Social media strikes again!
The Sixers just can't seem to catch a break when it comes to Twitter. On Monday morning Markelle Fultz's trainer, Drew Hanlen, responded to another NBA trainer with a since-deleted tweet that caused a stir. Following practice on Tuesday in Camden, Brett Brown and Fultz did their best to walk back Hanlen's assertion that Fultz still isn't healthy.
"He's been playing basketball and doing well, he's fine," Brown said of Fultz. "Nobody is 100 percent healthy, but he's healthy enough to play basketball like JJ [Redick] is and Joel [Embiid] is."
When Fultz was asked if he was healthy he didn't hesitate in agreeing with his coach and said his shoulder feels great.
"For sure, I mean nobody is ever 100 percent healthy in this game," he said. "You play five games in seven day, you get bumps and bruises, and that's the life of the NBA… Everything feels good. You see me playing and I'm out here competing everyday."
After the Sixers blowout loss in Brooklyn Sunday night, the twitter-verse took to making fun of Fultz's jumper and one shot in particular during that game which was way off. Clint Parks, a trainer who works with Los Angeles Lakers small forward Kyle Kuzma, joined in by tweeting at Hanlen.
"Pure Sucka come to the podium please," Parks wrote, playing on Hanlen's company name Pure Sweat. "The basketball world got a couple questions for you."
Hanlen replied with some interesting information, including the assertion that Fultz is still injured.
"You don't know his situation. he's still not healthy," Hanlen said, noting Fultz increased shooting percentages from three-point range and the free throw line, before adding a jab at Kuzma. "His 3pt% is higher than your man crush Kuz #fact."
The words 'still not' implies that Fultz's shoulder injury from last season is still lingering and unresolved.
Hanlen took over as Fultz's trainer this offseason and spent the summer working with the young guard after a well-documented tumultuous rookie campaign.
Fultz missed 68 games last year and seemingly lost the ability to shoot the ball. He said the scapular muscle imbalance (shoulder injury) was the reason for his broken jumper and that he'd put in the work over the summer and coming into training camp was 100 percent ready to go.
The recently deleted tweet from Hanlen is not the first time the two have disagreed though. Over the summer Hanlen was on a podcast and said that Fultz had the "yips" and had "completely forgot how to shoot." In September Fultz said that wasn't the case.
"I think it was a miss-term in words, but me and Drew have talked," Fultz said. "What happened last year was an injury. Let me get that straight."
That came after months of speculation on why Fultz missed almost the entirety of his rookie season.
There are a couple of things to note about Hanlen's reply in his Twitter exchange with Parks. In addition to saying that Fultz is not healthy he also said that Fultz's three-point percentage went up from zero last season to 31 percent this season.
It is true that Fultz's three-point shooting percentage has increased (it's actually at 30.8 percent), but that would have been true if he'd only made one three this season, and he hasn't done much more than that. Fultz has made just four threes in 13 attempts through 11 games, and is so hesitant to shoot from distance and a non-threat when he does that defenses have completely ignored him on the perimeter.
That isn't a very fair comparison to Kuzma who has taken 54 three pointers this season. And, though his three-point percentage is down compared to last year (27.8 percent this season) he has made 15 of those attempts, more than three times what Fultz has.
"I have had no explanation. I only just learned about it," Brown said of Hanlen's tweet on Tuesday. "We wish he didn't."
Brown said that Elton Brand, the Sixers general manager, has handled the situation regarding Hanlen's tweet but did not elaborate on what exactly that entailed.
As far as Fultz's reaction to Hanlen's comment, he wouldn't say whether or not he spoke to Hanlen about the tweet, and did not want to comment on the situation other than saying that he is healthy.
Fultz started out the 2018-19 season in the Sixers starting lineup, an experiment that Brown admits has been a struggle. The reason for that struggle is because the Sixers two starting guards, Fultz and Ben Simmons, can't or won't shoot from distance creating a spacing nightmare.
Because of the history with Fultz's shot and the current lineup experiment the Sixers have implemented it's no wonder that everyone is watching every shot that Fultz takes. After, Hanlen's twitter shots, the watchful eyes of the NBA world will almost certainly be even more focused on the young player.