Markelle Fultz Shares Injury Journey, Rebuilt Jumper


By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Thursday was a big news day for the Philadelphia 76ers. In addition to Elton Brand being introduced as the organization's new general manager, footage of Markelle Fultz's improved jump shot was also unveiled.

In a piece entitled Last Year Was Last Year on the Player's Tribune, Fultz and Isaiah Thomas talk about putting the past to bed and being focused on silencing the doubters and performing like they know how to on the basketball court.

Less than a minute into the 17+ minute video, we're shown clips of Fultz shooting three-pointers. While his release point still seems a little lower than normal, it's smooth and fluid. There's no hitch and no awkwardness and for Sixers fans, that is a welcomed site. It's not perfect, but it's most definitely improved. Once you watch, you'll notice that the release is also faster and Fultz squares up the shots nicely.

"I'm really excited to just go out there and showcase my full ability," Fultz said. "It's going to be a surprise, really. That's why you don't see me on social media right now, because I want it to be special."

After being selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, fans were eager to have a guard that could not only shoot, but create his own shot off the dribble. Less than five games into the season though, Fultz was shelved with a mysterious shoulder injury and missed 60+ games. Whether there was actually an injury, or it was discomfort combined with a case of the yips, his teammates and coaches always had confidence that the former Washington product would return to form and show people why he was picked first in the draft. 

"It took a long time, which people really didn't understand. They thought, 'Man, he's just being soft', but it was really an injury," Fultz said. "We figured it out and I've been back to work this summer and everything's back to even better than it was."

In his short time back with the Sixers towards the end of the season, he became the youngest player to record a triple-double and displayed some of the skills that made him the top pick. While Fultz claims that there was indeed an injury, there was also a mental aspect of it that people focused on. Even Drew Hanlen mentioned Fultz having the yips early in the summer and Markelle addressed how he approaching things mentally last season after being the top pick. 

"Stuff on the internet never really got to me, but just to see reporters and stuff that talk so highly and then one moment when things don't go their way, they just talk down on you," Fultz said. "It was just like, 'Alright cool, that's another people that doubted me, so I gotta go against them too.'"

Fultz also talked about what he learned being injured during his rookie year. Through Instagram and other social media outlets, you can see how closeknit this Sixers team is. The thing Markelle mentioned that resonated a lot was that he talked to his friends on other teams and asked if they go out to dinner with their teammates or anything, and they said no. Fultz appreciates the culture of the Sixers and even though he hasn't been in the league for long, he feels a strong connection to his teammates. 

"I think I learned more than what most rookies learn, just because of the stuff I went through with injury and everything like that," said Fultz. "I had great vets that taught me the system quick."

Check out the full video below: 

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