With the NBA Summer League approaching, it will be an opportunity for rookies and undrafted free agents to showcase their talents in front of fans, coaches, and upper management of the respective franchise they will be representing in Las Vegas.
Thankfully, for Markelle Fultz, second-year players are eligible to play in the Summer League to further develop their game before the start of the NBA season.
Currently, 76ers head coach Brett Brown is unsure whether Fultz will play in this upcoming Summer League or not.
From Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice:
Brett Brown says no decision has been made yet on Markelle Fultz playing Summer League
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) June 11, 2018
With a shortened rookie season due to injury and a lack of confidence in his jumpshot, Fultz did not have the prototypical rookie season.
You can say that has been the case for most of the rookies in the past few years for Philadelphia.
Though he missed a good chunk of his rookie season, Fultz logged in a respectable 7.1 points and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 40.5 percent from the field, proving he belongs in the NBA.
The question everyone is debating is whether Fultz will ever return to form with his jump shot.
He sought help from NBA skills trainer, Drew Hanlen, to improve the overall state of his game, but more specifically his jump shot.
Markelle Fultz working with elite NBA trainer Drew Hanlen 👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/UUpmR9L4u0
— Sixers Legion (@SixersLegion) June 7, 2018
Colangelo was the biggest #Sixers news of the week, but Markelle Fultz training with Drew Hanlen is pretty big too.
Hanlen is the perfect guy to fix Fultz’s jumper and get him back on track (and these dunks are pretty nice too). pic.twitter.com/dXBMOUYQWC
— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) June 8, 2018
The fact that Fultz is working with an elite trainer in Hanlen should excite 76ers fans.
As you can see with the below video, Joel Embiid had worked with Hanlen two years ago before he made his NBA debut after having to sit out back to back seasons due to injury.
Cool video of Embiid applying what he learned from Hanlen, in game. Markelle is loaded with potential, if there’s anybody who can tap into it, it’s Hanlen. pic.twitter.com/5vPOAFU55a
— too classy to even engage (@dmay706) June 8, 2018
Joel was able to use the array of moves he and Hanlen worked on in that upcoming season. This offseason is very important for the overall mental and physical development on the basketball court for Fultz.
That’s why his full focus this upcoming Summer should be to play successful basketball in the Summer League.
Many players in the past have shown that the second year of basketball against hungry talent in their age bracket can prove to be beneficial. With the likes of Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell and Kyle Kuzma just to name a few, there’s no shortage of 2017 NBA Draft competition for Fultz.
One example we can refer to is Brandon Ingram of the Los Angeles Lakers, who played in the Summer League last year as a second-year player, even though it was for only one game due to an injury scare.
This is a quote from Ingram after a 26-point performance in his second year playing in the Summer League in 2017.
“Two months can do a lot of things,” Ingram said. “As these months go by I’m just continuing to get better. I don’t want to stay complacent.”
Complacency as basically a “rookie”, especially being a No. 1 overall pick who has yet to live up to potential, is a recipe for disaster.
Fultz playing in this upcoming Summer League will be an opportunity for him to work on live in-game jump shooting, while also improving the parts of his game he already excels in.
You saw what it did for a player like Ingram where his confidence rose to new heights in 2017-2018, to where the expectations of his play in 2018-2019 are very high in the eyes of most Lakers fans.
Something that the Lakers Summer League head coach Jud Buechler spoke on was the leadership opportunity it brought for Ingram.
“I think he realizes that this is his team out here this summer and I’m hoping that’s going to transfer to our team,” said Lakers summer league head coach Jud Buechler. “Leadership is a lot of different things. Guys have to respect you. It’s about your work ethic, and I think he has that. You also have to get on the court and earn that respect, and I think he’s done both. In my mind I think he’s ready for the next step.”
With Fultz playing, he would probably be one of a few 2017 first-round draft picks returning to Vegas, so nonetheless it would be an opportunity for him to bring some leadership to the rookies and other young players on the roster.
Something this will show head coach Brown is that mentally, he has the ability to be a leader of the team someday and that he’s recovered from whatever he was going through during his rookie campaign.
Being 19-years-old, there is always the chance of maturity issues coming into play, but choosing to suit up in this years Summer League will show a signs of responsibility and maturity because it says to his peers and others surrounding him that he knows he has a lot to improve on if he wants to be a dominant guard in this league.
It only took one game for Ingram to play and gain back the confidence needed to head into his sophomore season.
For Fultz, using the Summer League as an opportunity to go against NBA compeition during the summer will prove to be key for his development.
What does the kid really have to lose?