The arrival of Markelle Fultz in 2017 made most people believe that the Philadelphia 76ers have already acquired the final piece they needed to contend for the NBA championship title. With too much excitement, Sixers center Joel Embiid can’t help himself but tweet “The FEDS are coming,” referring to him, Fultz, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons.
Though the Sixers succeeded to end their five-year playoff drought last season, Markelle Fultz missed 68 games due to a shoulder injury and spent the summer trying to rework on his jump shot. Entering the 2018-19 NBA season, Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown decided to insert Fultz in their starting lineup.
In the 11 games he played this season, Markelle Fultz is averaging 9.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals on 39.3 percent shooting from the field and 30.8 percent from beyond the arc. In some nights, Fultz has shown why he’s the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, but in most part, Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report believes the 20-year-old point guard has “sunk” the Sixers.
“Some of that is because of his raw skill set. Some of that is the result of the Sixers’ clunky roster and Fultz’s awkward fit within it, specifically alongside Ben Simmons. Fultz’s presence is not the sole reason the championship-chasing Sixers are just 6-5 and owners of the league’s ninth-worst point differential following an embarrassing 122-97 road loss to the Brooklyn Nets. But it is the primary one.”
Per Basketball-Reference, the Sixers have been 4.9 points per 100 possessions worse with Markelle Fultz on the court. When he joined Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Robert Covington in the starting lineup, the Sixers have been outscored 9.5 points per 100 possession. However, when J.J. Redick is their starting shooting guard, they were only outscored by just 2.8 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com.
Markelle Fultz is only 20 and still has lots of things to learn in the league. However, with the Sixers currently in a win-now mode, they are definitely expecting Fultz to become a major contributor for the team as soon as possible. Based on his performance earlier this season, an assistant coach of the team who recently faced the Sixers can’t help himself but wonder if Fultz is really a good fit in Philadelphia.
“I just don’t know how his game fits with that team,” the assistant coach said. “I knew the shooting was a problem, but he also isn’t attacking like I thought he would,” he added.
As of now, Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown continues to give his trust on Markelle Fultz. Some of the Sixers’ coaching staff are already impressed with Fultz’s efforts in improving his defense, and they are hoping that the young point guard will show more consistency in his performance on the offensive end of the floor.