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Will Markelle Fultz play again for the Sixers this season?


Markelle Fultz played four games for Philadelphia at the start of this season. You probably forgot that.

It was then that he was pulled off the court to deal with a shoulder injury, which had morphed into a concern about his shooting form and jump shot. Was the issue in his head? Armchair sports psychologists tried to figure out what was going on, questioning if he is ready to play, while logical people noted he’s just 19 and may need a little time.

But with just 18 games left before the 76ers enter the playoffs, it’s time to ask:

Will Markelle Fultz play for the Sixers again this season?

He was out warming up on the court pregame before the Sixers beat the Hornets Tuesday, as shown by Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Sixers coach Brett Brown gave a vague answer to the return question, saying the team was thinking about it still.

“It’s all internal discussions we’re going through right now and just trying to accurately assess his situation,” Brown said Tuesday before the Sixers played the Hornets. “And we’re discussing that as we speak.”

At this point, my bet is the next time we see Fultz is on the court at the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas this July. The Sixers are rolling, trying to get playoff seeding and their postseason rotations in place. Bringing in Fultz would force changes to all of those routines, plus be a big media distraction. Let him build confidence going against lesser players at Summer League, give him an entire training camp to adjust, then unleash the No. 1 pick on the NBA next season.

There is no rush for Philadelphia — “the process” is just starting to come into focus. This team has the potential to be special, to be elite, to contend, but that is years down the road. The Sixers have been a patient organization — well, except when ownership caved to the pressure and fired Sam Hinkie to bring in the old-guard Colangelos — and it’s no time to change that now. Let Fultz miss a season, that has worked pretty well for the Sixers with other players.

PBT Extra: One last mock draft of NBA lottery

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DeAndre Ayton will go No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns Thursday night. Marvin Bagley III probably goes second to Sacramento (but that’s not a lock).

After that, things get wide open in the 2018 NBA Draft. Teams value different players at very different levels this year, and there are going to be a number of trades.

Which makes putting together a mock draft for this year more random than a roulette wheel. Not that it stopped me. Here is my final mock draft for the 14 lottery picks. I present it without much confidence, but I’m throwing it out there anyway.

Report: Dewayne Dedmon opts in for $6.3 million with Hawks

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The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.

And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.

He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.

Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.

If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.

Nick Young says ‘everybody needs to do cocaine,’ later insists he was joking

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.

Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.

Young, via TMZ:

“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”

Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:

Chill. You know I was just joking

A post shared by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on

Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.

Report: 76ers trade No. 39 pick to Lakers

AP Photo/Chris Szagola

The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.

Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.

So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.

Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.