Markelle Fultz
Markelle Fultz is in grave danger of seeing his rookie year slip away. (Winslow Townson/AP Photo)

One of the most perplexing storylines we’ve seen all season in the NBA is the shoulder injury first overall pick Markelle Fultz is currently battling through. The young man’s confidence seems to have evaporated as he and the 76ers organization experiment with his jump shot as he nears a return to the hardwood.

A lot has been made of the Sixers’ handling of the Markelle Fultz situation. They’ve been extremely cautious in the past with their young pieces dealing with injury but some have suspected this to be more than that.

However, The Atheltic’s Derek Bodner reports that Fultz has been tinkering with his jump shot since before he even got drafted so maybe less onus should be placed on the Sixers training staff. According to Bodner, Fultz worked extensively on his jumper this past summer:

Markelle Fultz and his longtime trainer, confidant and family friend, Keith Williams, made significant alterations to his shooting form in the months leading up to the start of the Sixers’ season, according to multiple sources who spoke to The Athletic on the condition of anonymity.

These changes were described as an effort to quicken his shot, shorten the dip in his shooting mechanics and bring his set point over to the right side of his body, according to sources with knowledge of the changes Fultz made over the summer.

Bodner added that while teams were aware that Fultz was experimenting with his stroke, the changes were clearer at training camp.

The early stages of these changes were evident by the time Fultz began working out for teams leading up to the draft last June, according to a source who spoke to The Athletic and was privy to these workouts. The changes became more pronounced by the time Fultz arrived at training camp in September.

Markelle Fultz is a naturally smooth shooter so whether these alterations were even necessary will be up for debate. In his solo collegiate campaign, Fultz shot nearly 48 percent from the field and upwards of 41 percent from three-point distance. Though these statistics don’t indicate that a change is necessary, Fultz probably wanted to perfect his jumper ahead of his professional career.

Though we haven’t seen much live action out of Fultz, these changes don’t seem to be working based on warmup videos that have been surfacing. Fultz could be days away from a return or sit out the entire season so the saga is expected to continue on until Fultz’ future comes more into perspective.

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