After what seemed like an eternity, the footage of Markelle Fultz’s newly formed jumper has arrived.
The former No. 1 overall pick was one of the biggest storylines of the ‘17-’18 season when the jump shot that cemented his place in the top spot of the draft was seemingly gone.
Fultz sat down with former University of Washington star Isaiah Thomas to talk about a whole bunch of topics for the Players’ Tribune series “For The Record.” In the 17 minute video, the two spoke about their time at UW, their draft experiences, their rookie years, and more.
But as Beast Mode once said, you know why I’m here.
150,000 jump shots and endless teasing of Fultz’s ability by trainer Drew Hanlen has led us to this moment to break down what we see from the clips scattered throughout the video.
*Please note: I am not a shot doctor and have never claimed to be. These are just some things I noticed.*
Markelle Fultz is shooting again. That is good.
His shots are going in. Again, that is good.
But seriously, there has clearly been a significant improvement since he dropped former trainer Keith Williams for NBA training royalty in Hanlen.
He appears to have done away with the form from the right side of his face that made NBA Twitter cringe and returning is the stroke from the front of his face.
His footwork remained square and consistent throughout the jumpers seen in the video, which is a nice change from the shots from last season where critics couldn’t tell if Markelle was making fun of Amir Johnson’s form or taking lessons from him.
In most clips, the shot looks far less pushy than before. Whether this was a mechanical issue or a strength issue from what Fultz has adamantly said was an injury, it looks promising that NBA range will not have a big influence on his shooting.
Camera angles work in mysterious ways, but from what we were given, the form looks inconsistent. This could simply be a matter of different moments in the timeline where adjustments were made over the summer.
We have clips like this with a high release point:
And we have clips like this that are reminiscent of the pushiness we saw in shots from the end of 2017:
We also have this close-up where it looks like his guide hand might be blocking his shot:
There are also zero clips of Fultz taking shots off the dribble, something that a team lacking shot creators desperately needs to see. For him to be the fit next to Ben Simmons the Sixers hoped he would be, being able to break down a defender and pull-up at any moment is key and we have yet to see any of that.
Last but not least, the ultimate caveat of any video you see on the Internet, editors are very good at their job. Give me a summer and Adobe Premiere and I could make it look like I’ve never missed a shot in my life.
Let’s be honest though, no matter what kind of “bad” we pull from this video, it’s still infinitely better than what we saw from his first few games in a Sixers uniform.
The footage is a relief. Markelle appears to have regained the strength and confidence to take NBA three-pointers, a skill-set desperately needed alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. While it’s far from perfect, the prospect of the Hesi Pull-up Jimbo returning to the bright lights is exciting for Sixers fans and fans of good basketball.
With training camp around the corner, the real story will be how the shot looks with the media flocking to him like prey. The editors won’t be nearly as gracious with their portrayal of his shot (as showcased last season), so the real verdict could come this weekend. This won’t be the last time we hear this story.