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Sixers' Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons lag behind in NBA Rookie Survey

Sixers' Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons lag behind in NBA Rookie Survey

The results are in … before a game has been played.

Thirty-nine rookies participated in NBA.com’s annual Rookie Survey, making their predictions for the top of their class in various categories. No. 1 picks Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz were on many ballots, while 2017 second overall pick Lonzo Ball and No. 9 pick Dennis Smith Jr. were popular among their peers.

Check out the results, with Sixers noted in bold.

Rookie of the Year:
1. Dennis Smith Jr., Mavericks: 25.7%
2. Lonzo Ball, Lakers: 20.0%
3. Markelle Fultz, Sixers: 17.1%
T-4. Ben Simmons, Sixers
/ Kyle Kuzma, Lakers / Donovan Mitchell, Jazz: 5.7%

Best career:
T-1. Lonzo Ball, Lakers / Jayson Tatum, Celtics: 18.4%
T-3. Josh Jackson, Suns / Dennis Smith Jr., Mavericks: 10.5%
5. De'Aaron Fox, Kings: 7.9%
T-6. Markelle Fultz, Sixers / Ben Simmons, Sixers / Harry Giles, Kings: 5.3%

Best playmaker?
1. Lonzo Ball, Lakers: 71.8%
2. Markelle Fultz, Sixers: 7.7%
3. Jawun Evans, Clippers / De'Aaron Fox, Kings / Dennis Smith Jr., Mavericks: 5.1%

Most athletic:
1. Dennis Smith Jr., Mavericks: 43.6%
2. Terrance Ferguson, Thunder: 12.8%
3. John Collins, Hawks: 10.4%
Fultz received votes.

Best shooter:
1. Luke Kennard, Pistons: 48.6%
2. Malik Monk, Hornets: 13.5%
3. Terrance Ferguson, Thunder: 10.8%
Fultz received votes.

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.”

Opening week affects MVP odds of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid

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Opening week affects MVP odds of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid

Ben Simmons had himself a historic first week in the NBA and as a result, his MVP odds have changed substantially.

Listed by Bovada on Oct. 10 at 80/1 to win MVP, Simmons is now at 33/1, tied with DeMarcus Cousins and ahead of Marc Gasol, Blake Griffin and Damian Lillard.

Simmons became the first player since Oscar Robertson to produce at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in each of his first three career games.

Teammate Joel Embiid had a less successful start to the year, averaging 14.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in two games but shooting just 35.5 percent from the field and missing all 10 three-point attempts.

And yet somehow, Embiid's MVP odds have changed from 40/1 to 25/1. He has the same MVP odds as Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis.

Griffin, at 50/1, is a sneaky good bet for MVP. The Clippers are his team now with Chris Paul in Houston, and Griffin has added long-distance shooting to his game, making three triples in each game. Two games in, he's averaging 29.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists. 

If he can stay healthy (a huge if) and lead the Clippers to 52-plus wins in a loaded Western Conference, you'd have to think Griffin would be looked at more favorably in terms of MVP odds than someone on a star-studded team like any of the Warriors or Rockets, if Paul returns from his knee injury within a month and affects James Harden's stats even slightly. 

Giannis Antetokounpo and LeBron James look like the two players most likely to win MVP, but 50/1 for Griffin is good value if you think this is the year he stays healthy. If he didn't have a history of injuries, his odds right now would be closer to those of John Wall (28/1) or Towns (25/1).