Markelle Fultz to come off bench for Sixers to start season

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If we have learned anything about the Sixers organization in the past few years, it’s that they are unwaveringly focused on the big picture. Joel Embiid needs to sit out two seasons (and most of a third), they’ll wait. Ben Simmons needs to sit out a season, they’ll wait.

So it’s no shock that the Sixers are willing to be patient with No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz.

After a preseason where he only played in a few games due to shoulder and knee issues, and where he was clearly still finding his game in the ones he did play (after tweaking his free throw form on his own this offseason, and his whole shot went wonky shooting less than 30 percent in preseason), he will be coming off the bench to start the season, coach Brett Brown told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

It’s not a good sign to have a No. 1 pick that doesn’t start. It’s rare. It’s Andrea Bargnani or Anthony Bennett territory.

This feels different from those situations, however. First, he did suffer injuries in the preseason that limited him.

Moreso, Fultz was a deserving No. 1 pick, but he always had development to do — he has great skills and can do a lot of things well, but it’s another level to fit those things into an NBA game against NBA defenders. Once he figures out how, once he’s healthy and confident again, he will be a player in this league.

The Sixers are willing to wait for Fultz.