Hanlen sure isn’t downplaying them.
Fox Sports 1:
I literally think that, if he’s back to 100 percent, I think he’s immediately an All-Star. I know that’s a bold statement, but I work with a lot of other All-Stars. So, I think I have the right to say that.
Fultz won’t technically be a rookie next season, but he’s pretty close to warranting that status. No active player has made the All-Star game in his first NBA season. Only Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Vince Carter did it in their second.
This is an extremely high bar for Fultz to clear.
Hanlen has a business to run, and provocative quotes like this generate publicity. But I’m not sure it’s good for Fultz, and I mean that with all sincerity. There isn’t much history for a player so dependent on his jumper to, as Hanlen himself described it, get the yips.
76ers teammate J.J. Redick tried to shield Fultz. Hanlen went the opposite way by raising expectations. To his credit, Fultz spoke candidly about about his struggles early in the season (though I talked to him before the scope of the problem might have set in).
I really don’t know the right approach for him.
No matter what’s said now, Fultz will have to make jumpers with millions watching during games if he’s ever going to fulfill his potential. He could do that next season. I hope he does.
But I’m not sure even a confident and healthy Fultz is an All-Star yet, and it’d be a shame if tremendous progress is deemed not good enough because we expected too much.