According to a deleted tweet from Drew Hanlen, Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz isn’t healthy yet.
Through 11 games, Markelle Fultz is averaging 9.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 30.8 percent from deep on 1.2 attempts per game. There are clear mechanical issues with his shot, especially from range. It’s improving, but not perfect.
According to a deleted tweet from Drew Hanlen, the reason for Fultz’s rocky start might revolve around his ambiguous health status. After missing 68 games with scapular muscle imbalance in his right shoulder last season, Hanlen remarked that Fultz is “still not healthy.”
Obviously, since the tweet has been deleted, there’s little context to the issue. We do, however, know that Hanlen was responding to criticism from Clint Parks, who currently serves as Kyle Kuzma‘s trainer (among other players).
Hanlen isn’t wrong — Fultz is making significant strides after avoiding the three-point line entirely last season. He’s also just 25 games into his NBA career, coming off an unprecedented shoulder injury, and reworking his mechanics from scratch. It was NEVER going to be an immediate fix.
Speculating about injuries is pointless, so it’s best to leave Hanlen’s statement without further comment. We don’t know if Fultz still has shoulder soreness. We don’t know if he’s dealing with a mental block that goes beyond in-game tentativeness. We don’t know is an important theme here.
Despite his shooting woes, Fultz has still shown promise in the early going. He’s gradually becoming more aggressive, breaking out his patented spin move, attacking in transition and looking to score at the rim.
His game against the Clippers was the culmination of several promising developments. He’s still an NBA player and his future (you know, after more than 25 NBA games) is still incredibly bright. Even if he’s hurting the Philadelphia 76ers in the short term, calling it a lost cause is vastly premature.
Fultz has not been on the NBA’s official injury report this season. Neither Brett Brown nor Elton Brand has mentioned lingering shoulder issues. One would expect more to come out on this story now that the proverbial seal has been broken, though.