I spent the day wondering the best way to ask No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz about his suddenly deformed shooting stroke. I wanted to be respectful and empathetic and mostly just not blurt out, “What’s wrong with you?” After answering a few questions about his shot, Fultz himself brought up that he’s aware of all the “rumors” about his free throws. Sounding comfortable and confident – working against a popular theory that he has the yips – Fultz explained a shoulder injury is still hindering him. As soon as his shoulder heals, he’ll return to the form he used at Washington, where he made 65% of his free throws. “I do what I’ve got to do to get the ball on the rim,” said Fultz, who’s 6-of-12 from the line this season (50%). Fultz was less direct about his jumper. He can shoot 3-pointers right now, he insists. But after attempting more than five per game in college, he has taken no shots from at least 15 feet – let alone beyond the arc – in 76 NBA minutes. Though he professed confidence in his open jumper, even his close-range jumpers are a mess. He’s 3-of-16 from outside five feet, and shooting just 33% overall. More jarring are the shots he isn’t taking. A smooth mid-range operator and aggressive shot hunter at Washington, Fultz looks like a shell of himself. He sometimes drives, mostly to set up teammates, and he sets screens. But his biggest strengths have been neutered.
Markelle Fultz: Free-throw form temporary, result of shoulder injury
Pro Basketball Talk | Oct 24