Markelle Fultz was featured in the latest spot by The Players’ Tribune. In the 17 minute video he chats with another NBA player who attended the University of Washington, Isaiah Thomas. During their conversation, clips from Fultz’s summer of working on his shooting form with trainer Drew Hanlen are shown.
Some Sixers fans feel they have already seen the light:
There is a series of catch-and-shoot attempts where he steps into the shot above the break on the right side that look pretty good, much cleaner than in September of 2017 and also better than the three pointer he attempted against Detroit back in April, which he short-armed.
At a recent event, Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown discussed how he “likes his three-point shooters to start further off the arc and step into their shot, rather than hugging the line in a catch and shoot situation. Brown describes this as the difference between deep shooters who are “huggers” and “steppers,” as reported by Crossing Broad’s Kevin Kinkead.
Fultz, I was told, has been working on his step ins and also his catches on the hop this summer. He may have had his best results from the baselines, the closest points of the 3 point line, since returning from California. It would seem there has been significant input from Sixers coaches in the process along the way this summer.
While Philly.com has consistently reported that many people on the team side do not think it was a physical injury that limited his ability to shoot this season, Fultz maintains that it was an injury:
“...it was a lot of things going on about changing shots and all this and the third, but it was an injury there and for me. I’m a hooper so i was like ‘man this ain’t gonna stop me. So once I realized I really couldn’t do stuff to my full capacity I was like it really is something.... So I had to find out what it was...and we did that throughout the season. It took a long time which people really didn’t understand they thought like ‘man he’s just being soft ‘but I mean it was really an injury and now I got a chance to just sit down and pick apart all these doctors. We figured it out and I’ve been back to work this summer and everything is back to even better than what it was and so right now I’m real excited to go out there and showcase my full ability....”
On his personal goals for the coming year:
“...for me really I mean first of all my goals are just to have a great year really ... [be someone who can] create shots for himself and his teammates. I mean that guy at the end of the game when you need a bucket you don’t really have to call a play....I like to block shots so I’m gonna be a big point guard out there so I mean just come in and prove myself just show why I belong to stay in the league really.”
Isaiah Thomas was a natural in his role of interviewer. He got Fultz to reveal that on draft day one of his biggest concerns was not tripping on his way to the podium because he can be clumsy. Fultz also talked about how closely knit the Sixers are and that he realized the Sixers go out to eat as a team much more than his buddies on other teams do with their teammates.
The full video is on the Players Tribune site so watch and see what you think of the form there. Fultz added that he wanted the reveal of his shot to be a surprise as he was taking a break from social media to focus on his passion, hoops.
Fultz is a very talented and likable player. The loss of his jumpshot placed a huge amount of pressure not only on him but on the Sixers too. If the new front office continues to have difficulty luring All-Star’s via trade or free-agency, the team will need Fultz to rediscover his way in order to make an NBA finals.
The form already looks much cleaner in these clips than it did a year ago, although reports out of the Camden facility told us at Liberty Ballers last week that there is still “an inconsistency” in the results, though that was to be expected.
If Fultz can eventually regain the shot, it would be hard to script a better redemption story than this one and it would be set in a city that seems to appreciate them more than your average town. It’s nice to know that all reports regarding Fultz illustrate a player who is absolutely obsessed with improving and does not allow himself the distractions other players are often tempted by.
We’ll probably be able to see some live-action shots in scrimmages or practice settings during Training Camp which begins this weekend.