Philadelphia 76ers second-year point guard Markelle Fultz hasn’t exactly blossomed into the ideal first-overall pick. While Fultz has shown small flashes at times, he’s more cold than he’s hot. Right now, the Sixers don’t seem to have an identity for the guards on their bench. As Fultz continues to see regressed playing time, T.J. McConnell picks up some unexpected minutes on Monday against the Phoenix Suns.
Just last week, the Sixers made a trade for Jimmy Butler, which forced Brett Brown to mix up the starting lineup. The project that contained Fultz in the starting lineup was officially put to rest as they sent him to the bench. From there, Fultz has seen his minutes drop from around 25 to the low 20’s and eventually to the teens.
Meanwhile, T.J. McConnell sat patiently on the bench as he hasn’t played in the last three games, due to coaches decision. Fultz’s average of 8.6 points-per-game is underwhelming for now, but at least his defense has improved. Despite the hope for Fultz, it looks like the Sixers may start looking to give McConnell more minutes, which means less for Fultz.
Will McConnell Jump Fultz’s Spot?
Since the trade for Butler, the Sixers got a taste of what it’s like to have an established veteran superstar that has over three years in the league. The second they made that trade, was the moment that the Sixers declared that they are no longer playing with a “process” type of team. They are ready to win now.
With the idea of wanting to win-now, comes the decision of what they should do with Fultz. Clearly, Fultz has been a bit underwhelming, which means they are looking to try something new. So, on Monday night against the Phoenix Suns, the Sixers decided to trot out McConnell, instead of Fultz during the second half.
Fultz ended up finishing the game with zero points during seven minutes of playing time. McConnell, on the other hand, dropped two points in nine minutes. He didn’t exactly see a significant jump in playing time, but this could be the beginning of a slow transition of the Sixers favoring McConnell over Fultz. Could this mean something bigger for Fultz? Maybe a trade is in the talks? It’s unclear, but it’s definitely not out of the question at this point.