Jimmy Butler on Markelle Fultz: “We want him to be great”

Getty Images

When Philadelphia traded for Jimmy Butler, it was the effective end of the Markelle Fultz experiment for this season.

The 76ers moved into a win now mode, which did not fit with letting Markelle Fultz start so he could gain confidence over time (that starting five with Fultz did not have enough shooting and often dug the team a nightly hole to climb out of). J.J. Redick was quickly starting again, and guys like T.J. McConnell and Landry Shamet were getting more run.

Through it all, the Sixers players have stood by Fultz — they like him, they want to see him succeed. That includes Butler.

“I just want Markelle to know he got everybody in his corner here. We want him to be great… when he’s ready to get back in here and work, we’re all for it. We need the guy.”

Fultz is currently in New York seeing specialists about his shoulder injury, one the Sixers organization was not aware of (dissect that how you wish).

Young players, such as Fultz, often struggle to block out the “outside noise” and focus on what they want to do. Butler, Redick, veterans are very good at it. Whatever is going on, it feels like finding Fultz a new home is what’s best for everyone. Of course, that’s not easy and could drag out a while, but it may be time for Philadelphia sports fans to just move on, to focus on the good — Butler draining game winners — and bad (a bottom five defense since the trade), not Fultz.