* * *
What do you make of Markelle Fultz's latest troubles?
* * *
Steve Aschburner: I’m feeling sad for Fultz, because this surely wasn’t what he bargained for when he submitted his name for the 2017 Draft. He’s already made more money than 99 percent of Americans will earn in their lifetimes, so it’s not about that. It’s about a dream turning into a relative nightmare, compounded by the trade that will forever have him compared to Boston’s Jayson Tatum, not to mention Utah's Donovan Mitchell and a half dozen other guys selected after Fultz. There seems to be some hardening of positions going on between the player and the Sixers now, who are eager for their contender train to go express. I hope I’m wrong here, but it’s hard to see a resolution or a chance at a happy ending for Fultz that doesn’t include a relocation to and fresh start with another team.
Shaun Powell: A red flag, obviously, and proof that the Sixers still don't know what they have in this former No. 1 overall pick. The entire episode is perplexing, and there's little the team can do except see if he can work through his shoulder and the shooting stroke, which is broken. Never seen anything like it before in basketball.
John Schuhmann: From the outside, it's hard to know what exactly is wrong. And I wonder if Sixers GM Elton Brand, coach Brett Brown and Fultz's teammates really know. We thought that Fultz made progress with his trainer over the summer, but it became clear right away (in preseason) that he still had confidence issues with his jumper. Things have seemingly gotten worse since then and, though there are still five months left in the season, it's hard to see Fultz going from where he is now to being a postseason contributor on a team that has a goal of reaching The Finals.
Sekou Smith: My sense is that Fultz and his representatives are doing whatever they can to solve his strange case of -- whatever is going on with him --- in an effort to salvage whatever is left of his career with the Sixers.Remember, the current Sixers' front-office regime did not spend that No. 1 pick on him. So their trust and patience with Fultz might not be as air-tight as it would be otherwise. I can honestly say that I have never seen a case like this in basketball. Fultz is struggling in ways that simply defy logic. This isn't golf, tennis or even baseball, where a classic case of the yips is not uncommon. To see a young player with his raw talent and athleticism struggle like this is shocking. With Jimmy Butler joining Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as the Philly superstar trio, I don't know what that does to Fultz. But it can't be a good thing.