Bayless, Saric Discuss Fultz Saga

By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

The Philadelphia 76ers are 5-2 since acquiring Jimmy Butler, but the bigger headline is still focused on 2017 top pick Markelle Fultz. The former Washington product is undergoing numerous consultations on his shoulder and wrist in New York this week while reports have surfaced regarding his future with the team and potential trade partners. Two of Fultz's former teammates, Jerryd Bayless and Dario Saric, recently sat down for an interview with Forbes and gave their thoughts on Markelle's situation.

“I see a young player that’s had extraordinarily high expectations placed upon him based on where he was drafted that’s going through a lot of things that most young players will go through," Bayless, 30, who's currently rehabbing an injured knee in New York and will soon begin his 11th NBA season on the floor with the Wolves. "Is it heightened because he was the number one pick? I would say so. Is he a perfect player right now? No. Did they think he’d be better? Yes."

Fultz was more or less the consensus number one overall pick in the 2017 draft. He was supposed to be the missing piece to a Sixers offense that lacked an isolation shooter. Instead, Fultz was sidelined shortly into his rookie season with a shoulder injury and he would go on to miss over 60 games before returning towards the end of the season. While Fultz claims there was/is an injury to his shoulder, there are many reports that point towards part of his issue being mental. 

"It’s easy for outside influences to get involved in any player’s life," Bayless said, "and it’s up to the player to have the strong mindframe to focus on their situation and the team’s situation, and try to find what’s best to navigate that dynamic. Every player goes through that.”

Bayless went on to say that Fultz never moped about his situation and that he came in and did his job. Meanwhile, Dario Saric's comments cover what The Homie noticed from Fultz over the summer. As for what happened between the summer and a week ago…your guess is as good as Dario's.

“It’s been very hard for him what’s been happening the last couple of seasons," Saric said. "I saw him this summer, he was, like, fine."

"He was happy, he was really enjoying it," Saric said. "When I was talking to him, he seemed like everything was okay."

Every young player goes through his share of ups and downs, Saric said, but it never seemed like good things were happening for Fultz. There were only on-court struggles, self doubt and heavy expectations.

As Fultz continues to search for answers, the Sixers move forward with T.J. McConnell as the back-up point guard. 

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