Markelle Fultz's Trainer Explains Why He Struggled In Rookie Season

The Philadelphia 76ers finally showed the NBA that 'The Process' was for real, as they won 52 games and reached the second round of the postseason, thanks to the incredible young core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric.

Despite the successful campaign, the 76ers didn't get a whole lot out of rookie Markelle Fultz - whom they selected with the first overall pick in 2017. A shoulder injury limited him to 14 games, but Fultz was extremely unproductive while on the court.

Fultz shot just .405 from the field and averaged a mere 7.1 points per game. Obviously, the 76ers offense will need a lot better from him if Fultz is to be the leader on offense for this young unit.

But Fultz's trainer, Drew Hanlen, appeared on the Talking Schmidt Podcast (h/t Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com) and explained why the hyped up rookie struggled in 2017-18:

"With Markelle, obviously he has one of the most documented cases of kind of the yips of basketball in recent years, where he completely forgot how to shoot and had multiple hitches in his shot," said Hanlen. "So for me it was, 'Hey listen, how can I get this kid that was No. 1 in last year's draft back rolling and get him to the point where he was before, if not better?'"

For those who are unaware, "yips" are twitches brought on by nerves in athletes, especially for golfers when they go up to attempt short putts. In this case, it sounds like Fultz simply got nervous and messed up his shot movement upon release.

via Sportsnet

Hanlen also explained that he's encouraged with how Fultz has performed in practice as he tries to regain his shooting form. Hanlen mentioned they've been working every day, and that Fultz will "show people why he was the No. 1 pick."

The 76ers dealt their 2017 first-rounder plus another future first to the Boston Celtics to move up and select Fultz with the top pick. The Celtics used the No. 3 selection on Jayson Tatum, and he averaged 13.9 points and five rebounds per game.

But with Fultz now gaining a taste of the NBA experience and working extensively to fix his shooting woes, the 2017 first overall pick should bounce back and become a big piece of the 76ers offense. It's not fair to judge players on their rookie seasons, and Fultz has all the skills to become a superstar. So relax, 76ers fans. Remember, a wise man once said to "Trust the Process."


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