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The Sixers traded up with the Celtics to draft Markelle Fultz no. 1 overall in the 2017 draft largely because of the scoring dynamism he exhibited in his lone season with the University of Washington. A significant portion of that ability stemmed from his long-range shooting, where he shot 41.3 percent on five 3-point attempts per game.
However, he attempted just a single 3-pointer in his entire rookie NBA season where he was plagued by a shoulder injury that allegedly mucked up his shot and kept him out of all but 14 regular season contests and just three playoff games (all early in the first round). Fultz debuted a supposedly fixed jumper before training camp this season, but so far it hasn't translated on the court.
His bizarre NBA journey up until now added a new chapter when his shooting coach over the summer, famed shot whisperer Drew Hanlen, said in a since-deleted tweet that Fultz was still injured:
Hanlen is defending Fultz because the Sixers' guard has shot just 4-of-13 from deep through Philadelphia's first 11 games. Not only that, but his confidence still seems in doubt. Markelle routinely either passes up open looks from beyond the arc to dribble into traffic, or positions himself inside the three-point line where he's easier to guard and simultaneously act as a help defender to cramp the half-court for his teammates. When he has pulled the trigger—even inside the arc—it's looked ugly at times, most recently when Philly was blown out in Brooklyn on Sunday:
Maybe Fultz really is battling an injury, and it's continued to prevent him from performing like the player the Sixers drafted out of Washington. If he is banged up like Hanlen said, then why is Philadelphia still playing him?
We've reached out to Hanlen over Twitter and email, as well as the account he's talking to in the screen shot, purported Kyle Kuzma trainer Clint Parks. We'll update if we hear back from either about the exchange.