Markelle Fultz

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Nets, DeRozan, Burke, Knicks

Markelle Fultz has missed almost 40 games this season as he’s battled a phantom shoulder injury that has taken away his ability to shoot the ball. While Fultz is practicing with the team, he is still a long way from making a return and the situation has head coach Brett Brown confused, per ESPN.

Fultz shot 50% from the field in his lone college season; he impressed the Sixers so much that the team traded up to draft him first overall in last year’s draft. However, a muscular imbalance in the shoulder hampered Fultz’s shot so much that he did not even attempt a three-point shot while healthy. Brown said he has “never experienced anything like this” but that Philadelphia is dedicated to helping Fultz find his stroke.

“It’s reclaiming the shot that he used to have,” Brown said. “The timeline of when that happens, none of us know. But I feel like there is discomfort in his shoulder and it does affect his shot.”

In four games this season, Fultz averaged 6.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 1.8 APG while shooting 33% from the field.

Check out other Atlantic Division notes below:

  • Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell, two of the first three overall picks in the 2015 NBA Draft, are with the Nets organization now and general manager Sean Marks is impressed with their maturity. As Net Income at NetsDaily writes, Marks spoke to WFAN recently gave a glowing review of the organization and how it has helped its young players get acclimated.
  • Raptors star DeMar DeRozan was fined $15,000 for public criticism of the league’s officiating, the NBA announced on Tuesday.
  • Trey Burke played just eight minutes of the Knicks‘ win over the Nets on Monday but his impact was noticeable, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Burke lit up the G League with the Knicks’ affiliate and showed glimpses of the player who was the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
  • In a separate story, Berman of the New York Post examines the Knicks‘ potential strategy as the trade deadline nears. At 20-24, the Knicks are currently three games out of the eighth playoff spot. A strong run could put the team in playoff position but head coach Jeff Hornacek has repeatedly stated the developing the young players comes before worrying about the playoffs. Berman notes that if the Knicks sell, their main priority will be clearing up the logjam at center that features four capable players (Enes Kanter, Kyle O’Quinn, Willy Hernangomez, and Joakim Noah).

Sixers Sign Demetrius Jackson To Two-Way Deal

4:58pm: The signing is official, per team release.

4:42pm: The Sixers will sign guard Demetrius Jackson to a two-way contract and release forward James Michael McAdoo, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.

Jackson signed a two-way deal with the Rockets during the offseason after the Celtics waived him. Houston terminated Jackson’s contract and then signed him to a 10-day deal earlier this month. However, he did not figure in the Rockets’ plans and the 10-day deal bought him and his representatives time to find a better situation.

The 6’1” point guard made 12 cameo appearances with the Rockets, playing an average of 5.3 MPG. The Notre Dame product played five games for Boston last season after being selected in the second round as the No. 45 overall pick in 2016.

He’ll provide depth behind T.J. McConnell, Jerryd Bayless and top pick Markelle Fultz, who has been plagued by shoulder woes in his rookie campaign.

McAdoo signed a two-way contract with Philadelphia in late August but appeared in just three games.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Fultz, Colangelo, Simmons

Sixers center Joel Embiid may have interest in playing for the French national team, according to Orazio Cauchi 0f Sportando. During this week’s trip to London, the Cameroon native indicated he might be open to the possibility. Patrick Beesley, the head of French federation, will come to the United States next month to meet with Sixers forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and plans to address the idea with Embiid.

“Playing with France? You never know,” Embiid said. “Of course I’m not from France, if I ever play intertionally there’s Cameroon, but France could be a good opportunity. I have many relatives and friends in France.”

There’s more this morning out of Philadelphia:

  • Rookie guard Markelle Fultz has gotten past his physical ailments, but his shooting form still appears to be broken, writes Dennis Chambers of Basketball Insiders. The muscular imbalance in Fultz’s shoulder has been corrected and he has been cleared for five-on-five practices, but the problems with his shot haven’t gone away. Even so, Sixers coach Brett Brown can’t wait to get the first overall pick back on the court. “I’m excited,” Brown said. “Because he completely connects the dots to what we don’t have. Anybody that can create their own shot, anybody that can create something for somebody else, is of extreme value to the collection of what we have, and that is his skill set. And what we can get out of him, how is he going to be integrated into the team when he gets back, that’s yet obviously to be seen, but I remain highly positive and highly optimistic.”
  • President of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo believes the Sixers are still a playoff team, but admits inconsistent play has been a problem, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Colangelo is counting on a boost from the return of Fultz and the possibility of using Embiid in back-to-back games, which was originally targeted for January or February. Colangelo said a trade is possible before next month’s deadline, but he won’t be disappointed if one doesn’t materialize. “We’re very consistent with our patient approach to developing the core players that we have,” he added, “and putting them in the best possible environment to succeed.”
  • Ben Simmons is an exceptional talent, but he still has to learn how to succeed without Embiid on the court, writes Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated. Opponents aren’t afraid to double team Simmons without the threat of Embiid, and lineups with Simmons alone lose about nine points per 100 possessions.

Atlantic Notes: Hardaway, Burke, Fultz, Lowry

Tim Hardaway Jr. returned to practice on Tuesday and while he will likely sit out Wednesday’s against the Bulls, his 20th consecutive missed game, his return is close, Greg Joyce of the New York Post writes. Head coach Jeff Hornacek did not commit to a specific return date for Hardaway but both sides are optimistic it will be soon.

“I think I’m coming back when I’m confident. Right now, we’re close,” Hardaway said. “But it doesn’t matter what I think, it matters what the doctors say and what my training staff and people want me to do after I get the news.”

The Knicks have missed Hardaway’s scoring since he went on the shelf with a stress injury in his left leg. In 21 games before the injury, Hardaway averaged 17.8 PPG and 4.2 RPG.

Check out other Atlantic Division news below:

  • The Knicks are reportedly considering signing Trey Burke to their roster from the G League but Hornacek does not see a clear roster spot for the point guard, Joyce writes in a separate story. Burke has played well for the Westchester Knicks, averaging  26.6 points and 5.3 assists. The roster is currently at 15 players and if Burke is added, it’s expected that Ramon Sessions is released, Joyce notes.
  • Sixers rookie Markelle Fultz played in a five-on-five practice last Sunday and while he was limited, he looked good, Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Fultz’s return is “accelerating” but his first NBA season has been disappointing. Jason Concepcion of The Ringer examined Fultz’s mysterious injury and absence.
  • Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was diagnosed with a bruised tailbone and back spasms, according to the Raptors (via Twitter). X-rays on Lowry were negative and he will be evaluated daily. Lowry suffered the injury on Monday against the Nets in Brooklyn after taking a hard fall.

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Porzingis, Okafor

The Sixers have yet to narrow down a return timeline for rookie Markelle Fultz but that doesn’t mean they don’t still have big plans for him in the future, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

The design of our team was […] with him in mind and Ben Simmons in mind,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said, “And then you have a bunch of Danny Greens. You do, you have a bunch of receivers.

Limited to just four games prior to a mysterious shoulder injury, Fultz didn’t have much time to make a positive impression. While his 6.0 points per game leave much to be desired, Pompey reiterates that the guard was drafted to be a complete offensive weapon for the Sixers.

I feel like, when you see in doses [Fultz] play, you are reminded of what he was brought in to do,” Brown said. Fultz recently started scrimmaging with the Sixers.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks are embroiled in a tough stretch and much of that may have to do with star forward Kristaps Porzingis wearing down. “I’m tired. I’m so tired right now,” Porzingis told Ian Begley of ESPN after the second game of a back-to-back. “I have one day now to rest my legs and then get back and play better and have more energy and also try and bring the team’s energy up.
  • He may not have broken any records in his Barclays Debut but Jahlil Okafor filled a role admirably for the Nets on Wednesday. “He was solid, understood what we do, what we’re doing,” head coach Kenny Atkinson told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “It’s just going to take him time. He really understood our system, and was in the right place.
  • Notice something different about Knicks sophomore Ron Baker last night? The guard took the floor with a protective mask, as Al Iannazzone of Newsday wrote prior to the contest. The point guard admirably, but unsuccessfully, set out to contest an Anthony Davis dunk on Saturday night and paid the price.

Injury Notes: Sixers, Harden, Kings, Okafor

Joel Embiid is considered doubtful for Wednesday’s game, and Markelle Fultz isn’t quite ready to get back on the court yet, but the Sixers got some positive news on both players this week. As Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia details, there was some concern on Sunday night that Embiid had suffered a broken right hand, but x-rays were negative and he believes he’s dealing instead with a sprain.

Meanwhile, Fultz hasn’t played since October, but he appears to be inching toward a return. The club announced today that 2017’s first overall pick has been cleared to “begin the final stage of his return-to-play program.” The press release was light on specifics, but barring setbacks, it sounds like it shouldn’t be much longer before we see Fultz back in the Sixers’ lineup.

Here are a few more injury notes and updates from around the NBA:

  • We know James Harden will be out for at least two weeks with a hamstring strain, but his exact recovery timetable remains unclear. Speaking today to reporters, including Hunter Atkins of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link), Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni suggested that Harden could miss up to four weeks. In an Insider-only piece for ESPN, Kevin Pelton examines how Harden’s absence will affect the Rockets, the NBA, and the star guard’s MVP chances.
  • As one Kings guard gets healthy, another one goes on the shelf. According to a press release from the club, De’Aaron Fox will return on Tuesday after a two-week absence, but Frank Mason will miss at least the next week with a heel contusion.
  • Third-year center Jahlil Okafor is expected to make his home debut for the Nets on Wednesday, as head coach Kenny Atkinson confirmed to reporters on Monday (link via Alex Labidou of NBA.com). Okafor, acquired by Brooklyn nearly a month ago, wasn’t initially ready for regular minutes after having barely played for Philadelphia this season. However, the Nets are ready to get him back on the court and to start increasing his workload, says Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
  • After missing seven games due to a groin injury, Pistons guard Avery Bradley is set to return to action on Wednesday, writes Ansar Khan of MLive.com. “It was lingering over a few weeks, but now I feel better, I feel like I can go out there and give my all,” Bradley said.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Fultz, Raptors, Celtics

The triangle offense is a thing of the past but so is the Knicks‘ current offense because of the lack of three-point shots, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. The Knicks are dead last in the NBA in three-point shots attempted and made, a byproduct of head coach Jeff Hornacek‘s system.

Unlike the offense New York ran under former president Phil Jackson, Hornacek said he urges the team to attempt more threes. However, that has not translated into makes through the first few months of the season.

“Of course I want more,” the coach said. “We’re not getting many. Some of them we’re passing up. We’re not getting the penetration sometimes to kick it out. On the break, they got to be able to let them fly.”

The Knicks’ outside shooting has been hurt by the extended absence of Tim Hardaway Jr., who is dealing with a stress injury in his left leg. Also, Kristaps Porzingis has struggled with his shot and neither of the Knicks’ two point guards are good shooters. For now, the team is adjusting to the post-Jackson era and growing pains are expected.

Check out other Atlantic Division notes below:

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Booker, Fultz, Brown

Although the NBA adopted new restrictions about teams resting star players, the Sixers still have incredible freedom in deciding when to play Joel Embiid, notes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The star center sat out Saturday’s game in Cleveland and probably won’t play back-to-back nights all season. Philadelphia has a game tonight in New Orleans and elected to use Embiid then.

Under rules imposed this summer, teams can be fined if they rest healthy players in road games or nationally televised contests. However, Embiid’s physical history, which includes missing his first two seasons because of foot surgeries and appearing in just 31 games last year, allows the Sixers to utilize a “back-to-back medical restriction.”

“This is a collaborative thing,” explained Sixers coach Brett Brown. “Sometimes it’s tilted towards he wanted to play, and we wanted him to play in front of our home fans. Other times there are situations that we listen to but ultimately, sort of the holy grail of the decision rests on health. How do we feel we can manage is health the best? And often times that’s rest in between and in this case that sort of led the way and dictated the decision. It’s disappointing that Cleveland fans aren’t going to be able to see a very unique player.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Trevor Booker is excited about his new role after being acquired in Thursday’s trade with the Nets, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers picked up Booker to strengthen their bench and serve as a mentor to their younger players. “Coming to a young, up-and-coming team, I think it’s a new opportunity for me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. And I’m just looking forward to playing with the fellas and coach Brown.” Booker is in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
  • The Sixers plan to re-evaluate rookie Markelle Fultz in three weeks after issuing a positive medical report Saturday, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Fultz no longer has soreness in his right shoulder, and doctors found that a scapular muscle imbalance has healed. Plans for the first overall pick include “increased strength and conditioning training and elevated on-court basketball activities.”
  • Brown used an NFL analogy to describe the education Fultz is getting while he recovers, relays Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Brown called it a “Jon Gruden quarterbacks school” as he tries to teach the rookie the finer points of NBA guard play. “It’s like, ‘What do you see? What do you think? Why do you think that?’ And you treat it like it’s a college classroom,” Brown said. “Then you get him on the court, and you do things that can improve his skill but not beat up on his shoulder.”

Atlantic Notes: Ntilikina, Stauskas, Nets, Hayward, Fultz

After a surprisingly strong start to the season, Knicks rookie Frank Ntilikina has seen his production waver in recent weeks. While scoring is not the 19-year-old’s calling card yet, his strong defense has slipped as well as he’s averaging nearly one less steal over the team’s past eight games (1.4) than he did through the first 12 (2.1).

Howie Kussoy of the New York Post writes that the rookie Frenchman is currently in a position where he is not always confident of what his role is. Head coach Jeff Hornacek acknowledged that Ntilikina is sometimes caught in between trying to be aggressive with the ball as a scorer and trying to be a playmaker.

“One of the things early was he was just looking to pass. Then we’ve tried to talk to him about being a little more aggressive, and trying to really move the ball downhill on these guys, and then I think he was maybe thinking shoot it and score,” Hornacek said. “I thought last game, the practice before that, he’s done a nice job of balancing that. Sometimes he’ll attack. Sometimes he’s looking to pass. As a young person in this league you’re trying to figure that out, ‘When are my opportunities to really attack? When is it just to make a pass?’

Through 21 games, Ntilikina is averaging 5.2 PPG, 3.1 APG, and 1.3 SPG.

Check out other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • When the Nets acquired Jahlil Okafor from the Sixers earlier this week, Nik Stauskas — who the Nets also acquired in the deal — flew under the radar. Stauskas had fallen out Philadelphia’s rotation and played in just six games this season. As Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily writes, Stauskas provides the Nets with a low-risk, high-reward option who has had some good stretches in the NBA.
  • After New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio questioned the Nets’ success as a franchise after moving to Brooklyn in 2012, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the team has exceeded expectations, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.
  • Celtics president Danny Ainge confirmed that Gordon Hayward — who suffered a season-ending ankle injury on opening night — will soon ditch his walking boot as he continues to rehab, Chris Forsberg of ESPN writes. For his part, Ainge believes Hayward ” wants to come faster than anybody has from this kind of injury” (Via NBC Sports Boston).
  • Sixers president Bryan Colangelo provided an update on 19-year-old Markelle Fultz, noting that the muscle imbalance in his right shoulder has progressed well. “Surface level, I would say that he’s progressing well,” Colangelo said (via Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia). “He continues to focus on the PT and strength and conditioning aspect of the return. The good news is the soreness is completely gone and the muscle imbalance is gone.” Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype writes that Philadelphia will have a hard time fitting Fultz into the rotation once he returns.

Sixers Say Markelle Fultz Is Making Progress

The Sixers announced some positive news on rookie guard Markelle Fultz, saying he is making progress from the ailments that have sidelined him since Oct. 23, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.

Team doctors say the soreness in Fultz’s right shoulder is dissipating and his muscle balance is improving. The team plans to re-evaluate him in two to three weeks to determine when he can return to action. That will be based on how his shoulder responds to training and treatment.

The top pick in this year’s draft, Fultz began to develop shoulder problems over the summer. He changed his shooting motion as a result and the results haven’t been pretty. He is shooting 33% from the field and 50% from the line during his first four NBA games.

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