4. Markelle Fultz is irreparably broken
No one knew what to expect out of Markelle Fultz heading into Tuesday night.
After one of the strangest rookie campaigns in recent memory — ravaged by either a shoulder injury or “the yips,” depending on who you ask — Fultz spent the summer working with trainer Drew Hanlen to fix his busted jump shot. He looked more confident throughout an up-and-down preseason than he did last year, but questions about his shooting stroke remained.
Fultz didn’t do much to quell those concerns against Boston, as he finished with only five points on 2-of-7 shooting in 24 minutes. The Celtics took advantage of his refusal to pull the trigger from deep, sagging off of him and sending multiple defenders to swarm Joel Embiid in the post.
So, that’s that, right? Fultz is irreparably broken and was a complete waste of a No. 1 overall pick? He has Anthony Bennett 2.0 written all over him, yes?
Fultz temporarily stymied that narrative Thursday night against the Chicago Bulls, when he hit his first-ever regular-season 3-pointer in a blowout 127-108 win. Though he went only 1-of-6 in the first half, the Washington product wound up leading the team in field-goal attempts on the night (15), and he calmly drained a mid-range pull-up in the waning seconds of garbage time, too.
Roller-coaster performances may be par for the course for Fultz in the early going, as he’s still getting his NBA sea legs after playing less than 300 minutes as a rookie. Though he’s bound to put up more clunkers like he did against Boston, his fourth-quarter showing against Chicago is a stark reminder of what he can provide if he lives up to his potential.