Will we see the Philadelphia 76ers’ most recent No. 1 pick again this season?
The official Philadelphia 76ers storyline is that they are undecided on whether or not Markelle Fultz will return this season. Reports are surfacing suggesting Fultz’s shoulder injury is behind him and his shot looks good. The general consensus among most writers and 76ers fans alike is to begin playing Fultz. I believe the Sixers should sit Fultz for the rest of the season, and here’s why.
Playing Fultz at this point in the season is a no-win situation, both for Fultz and the 76ers. The Sixers are still adjusting rotations with the current additions of Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova. Inserting Fultz into the rotation will create more adjustments.
If Fultz plays, he’ll have to go though his rookie growing pains at the end of the season and playoff time, where the games slow down and every mistake is magnified. The Sixers lead the league in turnovers at over 17 per game and adding Fultz to the rotation will most likely increase that number.
More from Sixers News
- 3 Sixers players who could help Team USA Basketball
- 76ers 2k24 ratings: 3 most underrated players on Philadelphia roster
- 76ers head coach Nick Nurse bares lofty plans for Paul Reed this season
- Grade the Trade: 76ers swap Tobias Harris for superstar PG in mock deal
- Breaking Down Bombshell Report on Sixers Star James Harden
With less than 20 games left, every game becomes more like a playoff game as teams jockey for a better playoff seeding. Players on losing teams still play hard hoping to impress their current teams. Players probably resent the first pick of the draft sitting out all year in part due to confidence issues and would have extra incentive to play hard against him.
Bryan Colangelo hears lots of criticism for making the deal to move up in the draft to take Fultz. Colangelo is a very astute General Manager and knows that more criticism will be forthcoming if Fultz is upgraded to the playing rotation now and under-performs.
Colangelo’s risk is lowered if he sits Fultz out for the season. Also remember that Fultz is only 19 years old with little experience dealing with the media. How will he handle getting grilled if he doesn’t play well?
Speaking as a former player, coming back from an injury is different than trying to regain confidence. When a player returns from injury, it takes time for confidence to return. Once they realize their injury is fully healed, it takes little time to return to form.
When a player loses confidence in their game (or shot), the only way to regain that confidence is to practice, play and shoot their way out of it. Fultz if he plays now, he will be hesitant to shoot, similar to Ben Simmons is going through now. The Sixers have more of a chance further damaging his confidence at this point. The opportunity to rebuild confidence won’t happen until he plays again in the summer league.
Sixers fandom takes heart. This season has been a transitional year in the process. The Sixers have from winning 28 games last season to a playoff team this season.
We’ve seen Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons play an entire season injury-free (Editor’s note: knock on wood). We’ve seen our bench improve. News flash — the Sixers are NOT going to win the NBA title this year, whether Markelle Fultz plays or not.
The process was about being competitive for the next 10 years or so and Fultz will probably be part of it. We won’t know for at least two to three years whether Fultz is a bust or not. Remember that Fultz is only 19 years old and was the general consensus first pick of the draft for a reason.
I saw enough of Fultz in four games to determine that he could really add to this Sixers team going forward. Next year should be something.