5 for 8 shooting.

A Twist in the Rotation

An interesting wrinkle emerged in the Sixers’ rotation just past the eight-minute mark of Tuesday’s third quarter, as Markelle Fultz was paired up with Ben Simmons for the first time since returning to action last week.

The duo, consisting of the NBA’s two most recent no. 1 draft picks, logged nearly three and a half minutes together, the Sixers outscoring Brooklyn by one during the stretch. Fultz scored on a baseline jumper and driving lay-up, and was also credited for an assist. Simmons, too, had a helper.

Brett Brown said he liked the pace the pairing produced, and the way the Sixers moved the ball with both Fultz and Simmons simultaneously sharing the backcourt.

"It felt great," Fultz said of his brief run with Simmons. "He’s a great player, obviously a point guard. He can do multiple things, pass the ball. It felt good to get a little taste out there with him."

Prior to Tuesday, Fultz and Simmons had been used together for 31 minutes, all during Fultz’s first four appearances of the season, which came before his 68-game absence.

Simmons said he had fun playing with Fultz again.

"Having somebody who can run the floor and get to the rim and make plays makes it a lot easier for me," said Simmons.

Markelle Fultz is proving he deserved to be the No. 1 pick

Philadelphia 76ers fans were busy analyzing the daily practice videos and GIFs showing Markelle Fultz’s mysteriously broken jumper just a few months ago. Now they’re celebrating a playoff-bound team on a historic 16-game winning streak that has a real chance to make a deep run, in part because of the play of Fultz, who has been sensational off the bench.

Fultz only just returned after a long absence on March 26th, but he’s been a solid scoring option for the Sixers’ second unit in limited minutes – and the superstar potential is clearly there.

So Fultz comes in with only 4 injured NBA games of experience, still working with a busted shoulder (yeah, pain free but not rehabbed) and still throws down the youngest ever triple double to close out the season.
Still people only remember that he couldn't break into the playoffs?

So what might the Fultz Factor be on the current Sixers roster? Of course there's much TBD but we do know that when Fultz played in the rotation to close the season, it was part a very nice look.
The Sixers’ 16-game win streak set an NBA record for consecutive wins heading into the playoffs.

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