It’s time for rookie guard Markelle Fultz to break his public silence and address the issues that have limited him to just four games this season, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The things Fultz needs to explain, according to Pompey, are whether a scapular muscle imbalance forced him to change his shot or whether it was done on the advice of his trainer, Keith Williams, and what teammate Joel Embiid meant when he said of Fultz, “I don’t feel like a lot of people … have had his back.”
Williams has denied making changes to Fultz’s shot and some people in the organization don’t believe it happened, but Fultz could easily clear up the situation if the team made him available to the media. However, he hasn’t granted any interviews apart from a brief one on TNT. A grievance was filed through the Pro Basketball Writers Association, but the NBA sided with the Sixers. The team may be trying to protect Fultz, Pompey adds, but the silence is just leading to more speculation.
There’s more today out of Philadelphia:
- This is the first time since coach Brett Brown took over five years ago that the Sixers haven’t dealt away or waived someone at the trade deadline, Pompey notes in a separate story. Not only did they keep their core intact, they added a shooter by picking up Marco Belinelli from the buyout market. “It’s something that from the city’s perspective, from the fans’ perspective and from the these guys’ perspective to take continuity and move it forward instead of hack away at it and chop it down,” Brown said. “We respect it. We appreciate it.”
- Richaun Holmes made a rare appearance Saturday, relays Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The back-up center had sat out seven of the past nine games, but was scheduled for some minutes as Brown tries to prepare his whole roster for the postseason. Holmes responded with impressive defense in a win over the Magic. “Right now my motivation is I know that Richaun has value, I know that he has things that he can bring to the table and I respect how he’s handled himself when he wasn’t playing that much,” Brown said. “I know it’s my job to keep him alive and tonight was an example of that and I thought he did very very well.”
- The Sixers could be an option for Ersan Ilyasova once he completes a rumored buyout with the Hawks, according to Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports. Ilyasova spent 53 games in Philadelphia last season before being traded to Atlanta.