No more cryptic Instagram posts. No more Zapruder-type videos.
On Thursday, Markelle Fultz gave us a glimpse of his much-anticipated jumper via an interview with the Denver Nuggets’ Isaiah Thomas for The Players' Tribune.
The biggest takeaway? What a huge improvement from anything we saw last season.
It’s certainly encouraging, but there are still things we need to see. All of those shots were set shots off the catch. We still need to see him shooting off the dribble, at the free throw line and in game situations.
During an almost 20-minutes conversation with I.T., Fultz talked about the injury that affected his shot. He dealt with a scapular muscle imbalance, which was finally diagnosed in late October after a weird start to the season.
The biggest question involving Fultz is whether the shot change caused the injury or the change occurred because of the injury. Fultz gave a clear answer.
“There was a lot of things going about changing shots and all this, but there was an injury there,” Fultz said. “For me, I’m a hooper so I was like ‘this ain’t going to stop me.’ Once I realized I really couldn’t do stuff to my full capacity, I was like ‘it really is something’ so I had to find out what it was and we did that throughout the season.
“It took a long time, which people really didn’t understand. They thought I was just being soft but it was really an injury. And now I got a chance to just sit down and pick apart all these doctors – we figured it out and I’ve been back to work this summer and everything’s even better than what it was.”
Fultz was the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 and for good reason. He had a stellar one-and-done season with Washington. The Sixers traded up to acquire the rights to select Fultz, primarily because of his fit with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Part of that fit centered around Fultz’s jumper.
When Fultz got hurt, all of that changed. He played in just 14 games and struggled in his limited playoff action. The team won 52 games and a playoff series with him mostly as a spectator.
Now fully healthy, Fultz has spent the summer in L.A. working with training guru Drew Hanlen, who’s worked with Embiid and Jayson Tatum, among others. The work appears to be paying off.
“Sixers fans are gonna get somebody that’s going to come in and play hard,” Fultz said. “I think I’m going to be that guy that’s going to be able to create shots for himself and his teammates. That guy at the end of the game when you need a bucket – you don’t really have to call a play. I’m going to get out there on defense. Most people don’t know I like to block shots so I’m going to be a big point guard out there.”
You can check out the full video here.