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."

Should Ben Simmons shoot right-handed? He doesn't seem to think so

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Should Ben Simmons shoot right-handed? He doesn't seem to think so

For those sharing the conspiracy theory that Ben Simmons should be shooting with his right hand, prepare to be disappointed.

The Rookie of the Year appeared to shoot down the notion on Twitter, commenting on a story suggesting the Sixers’ point guard is shooting with the wrong hand.

This story stemmed from a piece by The New York Times basketball writer Marc Stein, but questions of the 22-year-old’s handedness were first posted by Kevin O’Connor — formerly of SB Nation, now with The Ringer. O’Connor has been charting Simmons’ shots since LSU. In a feature for SB Nation back in 2016, O’Connor noted that Simmons used his right hand on 81.5 percent of his shots. That’s pretty much reverse for any lefty currently in the NBA.

Since O’Connor first presented this theory, it’s picked up some steam.

Below is a video of Simmons taking free throws right-handed during warm-ups last season.

You have to admit, it looks pretty smooth. It’s a tough angle, but his elbow looks more tucked in than when he shoots with his left. His wrist action and follow through look smoother as well. 

Let’s also not forget when Simmons was given the chance to throw the first pitch at a Phillies game earlier this season.

That’s a pretty nice right-handed strike.

His free throw shooting was an issue last season. As dominant as Simmons was at times, he shot just 56 percent from the line. In a game against the Wizards on Nov. 11, the Sixers held a big lead. Sensing the game was slipping away, Washington head coach Scott Brooks went to the hack-a-Ben strategy. Simmons took 29 free throws, hitting just 15. It allowed the Wizards to make the game a little too close for comfort.

With all that said, there have been instances where Simmons has showed promise with his left-handed shot. In the playoffs, Simmons shot 70 percent from the line.

He’s also flashed the ability to shoot in practice …

… and in games …

Would Simmons be better if he shot with his right hand? If Simmons’ reaction to that notion is any indication, we may never know.

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Sixers remain quiet as contenders make their case for Eastern Conference supremacy

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Sixers remain quiet as contenders make their case for Eastern Conference supremacy

These are truly the dog days of summer when it comes to the NBA.

Players are likely either putting in work with daily workouts or enjoying some vacation time before things get cranked back up in the fall.

However, those aren’t the only activities that are presented with that extra free time. There is also more opportunity for guys to do some boasting about what is to come. After all, they’re probably feeling good about the progress made during the offseason and the recent 2018-19 schedule release has put a jolt in their system.

Unless you’re a Sixer. They’ve remained relatively silent as members of one team after another have stated their case for the Eastern Conference crown now that LeBron James took his talents to Hollywood.

Boston swingman Jaylen Brown openly laid claim to the East during an appearance last week on Portland guard C.J. McCollum’s Pull Up podcast.

“Oh, we're getting to the Finals. No question about it,” Brown said.

And Brown made it clear that he didn’t feel that way about his Celtics just because James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, he said the C’s were going win next season regardless of whether James stayed in the Eastern Conference or not.

“I hate how everybody is like, ‘Oh, LeBron's gone in the East,’” Brown said. “I know he did have a strong hold on the East for the last seven years, but he barely got us out of there this year. And our mindset was like, ‘Man, he’s not beating us again.’”

That’s pretty bold, but the Celtics have a right to feel good about themselves. They were on the cusp of reaching the NBA Finals a year ago and are getting All-Star reinforcements back in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

New Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez was a bit more diplomatic with his expectations for next season. Still, he presented the case for his squad to become the new big dogs in the East.

“We definitely think the East is wide open,” Lopez said to Hoopshype a week ago. “It’s going to be such a fun, exciting time in the East and it’s going to be super competitive. There are a lot of teams that can do [big] things, from Toronto to Boston to Philly — you just go down the list and it’s clear that the East is as exciting as it’s been in a long time. I think we’re very confident that we can, no question, win the East.”

Even Washington Wizards guard John Wall explained why his group could be the one to rise to the top of the conference.

“I feel like we’re all equal,” Wall told Yahoo! Sports. “None of them won a championship. This is no knock on no other team. Don’t get me wrong. Boston is a hell of a team. Philly has great young talent with those guys (Joel) Embiid, (Ben) Simmons. And Toronto, losing DeMar (DeRozan), they still get Kawhi (Leonard). Y’all might have been to the Eastern Conference finals, where we haven’t been to, but none of y’all were going to the Finals. It was one guy going to the Finals. Ain’t nobody separated from nothing. I know one guy that separated himself from the Eastern Conference every year and that was LeBron James and the Cavs. Other than that … if you lose in the second round or the conference finals, you still didn’t get to your ultimate goal.”

Throughout all of the chest-puffing discussions, the Sixers haven’t made a peep. Not even the 7-foot-2 All-Star known for trash-talking anyone in sight. Embiid barely gave a response to No. 1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton when the rookie recently decided to draw himself dunking on the Sixers’ center.

It’s a stark departure from Embiid’s normal back-and-forth nature, but it’s safe to assume that the big man and his team will wait until they step on the court to let their game do the talking.

With a healthy offseason under his belt for the first time as a professional, you can bet that Embiid — and in turn the Sixers — will have plenty to say at that time.

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