By Harry Allison
Sixers Nation always has something to worry about.
In the past it has been Andrew Bynum’s knee. Then various injuries to Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Now it is Markelle Fultz’ time in the barrel.
The 6-4 Fultz was touted in last June’s draft for his ability to handle the ball and run the offense or spread the floor and create his own shot. The most complimentary draft comparisons likened his game to James Harden’s.
However, through two preseason games with the 76ers, something has been off with Fultz’s shooting form. It was readily apparent during a missed free throw in a preseason game that went viral on Monday night.
Fultz shot just 65% from the free throw line in college, but he was an overall good shooter with a smooth, square form. On this dreadful free throw attempt, Fultz looked like he was pushing the ball out in front of him.
This is just one free throw, but according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, it hints at a larger problem with Fultz’s shoulder. Fultz has apparently been dealing with on-and-off shoulder soreness during preseasonL
“I think [his shoulder] is affecting him more than he lets on,” coach Brett Brown said. “You can tell with his free throw, trying to get that ball up. It’s far out from his body. He’s been working on trying to get that thing rehabilitated. And the lack of the quantity of his 3-point shooting may be a sign that it’s hurting a little more than he’s letting on.”
“I wouldn’t say it’s making any effects on the floor, because I’m playing through stuff like that. Every day I come in, we just talk to the trainers and do stuff for it and just get better.”
Fultz first showed off an odd shooting motion in training camp, he said he was messing around, but Brown said he’d like to see Fultz get back on track with his shot.
In his first preseason game, he shot 2-of-13 from the field and in his second game, he shot 5-of-11 for 12 points on a bevy drives to the hoop. He’s 0-for-3 from three-point range so far.