76ers

Legendary shot doctor weighs in on Markelle Fultz

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Legendary shot doctor weighs in on Markelle Fultz

The Sixers have treated the Markelle Fultz situation like he's an international spy. Information has been hard to come by. Updates have been infrequent, to put it mildly.

As the days and weeks go by with the only footage of Fultz being practice video, the Sixers have invited speculation. They've invited criticism.

And while Herb Magee doesn't have any insider info on Fultz, the legendary shot doctor's opinion on Fultz has value.

Deadspin interviewed Magee about Fultz. You can read the full article here.

Below are some of the standout quotes from Magee:

Fultz wasn't a great shooter, even prior to this
"I would never put him in the category of a great shooter, even when he played in college," Magee said. 

"First of all, great shooters do not shoot 65 percent at the foul line. If you’re going a whole season and shooting 65 percent from the foul line, you can’t be in the category of a great shooter. The only real test for a shooter is foul shooting and three-point shooting. You can’t go by percentages. If you think back when Shaq played, he was probably shooting like 60 percent from the field and 40 percent from the foul line, (Ed.: 58 and 52) because he was shooting in-close and dunks. 

"JJ Redick shoots like 94 percent from the foul line, Kevin Durant, close to 90, Curry is like 93, so to think that this kid is gonna be a Steph Curry or a JJ Redick, certainly not at this time, even if his shoulder isn’t bothering him. There’s no reason to think that he couldn’t improve, but a great shooter does not shoot 65 percent from the foul line."

The hitch in Fultz's giddy-up
"You can see he’s developed a hitch, and it’s more like a push shot, rather than a shot. The one that shows with his shoulder taped, you can see that as he goes to shoot, he brings it up into a position you would not do if you were a good shooter, and he kind of pushes the ball towards the basket. And the results were like — I think he shot it and completely missed the rim. That’s impossible. That’s an impossibility.

"I don’t know. Obviously, he has somebody that teaches him. He had the same guy in college and high school, from what I’ve read. He must have a lot of faith in the guy. Obviously, it’s in his head right now."

Forgetting how to shoot
"No, no, no. I have not seen that. Especially a kid on that level. He was the top guy in the draft, he was a college All-American. And the consensus top guy, from what I understand. What’s going on with that youngster right now... I’ve seen guys go into slumps, but not someone who would drastically change his shot to the point that he would hurt his shoulder number one, and number two, that he could not make a shot."

" ... I think the problem with Fultz is simply in his head. I think the only way to get it out of his head would be working in closely, shooting one-handed, and try to rebuild it right from the ground.

"I’ve never heard of it, I will say that to you. I’ve never heard of a guy on his level, and a guy as accomplished as he was in college just completely lose his shot."

Magee has been coaching for 51 years at Philadelphia University (which is now called Jefferson University).

Can Fultz get by without a jumper?
"He can get places, that’s for sure. But if you get places, you better be able to make shots. Unless you’re like Ben Simmons, who can get there and dunk it. Fultz is a guard. Ben Simmons is a guard, but he’s a revolutionary guard, more like LeBron James. But Fultz is a slasher type of kid. He needs a jump shot, he really does. And you’re gonna get fouled, and you gotta make foul shots."

Report: Sixers trade No. 39 pick to Lakers for 2019 2nd-rounder, cash

Report: Sixers trade No. 39 pick to Lakers for 2019 2nd-rounder, cash

The Sixers didn’t wait until draft night to start their wheeling and dealing.

According to a report Wednesday by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers have traded the No. 39 pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for a 2019 second-round pick (via the Chicago Bulls) and cash.

With the Sixers previously holding six total selections in Thursday’s 2018 NBA draft and 11 players already under contract for next season, the team was never going to be able to use all of its picks.

The Sixers now enter the draft with picks Nos. 10 and 26 in the first round and Nos. 38, 56 and 60 in the second round.

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NBA draft profile: Villanova G Jalen Brunson

NBA draft profile: Villanova G Jalen Brunson

Jalen Brunson

Position: Guard

Height: 6-2

Weight: 198

School: Villanova

As Mikal Bridges cements his status as a consensus lottery pick and Donte DiVincenzo’s name becomes hot enough to reportedly receive an invite to the green room of the draft, their Villanova teammate who was the consensus national player of the year has seen his stock remain static.

Jalen Brunson was the leading scorer on Villanova’s national title team last season, pouring in 18.9 points per game while dishing out 4.6 assists. Bunson, a three-year starter and two-time national champ, was also highly-efficient, shooting 52.1 percent from the floor, 40.8 percent from deep and 80.2 percent from the free throw line. And as a result of his remarkable junior season, the Villanova point guard took home a ton of hardware in sweeping the major national player of the year awards.

But, Brunson isn’t considered a surefire first-round pick.

Two of the main reasons for this? His position and age. The point guard position has the greatest depth in the NBA so lead guards don’t tend be high draft picks unless they have All-Star upside. If Bridges was five inches shorter, he wouldn’t have the same kind of value. Teams are starving for rotation three-and-D wings and not so much for high-floor/low-ceiling point guards. 

With Brunson set to turn 22 years old in August, he doesn’t possess the tantalizing upside of the top point guards in this draft like Trae Young, Collin Sexton and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Even so, there's still a place for Brunson in the NBA.

Strengths
As a three-level scorer, Brunson can fill it up in a variety of ways. He has a smooth jumper that extends beyond the three-point line. In the mid-range area, he makes up for his lack of quickness with crafty moves to create separation for pull-ups. On drives, Brunson can initiate contact to draw fouls, contort his body to avoid contests and has good touch around the rim. And believe it or not, the 6-2 guard utilizes his craftiness to be an effective post player as well. 

When Brunson has the ball in his hands, he carries a calming force with him. He plays at his own pace and just always seems in control, rarely committing egregious turnovers or taking bad shots. He's also a willing, talented passer who will make the unselfish extra pass and can also fit the ball into a tight window to a cutter/roller.

Weaknesses
Brunson’s weaknesses have less to do with his skills and more with his physical traits and tools. He’s not an explosive athlete with crazy bounce and doesn’t possess game-changing speed or quickness. So will he be able to create enough space against more athletic wing defenders to penetrate to the rim or get off his pull-up jumper? 

Defensively, Brunson works hard and isn't way undersized as a point guard. But he doesn't have the size to switch across multiple positions and the one position he will defend is deep with high-level talent. He can survive against backups, but how will he fare against quality starters and stars?

NBA comparison
Lefties tend to get compared to other lefties, but I'm passing on the Derek Fisher comp and going with fellow Big 5 alum Jameer Nelson. The St. Joe’s product is shorter and had a little more quickness during his prime, but was a solid starter capable of scoring at all three levels despite some physical limitations. Brunson projects more as a backup but has the ceiling of a player like Nelson.

How’d he fit with the Sixers
Let’s look at the Sixers’ current guards beyond Ben Simmons. Markelle Fultz is an unknown. T.J. McConnell is set to be an unrestricted free agent next summer. And the only others under contract are Jerryd Bayless, Timothe Luwawu-Caborrot and Furkan Korkmaz.

This team needs guard depth, specifically ball handlers and shot creators/makers. While it may not come at an elite level, Brunson could fill both of those needs. And because of his shooting ability, he could also play off the ball as a spot-up shooter and secondary creator alongside Simmons and Fultz.

Draft projection 
A fringe first-rounder, Brunson's range will start right around the Sixers’ second pick at No. 26. If they pass on him there, they shouldn’t count on him still being on the board at their next pick at 38.

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