The tenure of Markelle Fultz with the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t end as anyone had hoped. Fultz, the team’s No. 1 pick last year, was sidelined for almost his entire rookie season and missed a chunk of the current year due to a shoulder injury. While the injury was a big question which involved skepticism about what was actually going on, it created drama around the organization.
Whether or not that drama played a role in the Sixers’ decision to trade Fultz prior to the NBA trade deadline is unknown, but the move was made. New general manager Elton Brand struck a deal to send the young guard to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Jonathan Simmons, a protected first-round pick and a second-rounder.
After the deal was done, Fultz made a few interesting comments during his introductory press conference with the Magic, some of which didn’t go over well with Sixers fans. As Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia revealed, the guard essentially said the Philly coaching staff told him what he wanted to hear instead of pushing him to be better.
“I think it excites me to have coaches that you know are going to push you to be better,” he said, “and not just tell you what you want to hear.” Fultz said.
After these comments came to light, there was no immediate response, but on Wednesday, Sixers coach Brett Brown addressed them.
Brett Brown Addresses Comments From Markelle Fultz
As The Athletic’s Rich Hofmann reported, Brown was asked about these comments and stated that Fultz “didn’t mean that.”
“He didn’t mean that. And I spoke back and forth, but he didn’t mean that. He’s a good kid, he’s a good young man and truly we wish him well.” Brown stated, per Hofmann’s tweet.
For what it’s worth, the 20-year-old also complimented his former team, saying he “learned a lot, both from being on the court and off the court,” per Levick and NBC Sports. Brown also openly spoke about being sad that he didn’t get to coach him.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t feel sad. It was two emotions I had. Sad personally, selfishly I suppose. And that I never really felt like I got a chance to coach him. I never really feel like this city got a chance to see him. I felt sad for that. And I was pleased for him that he had a new start, a fresh start, another opportunity.” Brown said.
Markelle Fultz’s Time With Sixers
Early on during the 2018-19 season, Fultz was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and was sidelined since that point. He apparently saw multiple shoulder specialists and the diagnosis is something that impacts his ability to shoot a basketball, something that’s been a hot-button topic.
Fultz struggled mightily with his jumper over the first two seasons with the Sixers and even spent the entire 2018 NBA offseason working with player development specialist Drew Hanlen. After a rookie season in which he averaged 7.1 points on 40.5 percent shooting, Fultz improved very little in year two. Through the first 19 games, he averaged 8.2 points while shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from beyond the arc.
The former Washington Huskies star hasn’t looked nearly as explosive through the early stages of his NBA career as he did during his lone collegiate season. A change of scenery could benefit Fultz in a big way and now the Sixers will move forward with their new-look roster.