If Markelle Fultz can’t shoot, the Philadelphia 76ers at least want him to believe he can shoot.
Monday brought another strange twist in the Fultz saga, as Kyle Nuebeck of the Philly Voice reported the rookie guard is one of several players the Sixers are training using virtual reality.
While VR goggles typically are used help injured players get “mental reps” by simulating game situations, Philly reportedly has a different goal in mind for Fultz.
“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. With pressure coming down on him from all angles, turning part of a teenager’s job into a video game is one way to relieve the stress of the situation.”
Fultz’s shooting sessions have been highly publicized of late as reporters puzzle over his inexplicably bad form. But the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft is just 19 years old, and the Sixers (rightly) want to shield him from any further scrutiny as he continues shoulder rehab.
That might be easier said than done, though: After Monday night’s win over the New York Knicks, Philly big man Joel Embiid appeared to call out those close to Fultz when asked about the rookie guard.
“I don’t know what the origin of the problems are,” Embiid said during an interview with NBA TV. “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.”
It’s unclear who Embiid was referring to, but the problems that have plagued Fultz’s forgettable rookie campaign don’t appear to be improving.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images
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