76ers

Report: Markelle Fultz 'could prefer a change in scenery,' will also have wrist examined

Report: Markelle Fultz 'could prefer a change in scenery,' will also have wrist examined

The Markelle Fultz saga has yet another wrinkle.

Fultz has apparently been dealing with a wrist injury that has affected his shot and “could prefer a change in scenery,” according to a report Wednesday night by The Athletic.

This a pretty loaded report. Especially when you consider Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, said specifically that his client would be meeting with a shoulder specialist.

Fultz's camp has denied any trades wishes.

The idea that Fultz wants out of Philadelphia is disappointing. Brett Brown did everything this season to allow Fultz to flourish. Brown broke up the best starting lineup in the NBA to allow Fultz the opportunity to start. 

Then, even after the team acquired Jimmy Butler, Brown made sure to note it was nothing that Fultz did wrong to lose his starting role. Brown gave Fultz the opportunity to be the team’s backup point guard and have the ball in his hands more.

The “change of scenery” idea makes sense when you consider the timing of all of this. Fultz didn’t complain to the team about an injury. It wasn’t that long ago that Fultz said “everything feels good.” News about Brothers wanting Fultz to see a specialist came Tuesday after Fultz was benched in favor of T.J. McConnell for the second half of the win over the Suns Monday.

It appears Fultz is being pulled in different directions (see story). Before tonight’s game, Brown said that Fultz was around the team.

What can the Sixers get for Fultz? Probably not much. 

The more likely scenario is the team tries to heal the relationship and figure out how to proceed.

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Ben Simmons seems like he may be teasing intent to shoot more jumpers

Ben Simmons seems like he may be teasing intent to shoot more jumpers

Ben Simmons appears comfortable with the public knowing that he’s been working on his jump shot during the NBA’s hiatus.

After the Sixers included Simmons making a three-pointer in a video package from a recent practice, the 23-year-old released a YouTube video on Wednesday that shows the workouts he did in Los Angeles with trainer Chris Johnson ahead of the league’s restart. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade make appearances. 

Simmons shoots plenty of jump shots in the video — turnarounds in the post, mid-range pull-ups, catch-and-shoot threes. Johnson has Simmons put on shooting gloves for some of the drills. 

There’s one exchange with the Pistons’ Tony Snell, at around the 5:18 mark of the video, that possibly teases Simmons’ intent to attempt more jumpers when play resumes.

Snell: You should be shooting way more. Your shot looks good.

Simmons: Orlando.

Snell: Orlando? I’ll be watching.

Simmons: I’m coming for it.

We don’t need to remind Sixers fans that Simmons has yet to be a remotely regular or effective NBA jump shooter. The two-time All-Star has made the first two three-pointers of his professional career this season and is 6 for 34 overall from 10 feet and out. He'd said in September, "If it's open, I'll take it" when asked about the prospect of taking threes this season, an attitude that did not materialize in games. 

This video of him sinking shots in a non-game setting is not necessarily a sign he’ll be primed to fire at Disney World, but the fact that he’s put the footage out there for all to see is at least notable. Of course, there were also plenty of videos last summer of him draining jumpers. He’s had an excellent all-around season and is one of the league’s best defenders, but the jump shot has still been miles behind the other areas of his game. 

The Sixers have been using Simmons as a power forward in their practices at Disney World, a shift he said Tuesday he’s willing to try.

“You've just gotta work with different things,” he said. “You’ve gotta try different things out, see if they work. We’re not at a stage where we can be comfortable yet. I’m still trying to figure it out myself ... what feels comfortable, what’s right for this team and how we’re gonna win. 

“If it’s this way, then I’m all for it. I’ve been having fun in that position — whatever you guys say, the four — whatever it is. But at the end of the day, when you see me I’m on the floor, I’m making plays.

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Matisse Thybulle, Ben Simmons and Sixers provide insight into life in NBA 'bubble'

Matisse Thybulle, Ben Simmons and Sixers provide insight into life in NBA 'bubble'

Hearing the Sixers describe their early days inside the NBA’s “bubble” at Disney World, it sounds something like living inside a reality television show.

The team is isolated from the outside world and preparing to perform for the general public’s entertainment. In their downtime, many players have felt as if they’re at summer camp, not an environment created in response to a pandemic. They’re taking part in approved recreational activities while making sure to adhere to the league’s many health and safety regulations. Fishing has been an option some players have enjoyed. 

“The fishing conditions are very good, a lot of largemouth bass,” Ben Simmons said Monday in a video conference call. “I fish a lot so this is what I do every day. I work out, play some video games and fish, so that’s my day-to-day routine. But overall I think everyone is just doing something to be productive in some sort of aspect. 

“I think guys are enjoying it. Myself, personally, I’m just having a good time, getting ready for the games coming up and using the free time to just do something that I enjoy doing. So it’s been good.”

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We went fishing for some bass 🎣

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Joel Embiid said Monday he’s enjoying his “big TV and video games. … Just enjoying my time being on FaceTime basically 24/7 and playing video games.”

The NBA and NBPA announced Monday that two players of the 322 tested in Orlando were positive for the coronavirus, and that those players never cleared quarantine. Though many questions linger about the league’s approach, both in terms of efficacy and morality as the NBA ramps up to play in a location where COVID-19 has taken a serious toll on the healthcare system, it seems to have been successful so far in preventing a spread of the coronavirus on the Disney World campus.

Monday, ESPN reported that the Rockets' Bruno Caboclo unintentionally broke quarantine, while former Sixer Richaun Holmes tweeted that he accidentally breached the bubble to pick up a food delivery. Both players were subject to extended time in quarantine. The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Monday that multiple tips have been made to the NBA's anonymous hotline to report protocol violations. 

At least initially, Brett Brown thought his players were doing a good job of following all precautions. 

“How are the players responding? Well," Brown said Sunday. “Do I think it can be maintained? I do, as far as the discipline. We all worry about the virus, in some capacity, sneaking it. But I tell you what, full credit to the NBA for creating this environment, and credit to the players for being — albeit (in early days) — disciplined to do the things that they have asked us to do.”

Rookie Matisse Thybulle’s video series on life in the bubble has provided a look at this unusual existence for players. Thybulle is showing fans everything from testing procedures to practice banter to a masked general manager Elton Brand sinking a jumper. 

“He didn’t get clearance to put me on,” Simmons said with a smile. “I’m going to have to speak to him if he makes any money off it. But I love it, I love that he’s capturing this moment. It’s a historic moment for sports in general. I think what he’s been doing has been great.”

It’s excellent insight from Thybulle into a situation nobody has ever come close to experiencing before. His two videos thus far have totaled over 500,000 views on YouTube, so Simmons may be wise to renegotiate a royalty agreement. 

On a more serious note, Mike Scott on Monday summed up life in the bubble well. He has no complaints.

“I just know how to adapt to situations I’m in,” he said. “It’s not that bad. The hotel room is good, food is solid. It’s just basketball after that. It feels like camp, like a basketball camp. You go from your room to the court from the court to your room, see some players here and there, but for the most part, I’m not really tripping. It’s straight, it’s cool.”

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