2017 No. 1 NBA Draft pick Markelle Fultz is so talented and athletic, he could probably average double-digit points by just driving to the basket and scoring on layups and dunks. He’s so crafty, he could probably add another five points just off freebies coming off those drives. Throw in a three and one of those “hesi pull-up jimbo” moves that impressed Kevin Durant and the rookie could be at 20 points.
On Monday, coming off the bench against the team that could have drafted him, the 19-year old future star bounced back from a rough 2-of-13 shooting night (0-of-3 from three) and knocked down 5-of-11 shots; 4 of his 5 made field goals were shots right at the basket. His final bucket came off a comfortable looking fadeaway jumper over the hands of a defender. The other two points came from the free throw line, where he missed 3 of his 5 attempts and caused the internet to (rightfully) freak out over his new and puzzling shooting form.
The form was so awkward looking, fellow rookie Donovan Mitchell even posted, “Markelle, we gotta talk about this one bro” on our IG post.
Why would a No. 1 pick, who shots 47.6% from the field and 41.3% from three in college mess with shooting form like this? He did shoot a poor 64.9% from the free throw line during his one season at Washington and I can see why he would want to tweak the shot a little but he went the Shaq route and totally changed it, for the worse. Is it the shoulder injury? If so, then why doesn’t he just take a seat next to Joel Embiid and wait for it to heal? Or ask Ben Simmons how to shoot with the wrong hand (I’m kidding, don’t do that Markelle!)?
We have had the pleasure of watching Fultz since his high school days and I still remember sitting at an event in 2016 and watching Fultz causally knock down jumpers from every spot on an empty court for about 30 minutes before he casually destroyed a couple of people one-on-one. Most of his shots were mid-range jumpers like the one at the 24-second mark of the following high school mixtape or jumpers off a spin move (1:26).
The following is breakdown video of Fultz’ shot and ability to get to his jumper off the dribble during his time in college.
It’s videos like this that makes you feel like Fultz is going to be able to up nice numbers in the league right from the start.
Then you hear about the tinkering with the shot. Then you see how he’s changed his form in the following breakdown video.
Then you hear this answer from 76ers Coach Brett Brown, when asked if he was comfortable with where Fultz’ shot is at.
No, and so we’re gonna get back on track. His heart is in the right place. All by himself, he pivoted out over the summer and tried to make it better and tweak it, and he’s in a place right now where we’re gonna try to remind him where his shot was and try to bring that back into probably more a tighter shot, bring his release point down a little bit, bring the ball closer to his body. We have a Team Markelle all around him to help him, and he’s gonna be just fine.
Then you see what we can’t unsee from last night against the Celtics.
Before you get too down on him, remember, he is just 19, it’s just preseason of his rookie season and you and the rest of the world had no idea who he was just three years ago. During those three years, he went from an unknown high school kid to the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
Trust the process…no matter how ugly it looks.