Nobody wants to take the blame for No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz‘s shooting struggles.
That’s why 76ers president Bryan Colangelo publicly questioned whether Fultz changing his form over the summer without the team’s knowledge caused a shoulder injury.
It’s also why Fultz’s agent said the injury was to blame for Fultz refusing to shoot from outside and why Fultz’s trainer is going public with his side of the story.
Fultz’s longtime trainer and mentor, Keith Williams, told USA TODAY Sports that Fultz began tweaking his shooting form as a result of the pain he felt in his shoulder as opposed to the other way around.
“The shot was never changed (before the shoulder pain),” Williams – who trained the New Orleans Pelicans’ DeMarcus Cousins in his college and early pro years, among other NBA clients – said by phone. “He’s a great shooting point guard. There haven’t been many point guards who shot the ball as well as him coming out of college, off the dribble and off the catch. I never changed the shot. Why would I?”
76ers coach Brett Brown, via Jake Pavorsky for NJ.com:
“It was clear that he wanted to change his shot,” Brown told the media Wednesday night. “We got that, he came back over the summer with that. And that was something he was into doing and we wanted to help promote that.”
Carlin & Reese on WIP:
So, the back and forth continues, both sides with clear incentives to portray the situation a certain way.
Is one side lying?
Is this just a miscommunication? Would Brown accept that Fultz “wanted to change his shot” due to injury? Or does Brown definitively mean Fultz preemptively “wanted to change his shot”? What’s the difference between a “changed shot” and “something that’s been altered because of the injury”?
Whatever is happening, it doesn’t look good for the 76ers, who’ve already made missteps with injuries to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Now, Philadelphia risks fomenting distrust with Fultz.