76ers

Sixers camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Markelle Fultz not changing shot

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Sixers camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Markelle Fultz not changing shot

CAMDEN, N.J. — A video of Markelle Fultz at the free throw line during training camp drew attention because of a noticeable change in form from college. Fultz, who shot 64.9 percent from the line as a freshman at Washington, clarified he does not plan on altering his shot in the NBA.

“My free throw’s going to look the same as in college,” Fultz said Thursday. “I’m just trying to look at different ways to see how the ball can go in the hoop.”

Fultz worked on his offense during his offseason training. The point guard will spend a lot of time playing off the ball when paired with Ben Simmons (see story), who will assume point responsibilities. Fultz averaged 23.2 points (47.6 percent from the field) to lead all freshmen and the entire Pac-12 in scoring. Brett Brown sees Fultz’s talents and doesn’t want him to force changes. 

“His percentages revealed that he’s a more-than-capable shooter,” Brown said. “I think right now him trying to figure out how to not overcomplicate things and maybe make over something that didn’t need to be made over as much as he might of thought is a challenge.” 

There will be plenty of other adjustments for Fultz to make. Among his areas of focus is the middle pick-and-roll. 

“Once you get to the middle of the floor, everything’s open,” Fultz said. “In this game, everyone’s good at the one spot, the two, all guards. Even the bigs, they’re good at using illegal screens that refs don’t see. So you’ve just got to be able to fight through and get through everything.” 

For all the games and practices Fultz will go through, one thing will not change: he still is a teenager competing against players 5, 10, even 15 years older than him who have been in the league since he was a kid. Fultz has been getting a small sample of that from his teammates in practice. 

“He’s 19,” Brown said. “I think there’s a physical side of it that no matter how good his head and his heart is, you get back to reality. Trying to help him navigate that first year from a physical standpoint is a real challenge.”

Korkmaz work to do on D
Brown will split his attention between multiple rookies this season. Furkan Korkmaz has a long path of development ahead of him as he transitions from the international game to the NBA. Brown is placing a heavy emphasis on the defensive end. 

“Trying to get him defensively built, like an attitude and a mindset to try to grow him as a defender,” Brown said. “He can score. He’s got a real sort of interesting body for a basketball player in his position. He’s long, he’s lanky. Years ago I coached Brent Barry and sort of that bouncy pogo-stick, can shoot, can dunk, I see he’s got some real interesting qualities. The defensive side needs work.” 

The Sixers selected Korkmaz with the 26th pick in the 2016 draft. He paid a hefty buyout from Anadolu Efes to play in the NBA this season. Korkmaz’s friend and now teammate Dario Saric offered him advice to make the most of his time with the Sixers. 

“Here, it’s all up to you,” Kormaz said. “The coaches give you opportunity, everybody shows interest in you.” 

Injury notes
Jahlil Okafor (right knee soreness) went through limited parts of 5-on-5 action. Joel Embiid (left knee surgery) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (right knee patellar tendinitis) did not do 5-on-5 work. All three players participated in practice. 

Sixers-Pistons observations: A Simmons triple-double and Embiid stars in 1st win

Sixers-Pistons observations: A Simmons triple-double and Embiid stars in 1st win

BOX SCORE

DETROIT — In a much-anticipated matchup Monday night featuring two elite centers, it was the Sixers’ big man Joel Embiid who stood above the rest.

Back in the starting lineup after sitting out Saturday’s blowout loss in Toronto, Embiid out-shined Detroit’s franchise player Andre Drummond to lead the Sixers to their first regular-season win — a much-needed 97-86 victory over the Pistons at Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit.

Embiid wasn’t alone with a stellar performance. Rookie Ben Simmons notched a triple-double to become just the third player to accomplish the feat within his first four games (Oscar Robertson in 1960 and Art “Hambone” Williams in 1967).

It was a much-needed win for the Sixers, who entered Monday winless and one game removed from a 34-point blowout loss in Toronto. 

Embiid showcased his polished shooting stroke, highlighted by a three-pointer to close out the first quarter, and put his athleticism on full display en route to a team-high 30-point performance. 

The 23-year-old center logged 28 minutes after playing 27 minutes on Friday. He took advantage of every minute, making 11 of 15 shots, grabbing nine boards and hitting 7 of 8 free throws. A second-quarter dramatic slam dunk over Drummond, who was held 14 points, capped Embiid’s impressive night. 

The Sixers took a 56-43 lead into the half, but nearly squandered a 21-point lead after the Pistons cut their lead to 81-78 with less than eight minutes to play before pulling away late.

• After falling just shy of a triple-double on Saturday, Simmons pulled it off Monday in the final minutes to become the third player in NBA history to record a triple-double within the first four career games. Simmons finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to extend his career-starting double-double streak to a fourth straight game. In doing so, he became the first player since Shaquille O’Neal to record a double-double in each of his first four career games. O'Neal's stretch lasted 11 straight games.

• Markelle Fultz was held two just two points and failed to leave a strong offensive impression for the fourth straight game. Fultz consistently managed to get into position for open looks, but appeared hesitant to pull the trigger. When he did, he struggled to make shots outside the paint, including a wide open 15-footer in the first quarter. Fultz, who is battling a sore right shoulder, was limited to 16 minutes of action — the fewest minutes he’s logged this season.

• During Monday’s morning shootaround, head coach Brett Brown stressed the need for his team to cut down on turnovers and commit fewer fouls. The Sixers struggled with turnovers, committing 21 after averaging 17 the first three games, but managed to overcome early mistakes and limit the bleeding.

• Pistons fans didn’t take kindly to their home team’s sluggish first-half performance, showering Detroit with boos after Jerryd Bayless hit a three-pointer to put the Sixers up 51-30 in the second quarter. The Pistons announced a near-sellout crowd in what was the team’s second regular-season game at their new home, Little Caesars Arena. However, dozens of empty rows and a sea of red seats were spotted throughout the game. 

• Embiid quickly made his presence felt with six points (2 of 3 shooting) in the first five minutes before being subbed by former Piston Amir Johnson. Johnson, who finished with three points, has played on four teams throughout his 13-year career, and faced all three of his former teams (Pistons, Celtics and Raptors) in the last seven days. 

Brown says 'nobody has any fears' over long-term impact on Fultz's shot

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Brown says 'nobody has any fears' over long-term impact on Fultz's shot

DETROIT — If you’re under the impression Markelle Fultz’s shooting game has been affected by his sore right shoulder, you’re not alone.

Sixers coach Brett Brown thinks so, too.

“There’s no doubt that it factors into what people question right now about his shot. There’s no doubt,” Brown said prior to the Sixers’ matchup Monday night in Detroit. “You don’t just walk a certain way for a long period of your life, and then all of the sudden, start to limp.”

Brown’s comments come on the heels of another worrisome shooting performance from Fultz, who made just 1 of 5 shots en route to six points in Saturday’s 128-94 blowout loss in Toronto.

It marked the second straight game Fultz logged only six points after he made just 2 of 9 shots in the Sixers’ home-opening loss to the Boston Celtics.

“(Fultz) doesn’t let on much. He doesn’t want to let on much,” Brown said. “But nobody’s hiding anything. It’s just, none of us can dismiss that it doesn’t factor into some of the shooting concerns that he might have. 

“What I do know is that the work he puts in, the work on his shoulder, all that stuff, nobody is dramatizing it. It’s consistent and I think it’s heading into the path that we want.”

Brown acknowledged that Fultz’s shoulder woes remain a cause for concern. That said, it appears Brown has no intention of sitting the 19-year-old sharpshooter, who has yet to attempt a three-pointer in his first three regular-season games, despite shooting 41.3 percent from behind the arc in his lone season season at the University of Washington.

“I’m trying to grow him and find minutes for him, and become a part of what we’re doing,” Brown said. “He’s obviously a huge part of our future. That kind of stuff is what’s mostly on my mind.”

Asked whether he had concerns about whether continuing to play Fultz could affect his shot down the road, Brown was quick to dismiss the notion, citing the opinion of the team’s medical staff. 

“I’m advised mostly by the medical people — that’s what I get worried about the most. And nobody has any fears,” Brown said. “Like we’ve said to Markelle, this is not going to define him. This first season is not going to define him. 

“He’s so compliant. When you really dig in deeper, and not get tricked by just statistics, he’s been good. He really has been good.”