Markelle Fultz: Sorting out fact and fiction for the forlorn Sixers’ rookie

After playing in four early season games for the Sixers, No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz hasn’t seen the court since October 23.

At first it was muscle imbalance. He’d be re-evaluated in three weeks. The three weeks passed and Fultz was nowhere to be found. Then we were told he was rehabbing his shoulder in Kentucky. He’d be re-evaluated in the next week or two.

Almost two months later, Fultz’s playing status remains a mystery. He’s back at Sixers practice and shootaround, but there’s no timetable as to when or if he’ll see the court this season.

There are many troubling questions surrounding the 6-foot-4 guard from Washington that remain in our latest edition of fact or fiction.

Markelle Fultz won’t play again this season

Fiction. With Fultz back practicing in full, the next step in his rehab would likely be getting him a couple games in Delaware for the Sevens under his belt before returning to the Sixers. Early February seems like a solid bet for Fultz’s return. A home date on ESPN against the Miami Heat on February 2 makes a lot of sense.

Markelle Fultz changed his shot

Fact. Fultz’s shot has definitely changed from what it looked like at summer league. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, some of the videos of Fultz’s misses in practice are somewhat worrisome, but his form looks better than it did before which should translate into higher success in the long-term. Coach Brett Brown said that he “needs to be able to shoot a basketball” to return to the court. Practice and repetition is the best way for him to do that.

Markelle Fultz has no discomfort in his right shoulder

Fiction. Unfortunately, Fultz is still dealing with discomfort from time to time in his right shoulder. How much discomfort, only Fultz has the answer to. If doctors feel that his shoulder is healed enough to practice, that’s a huge step in the right direction. Hopefully the injury won’t linger all season or that he doesn’t reinjure it, but a little discomfort every now and then is not something to sit your No. 1 draft pick over. 

Markelle Fultz will be in the starting lineup by the end of the season

Fact. Going by coach Brown’s words, Fultz won’t return to the court until he can shoot again. If Fultz can shoot again, the other parts of his game should come naturally. Fultz is the most complimentary player to Ben Simmons on the Sixers roster. He’s the perfect combo guard who can run point guard or play shooting guard and be effective at both. He gives the Sixers offense an added dimension compared to when Jerryd Bayless or T.J. McConnell are playing point guard. 

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