Now, the No. 1 pick is sparking alarm with his Shaq-esque free throws, seen above in the 76ers preseason game yesterday.
Fultz has been dealing with soreness in his right shoulder, which caused him to miss Friday’s preseason game, but he “can’t recall” when he first felt the pain. After Monday’s game against the Celtics, he said the shoulder has been hurting “on and off.” “I talk to trainers when it bothers me, and they get right to it and start working on it,” Fultz said. “When it’s not, I’m happy. Either way, I’m happy and I just go out and play.”
After Fultz left the locker room, I asked him if the shoulder issue motivated him to revise his free throw mechanics, to minimize the pain he feels when he raises his arm. Fultz said, “Yeah, for the most part. I’m just trying other things to make free throws. At the end of the day, that’s not an excuse for me. I’m just out there hooping.”
The big question: Is Fultz developing bad habits while playing through his shoulder injury?
If he’s just pushing up free throws for now so he can play and hone other parts of his game, OK. It’s the preseason. Heck, Philadelphia could probably afford him playing through that flaw in the regular season.
But if Fultz is screwing up his stroke, that’d be a major concern – especially if it flows into his shooting from the floor. If that’s the case, the 76ers should sit him.
It’s almost impossible to tell which is the case from afar and maybe even from the inside while Fultz’s shoulder is still bothering him. The 76ers just have to hope they’re handling this correctly.