Markelle Fultz
Joel Embiid thinks Markelle Fultz can succeed even if he doesn’t figure out his jump shot. (Getty Images North America)

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid is having a fantastic year – good enough to warrant a starting All-Star spot. The Sixers have built a tremendous young core with Embiid and Ben Simmons at the helm. Another key component to that nucleus is supposed to be Markelle Fultz, the star guard who was selected first overall in this year’s draft. Due to a weird combination of (probably) a shoulder injury and the yips, Fultz hasn’t been able to play since the first four games of the NBA season. The injury has effectively ruined Fultz’s jump shot, which was a major part of his game in college. Embiid, however, feels that Fultz is good enough to succeed without a jumper, much like Simmons.

Simmons has thrived despite his lack of a consistent jump shot because his near-unique blend of size, speed, explosiveness, athleticism and passing vision enable him to play the game at an extremely high level.

Fultz doesn’t have Simmons’ size, speed or explosiveness. He’s still quick, however, and very crafty with the ball in his hands. He can pass, too, although not quite as well as Simmons. Fultz can probably be OK without a great jump shot. He won’t be the player the Sixers thought they were drafting – the player they need. Fultz shot 41.3 percent from 3-point range in his lone season at Washington.


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