Philadelphia 76ers rookie Markelle Fultz may be one of the most puzzingly cases of an athlete completely forgetting how to play their chosen sport we’ve seen in a long time.
Chosen with the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, Fultz was a 41% shooter from deep playing for Washington in college, proving that he had some semblance of a jumper coming into the NBA.
When he was picked up by the Sixers however, Fultz seemingly forgot how to shoot a basketball, shooting an atrocious 33.3% from the field over the four games he appeared in this season for Philly. It was later revealed that Markelle was struggling with a shoulder injury which was affecting his shooting motion, explaining his terrible percentages, and the 76ers proceeded to stick Fultz on the shelf indefinitely.
Since being sidelined with the injury, there has been a lot of speculation as to what the Sixers have been doing with Fultz. There have been countless videos posted online of Fultz shooting during team practices, showing no signs of improvement to his jumpshot even after six months, which is scary to think about. But a Philadelphia reporter by the name of Kyle Neubeck may have solved the curious case of Markelle Fultz.
I spent six months talking to #Sixers staffers, the people who diagnosed him, and those close to him.
I learned of contradictions & secrecy, VR training, fingers pointed in every direction.
Today, we discuss what's really going on with Markelle Fultz.https://t.co/BWuDyjZBTW
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) February 12, 2018
Neubeck spent over six months investigating Fultz‘s progress through his shoulder injury, and has come to the conclusion that the 76ers organization — paired with the shoulder injury — has ruined Fultz’s jumper.
Using the time gained by sidelining Fultz, trainers attempted to make Fultz re-learn his shooting motion during rehab and after his shoulder had healed considerably. But with comments and “advice” coming from every direction, including trainers, staff members, teammates and the internet in general, as well as Fultz’s ingrained muscle memory from his previous jumper, the point guard’s confidence was severely shot, and now the issue may revolve around a mental barrier for Markelle instead of a physical one.
That’s one theory anyway. Fultz hasn’t commented on his shooting struggles in-depth at all this season, and until he does, no one can truly guess what’s going on inside his head.