Sixers rookie Markelle Fultz has confounded viewers this season with his suddenly atrocious shooting form. Now, we have an explanation.
Fultz told NBC Sports on Tuesday that he is dealing with a shoulder injury that is hindering his ability to shoot and his agent expanded on the severity of the problem later Tuesday.
“Markelle had a shoulder injury and fluid drained out of the back of his shoulder,” Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “He literally cannot raise up his arms to shoot the basketball. He decided to try and fight through the pain to help the team. He has a great attitude. We are committed to finding a solution to get Markelle back to 100 percent.”
Brothers later clarified that while Fultz is dealing with a shoulder injury, Brothers misrepresented the treatment the rookie has been given.
"He had a cortisone shot on Oct. 5, which means fluid was put into his shoulder -- not taken out," Brothers later told Wojnarowski. "My intention earlier was to let people know that he's been experiencing discomfort. We will continue to work with (Sixers general manager) Bryan Colangelo and the medical staff."
The issue is most evident on free throws but Fultz’s shots from the field don’t look any prettier. In either case, his arms extend awkwardly away from his body instead of raising up above his head and he fails to get much arc on his shot.
It’s unclear if Fultz will sit out any games to recover, Wojnarowski reports.
Fultz, the top pick in this year’s draft, is averaging 6.8 shot attempts per game this season but none of them have come from beyond 13 feet. Of his 27 field goal attempts, just seven have been from more than nine feet. After attempting 5.0 three-pointers per game in college at Washington, and shooting 41.3% from behind the arc, Fultz hasn’t attempted a three.