By Peter Gleason
Sixers Brett Brown confirmed the inevitable today:
Tonight’s starting five will feature Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Wilson Chandler and Joel Embiid.
Brown said Markelle Fultz “has done nothing wrong,” but added a change was necessary after the blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The 20-year-old University of Washington product has continued to struggle with his shooting after missing most of his rookie season because of a shoulder injury. He’s connected on 41.2 percent of his field goals, including 30.8 percent of his three-point attempts, and is making just 57.6 percent of his free throws.
His inability to create offense likely played a role in the Sixers’ decision to pursue Butler, who’s averaged 16.5 points in his career, including four seasons of at least 20.
Philly general manager Elton Brand said yesterday the team’s acquisition of the four-time All-Star guard/forward from the Wolves doesn’t mean it lost faith in Fultz, though.
“Not at all. It wasn’t a changed view of Markelle’s future. It was more of a changed view of being able to get a superstar right now and seeing where other teams were,” he told reporters. “There are some really talented teams [in the Eastern Conference]. … It was just a chance to have our team take another leap.”