Joel Embiid Says People Around Markelle Fultz Aren't Supporting Him

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2018

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 11:  Markelle Fultz #20 and Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers look on from the sideline during the game against the Golden State Warriors on November 11, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid discussed the issues plaguing teammate Markelle Fultz and his shooting following Philadelphia's 108-92 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday.

"I don't know what the origin of the problems are," Embiid said on NBA TV, via Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice. "I'm still trying to figure that out. But I don't feel like a lot of people around him have had his back. He's only 19 and that can be hard. The people around you that are supposed to support you that aren't supporting you, it's hard."

NBA TV shared Embiid's comments:


.@JoelEmbiid joined the #FastBreak Postgame Show to talk @sixers win over the Knicks, Markelle Fultz and burner accounts! #TTP https://t.co/PdPsbytUA7

This comes after Neubeck profiled Fultz attempting to rediscover his jump shot and noted the 76ers are using VR goggles to help the rookie.

"The Sixers, according to multiple sources, wanted him to be able to visualize the mechanics he'll use in a game, to remember how easy it once was for him to rise up with the ball and shoot from anywhere on the court, and to be able to do so without the glare of the cameras or other people around him," Neubeck wrote.

Philadelphia drafted Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick out of Washington after he shot 47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three-point range on the way to 23.2 points per game in his one collegiate season.

However, he shot just 33.3 percent from the field, 6-of-12 from the line and didn't attempt a three-pointer in four regular-season NBA games before the 76ers shut him down with a lingering shoulder injury.

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He hasn't played since Oct. 23, and general manager Bryan Colangelo couldn't give an exact return date when discussing what Fultz is doing to work his way back.

"Like I said, he's re-training his shooting mechanics," Colangelo said, per Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com. "He's re-training his muscle movement patterns. All those things. That's the part that's a little bit of an unknown for us and our medical team. There's no timeline, per se. But I do know he's working hard and doing a lot of great things on the basketball court and we hope to see him this year."

Colangelo also told reporters last week Fultz's range is just "within the paint," so it would be easy for Philadelphia fans to be discouraged at this point.

Neubeck attempted to characterize the issues, noting "this story, perhaps more than any other, is representative of the tornado of voices around Fultz, internally and externally, all thinking they know how to fix what ails the only top basketball prospect who ever forgot how to shoot."

Fortunately for the 76ers, other young pieces such as Embiid and Ben Simmons have covered for Fultz's absence.

Philadelphia has won four games in a row and sits in the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Still, the team would be all the more dangerous moving forward if Fultz figures out the shooting issues and ultimately lives up to his potential.

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