Markelle Fultz looks lost. The second-year Sixers guard and No. 1 pick in the 2017 Draft has been an unmitigated disaster for Philadelphia, who traded up from the No. 3 position (where the Celtics selected Jayson Tatum) to nab the scoring playmaker and put the finishing touches on The Process. But whether it was the yips or an injury, or some combination of both, the attribute that made him so potent in college before being selected as the top pick—his shooting—completely failed him. He only appeared in a handful of games his rookie season and was basically unplayable in the playoffs last spring.
Enter Drew Hanlen, the shooting coach who worked with Fultz all summer to fix whatever mechanical issues might've left him impotent to shoot outside of 15 feet. Before preseason, Fultz made a big show about finally being healthy—as if that's what was keeping him back. Hanlen knows shooting, but the brain is still a mystery, and that's what appears to be plaguing Fultz. Perhaps because of this, it seems the two aren't speaking anymore and haven't for a few weeks now.
A report from SB Nation's Liberty Ballers blog says Fultz's camp wasn't happy with Hanlen's tutelage this summer and that led to the split.
The news comes a few days after Hanlen tweeted and then deleted an exchange with Kyle Kuzma's shooting coach where he said Fultz was still injured. Through 15 games so far this season, Fultz is shooting 41.2 percent from the floor and a scooch over 30 percent from three, but on fewer than one 3-point attempts per game. That might not sound so bad, but he's also shooting an abysmal 57.6 percent from the charity stripe and doing stuff like this recently:
If it wasn't readily apparent, that's not good, even if Fultz said after Monday night's game—where that first free throw happened—"The ball slipped out of my hand, so I had to do what I had to do." On top of that, famously genial advocate for mental health Jimmy Butler is joining the team, and his interplay with Fultz will be something everyone's keeping an eye on.
Despite all this, Markelle still shoots better than Ben Simmons.