What is going on with Sixers’ guard Markelle Fultz?

Ryan McFadden, Sports Editor

One of the strangest phenomena  I’ve seen in the NBA over the last 10 years added another chapter when Philadelphia Sixers guard Markelle Fultz gave his best Chuck Hayes impression and double-clutched a missed free throw shot against the Miami Heat on Nov. 12.

Fultz, who was the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, showed signs of his jumping form turning back to normal at the beginning of the season, but now it looks worse than last year.

This makes me question – what is going on with Fultz?

Coming out of college, Fultz was one of the most dynamic scorers in college basketball. His ability to get to the rim, while shooting at a high percentage from the mid-range and three point line was the reason the Sixers traded with the Boston Celtics for the top pick in the 2017 draft.

Since Fultz has been in the NBA, nothing about his shooting form reflects to the player he was at the University of Washington. It was started when there was video of Fultz displaying an awkward free throw form during practice last season.

Fultz claimed the reason for his new form was because he changed it during the offseason. That story changed drastically when the Sixers announced in October of the 2017-18 season that Fultz was out indefinitely with a right shoulder injury that hads caused his poor shooting.

It was later revealed that Fultz had a scapular dyskinesis, which forced him to relearn his basketball skills.

Fultz would end up returning to the court later that season, but he rarely took any jump shots when he played.

During the past offseason, Fultz worked with trainer Drew Hanlen on fixing his shooting form and even posted videos on social media taking three pointers and mid-range shots. Fultz gave Sixers fans hope in the preseason and early parts of the regular season when he was making mid-range and even three pointers during games.

Even though he has looked a little better compared to last season, there is still no consistency in his game. Fultz has scored in double figures in back-to-back games once. He is shooting 30 percent from deep and a dreadful 57 percent from the free throw line.

To make this situation weirder, Hanlen posted a tweet, which was later deleted, that Fultz is still not 100 percent healthy. Fultz and Hanlen are currently not working together and no longer on speaking terms, according to NBA writer Alex Kennedy. Fultz responded to Hanlen’s comments by saying he is healthy.

The saga continues to grow and looks like it may never end. If Fultz claims health is not the issue, is it his confidence? Is Fultz as unsure of his shooting form as we are? It’s like every time I think Fultz is turning things around, he takes major steps back.

The best option for the Sixers at this point is to put J.J. Reddick back in the starting lineup, while allowing Fultz to come off the bench and play with the second unit to see if he can gain some confidence back. Fultz has the potential to be a solid player in the league, but his broke jump-shot has hindered him from elevating his game.

The way things are looking, we may never discover the true reason behind Fultz’s shooting form. And with Jimmy Butler arriving to the City of Brotherly Love, how long will the organization wait until Fultz figures things out?