Fultz out with a major injury in spite of the Sixers recent success
The problems with Markelle Fultz keep piling up. Last season it was a mysterious shoulder problem and this season it’s a major injury that will keep him out indefinitely.
The former first overall pick is suffering from a rare nerve disease called thoracic outlet syndrome. This causes pain in the shoulders and neck, and even numbness or coldness in the fingers.
While this is a serious injury and the team wishes the best for Fultz, he has never been the right fit. He was never a great prospect in terms of the team’s needs.
Ben Simmons was ready to start his rookie season after being injured the year before, and Joel Embiid was emerging as a star. It really made no sense to pass up on a wing player for the scoring guard that is Fultz.
He was never a great passer in college, only averaging around six assists a game. This should have been a red flag for a team that didn’t have room for a scoring point guard.
Nonetheless, Philly drafted Fultz first overall and they have seen practically zero production or promise from him thus far. Luckily this hasn’t affected the team’s success as they sit third in the Eastern Conference at 17-8.
If it isn’t obvious to everybody in the NBA world, Fultz has been a bust for the Sixers. He’s going to need a fresh start after this major injury, and the team could really use another piece to become serious title contenders.
Not even those closest to Fultz have had any idea what’s been going on with his injury:
here is every time markelle, a teammate, coach, doctor, agent or the sixers tried to explain fultz's injury since he was drafted
it's been a journeyhttps://t.co/hr8wnG8GXK
— Matt Ellentuck (@mellentuck) December 4, 2018
Can Philly compete without moving Fultz?
A major injury usually causes panic on any NBA team. This isn’t really the case for the Sixers and Fultz. The team hasn’t played any better with his pedestrian 8.2 points per game and 42 percent from the field.
Philly took a gamble on Jimmy Butler a few weeks ago and so far it has really panned out. The team looked polished even while adjusting to the ball-dominant play style of Butler.
Although Butler has excelled for the team thus far, the lineup really took a blow with the loss of Robert Covington. Fultz’s injury could be a perfect time for the team to secure a 3-and-D player to replace Covington.
Kyle Korver seemed like a perfect option until he signed with the Jazz last week. Philly seems to be one or two role players away from being able to beat teams like Toronto and Milwaukee.
It might be hard to move Fultz right now with a major injury, however, he is a first overall draft pick. Fortunately, there is always a losing team looking to market their franchise with a ‘former first overall pick.’
Los Angeles could be a potential trade destination for Fultz if the Lakers are willing to wait for his return from injury:
A Brandon Ingram and Kuzma for Markelle Fultz and a 1st trade could gain some serious steam. Fultz would thrive playing off ball with Rondo or Lonzo running point, as well as with Lebron’s mentorship.
— Biff Sippman (@BiffSippman) November 28, 2018
Will Butler’s early success last into the postseason?
Jimmy ‘Buckets’ has put on a scoring clinic in his first stretch with the Sixers. He perfectly compliments Embiid and Simmons with his 18 points per game.
In the clutch, the team is confident giving him the ball. He’s already notched a couple game winners and a few other clutch shots on top of that. The problems he had in Minnesota just don’t seem to exist in Philly.
Embiid and Simmons can be a little disconnected from the team at times, however, they are two of the hardest working players in the NBA. If Butler can live with their individualistic tendencies, the team will mesh perfectly under his veteran leadership.
Although Fultz hasn’t been a part of the Butler era so far, his major injury might contribute in the long run. If Philly can find somebody willing to take the former first overall pick off their hands, Butler and the Sixers will be putting up clutch buckets all the way to June.
Jimmy ‘Buckets’ puts up a ridiculous shot to secure the win against Memphis earlier this week:
jimmy butler the sixers closer pic.twitter.com/iUcOiYiogc
— Drew Corrigan (@Dcorrigan50) December 3, 2018
All stats via Basketball-reference.com
Featured Image: Redaski Indonesia via Flickr.com