Despite exciting the masses with an encouraging return in late March, the chatter surrounding Markelle Fultz has quietened after he was benched during Philadelphia’s past three playoff games.
But coach Brett Brown says despite the recent inactivity, his rookie is not “dead and buried”, which must come as a relief to Fultz’s friends and family.
Brown’s comments provide a glimmer of hope that the former number one overall pick could still play a role during the playoffs, even if it’s a small one.
But lately the Philly mastermind has opted to go with the safer option of TJ McConnell at point guard.
Brown has alluded to the fact that McConnell proved all season he could get the job done, whereas Fultz hasn’t been able to do the same due to poor health.
But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been tempted to throw Fultz into the mix at times, and he could well be looking for a little bit of that X factor if the Sixers continue to struggle against Boston.
Particularly at home where Fultz provides the entire building with a remarkable lift, and vice versa.
“There are times where you for sure think about [playing Fultz],” Brown told reporters on Tuesday. “…But I got a decision to make, and I’ve made a decision. That doesn’t mean it’s etched in stone. It’s always something that you review and think about. And the care for Markelle Fultz and his future is always on my mind.”
While Fultz is hardly an overly reliable option so early in his NBA career, he did play much better than expected over the final 10 games of the regular season, averaging 7.6 points, 4.6 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1 steal in 17.7 minutes per game over that period.
His next chance to hit the floor will be on Thursday night when the Sixers meet the Celtics for game two in Boston.