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Markelle Fultz ascends to hesi pull-up jimbo heaven in 2nd Utah game

Markelle Fultz ascends to hesi pull-up jimbo heaven in 2nd Utah game

Well, he can shoot. That much we can probably take to the bank.

Markelle Fultz had a largely up-and-down night in his second Utah Jazz Summer League outing -- his first half being the "down," and the second half being the "up" -- that in aggregate once again pointed to the many strengths and handful of weaknesses he will likely display as a first-year pro. Defense is a concern, primary playmaking is a concern, conditioning and stamina is a concern. Shooting? Not a concern. 

If you followed Fultz's summer league debut on any media platform, you are no doubt already familiar with the phrase "hesi pull-up jimbo," as coined by Finals MVP Kevin Durant (h/t DMV streetball parlance). That phrase, once applied to our No. 1 overall pick, already seems likely to follow him for his career's entirety: Not just because of its brain-sticking inanity, but because a shot as smooth and distinctive and consistent as Fultz's should have its own name. We'll be watching the Hesi Pull-up Jimbo for the next five to 10 (to 25) years and will lack the proper vocabulary to describe it anyway, may as well embrace it now. 

In any event, the HPUJ was obviously in full effect on Wednesday night in Utah against the home-court Jazz. It was just about the only thing working for Fultz in the first half, where he turned the ball over four times with no assists, got repeatedly shut down by Dante Exum in the half-court, and also got lightly toasted by Exum on multiple occasions at the other end, looking slow and small (and winded) by comparison. It was the kind of half that has you nervously flipping to old DX strengths videos and scouting reports to persuade yourself to keep the faith while your eyes and stomach tell you that all is not right with dude. 

But things leveled out in the second half -- Fultz got more opportunities in the half-court, his teammates set better picks and hit more shots, and an improved team scheme neturalized Exum and rookie backcourt mate Donovan Mitchell enough for the Sixers to mount an unlikely late-game comeback. And leading the charge was Fultz in full MF Doom mode, ultimately scoring 23 on the night and 13 in the quarter, including 9 of 16 FG and 4 of 8 from deep (really 4 of 6 when you discount his two half-ending heaves from beyond the timeline). In the final minutes, he casually shed his defender with a stepback into a swished wing three to cut Utah's lead to one that had process trusters and everyone else in full swoon. Didn't look that impressed with himself, either. 

It's often irritatingly facile to trace a player's potential through his prospective fit with a teammate -- I can still remember Dennis Scott on the 2010 summer league call insisting that Evan Turner's game would blossom once he got to share the perimeter with Andre Iguodala, an obvious and dangerous untruth. But damn if you can't see Fultz and Ben Simmons filling the crevices in each other's game like a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and two-percent milk: A couple games of Fultz as a semi-pro and it's clear his most obvious player comp is Kyrie Irving, a truly dynamic scoring guard with a solid, if occasionally uninspiring, verve for distributing. Putting Simbo on the floor with him could open up his game like Irving's has next-leveled alongside You Know Who. (Not J.R. Smith or Iman Shumpert.) 

Anyway, the Sixers still lost, 100-94, and Fultz still ended with more turnovers (six) than assists (five, all but one of which came in the final frame). But life is still beautiful in the Post-Processverse. Players, Jerry! Real NBA players! The two months between summer league and preseason this year are gonna be the longest any Sixers fan has ever known. 

(Postscript: Sixers 2016 first-rounder Furkan Korkmaz also supposedly played in this game, having officially signed his NBA contract earlier Wednesday -- I watched all 40 minutes and can not confirm he is yet on the continent.)

NFL Referees Association: Pete Morelli criticisms are click bait

NFL Referees Association: Pete Morelli criticisms are click bait

The NFL Referees Association responded to criticisms of Pete Morelli and his officiating crew, and in doing so, suggested Eagles fans and impartial members of the media have no idea what they are talking about.

Morelli has come under fire over the seemingly lopsided officiating during the Eagles' 28-23 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Week 6. The Eagles were penalized 10 times for 126 yards in the contest, while the Panthers drew only one flag for one yard, despite the appearance of committing many of the same infractions.

Since that game, a change.org petition moving to ban Morelli from working Eagles games in the future is approaching its goal of 75,000 signatures. Research also shows Morelli's crew has been calling penalties against the Eagles in disproportionate numbers for awhile now. In the last four games with Morelli, the Eagles were flagged 40 times for 396 yards, compared to just eight penalties for 74 yards against opponents.

Almost everybody seemed to be in agreement that the officiating was at the very least poor in the Eagles-Panthers game, if not biased. Everybody, that is, except NFLRA executive director Scott Green, who released a statement on Thursday.

Via ProFootballTalk:

“Claims like these demonstrate a fundamental lack of knowledge about NFL officiating,” Green said. “NFL officials are graded on every call made in every game. Missing a single one can hurt his or her ranking and may be the difference between working in the postseason or not. These recent attempts to sensationalize statistics and create click-bait headlines lack important context. Without the proper perspective, the information being pushed is completely misguided. The passion of NFL fans and teams are a big part of what makes the game so great. However, it’s no excuse for the irresponsible and baseless claims we’ve seen lately. NFL officials are committed to upholding the integrity of the game and do so every week.”

Lack of knowledge. Completely misguided. Irresponsible and baseless. You would expect the NFLRA to come to the defense of Morelli -- it's literally their job -- but insulting the consumers' intelligence along the way probably isn't the best way to go about it.

Is there anything sinister about Morelli's and his crew's officiating? Maybe not, but it doesn't take somebody who's gone through the NFL's (presumably) rigorous Officiating Development Program to watch two nearly identical plays called differently for two different teams within three hours of each other. Innocent mistakes or not, that's what appeared to happen on multiple occasions throughout the Eagles-Panthers game.

Instead of releasing overly defensive statements, perhaps the NFLRA should show video evidence why the calls against the Eagles were correct, and the eerily similar non-calls that went in the Panthers' favor were not. Because this responding to criticism with more criticism isn't changing any minds.

A surprising Eagle keeps getting drug tested

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Jake Elliott IG

A surprising Eagle keeps getting drug tested

Jake Elliott has been a revelation for the Philadelphia Eagles after Caleb Sturgis went down with an injury early in the season.

But has he been too good...

The rook has made 12 of his 14 attempts for the Birds this season.

If you're looking for a good laugh today, go check out this reddit thread that starts with a photo from Elliott's Instagram story in which he points out he got flagged for his third drug test in two weeks!

The comment section is as good as a Jake Elliott 61 yarder.

"Well, he does bleed green...," abenyishay says..

"Is kickers doping really a thing?" ChaosFinalForm wonders, as do we.

What do you think? Just the way the random drug draw fell the last few weeks, or does the NFL think Jake Elliott is into something?