Markelle Fultz, the first player taken in the 2017 NBA draft, had major shooting problems and missed most of his rookie season. He is working with an independent shooting coach and “doing great,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown says.
LAS VEGAS – Fans will get to see for themselves when videos of Markelle Fultz shooting a basketball surface, but the Philadelphia 76ers’ message is that the first player taken in the 2017 NBA draft is showing improvement.
Brett Brown, Sixers coach and interim general manager, even said former Washington Huskies guard Fultz is “doing great” while spending the past five weeks working out with independent shooting coach Drew Hanlen in Southern California.
“I feel just so excited to see him play NBA basketball and show why he was the first player chosen in the NBA draft,” Brown said. “And I have tremendous optimism and confidence that he’s going to have a hell of a year next year.”
Hanlen has confirmed what sources have told The Philadelphia Inquirer, that Fultz had the “yips” and “completely forgot how to shoot.” Several sources continue to say Fultz’s problems are mental.
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So for the most part, he has been doing “foundational-type” shooting drills.
But Hanlen has said they are ahead of the pace they had set for the workouts.
And Brown said Fultz, 20, is in a good place mentally.
“He’s putting in work. That’s the first thing,” Brown said. “Then when I see him and I have other people see him, I have a gut feel that he feels good about himself. That he is confident. That he looks it when I’m with him. He feels and he looks confident.
“Then I start seeing the progression of his shot, and I start listening to him tell me about his shot. It confirms that he’s feeling good. I feel like the path to date has been money.”
Fultz was limited to a combined 17 regular-season and playoff games this past season.
He played in the first four regular-season games before being sidelined for the next 68 with what team officials called a right-shoulder injury.
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