June 30, 2018
After deliberation between various parties involved in his summer program, it has been determined that Sixers guard Markelle Fultz will not participate in Summer League, a team source confirmed to PhillyVoice on Saturday evening.
Fultz's participation in the summer event has been a hotly-debated topic in Philadelphia over the last month or two, with voices on both sides of the fence wanting to know exactly what the plan is for the second-year guard. Everyone from Bryan Colangelo to Brett Brown weighed in on the possibility, with the Sixers ultimately leaving the door open for a midseason return.
But with Fultz in the middle of a development program with skills trainer Drew Hanlen, the Sixers have opted to let him stay the course there, rather than throw him into a different environment midstream, a source told PhillyVoice.
Though he won't be participating in formal team activities as a result, the Sixers are very much plugged into the situation with Fultz and Hanlen, and there is regular contact between the organization, Hanlen, and Fultz about the progress he's making out in California. A team source told PhillyVoice that the organization is given regular updates at least a couple times a week.
Internally, the Sixers are encouraged by the progress they've seen and had relayed to them, and remain confident in Fultz as a major piece of their program moving forward. While PhillyVoice has not been provided any video evidence that is not publicly available through social media, this lines up with what several league sources have expressed since Fultz began working with Hanlen this summer.
In addition to regular progress reports sent back and forth, Sixers head coach Brett Brown has been out to Los Angeles several times in order to check on his star pupil, while setting aside time to visit with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in the process. Despite a situation that was obviously tough to deal with on both sides of the equation, the head coach and Fultz have retained a strong relationship, and all decisions made regarding Fultz's return to play have been an open and collaborative process.
Barring the release of video from his training sessions, this effectively means we won't be seeing Fultz in true game action until at least late September. This will cut both ways — it gives him the most time possible to work on his shot away from the cameras, but adds extra stakes to the game when he finally unveils his jumper.
A pair of separate league sources has expressed the same optimism to PhillyVoice for Fultz's jumper as people within the Sixers' organization, with some believing he is inching closer to looking like the player he looked to be coming out of the University of Washington.
That said, observers from home are within the right to be skeptical of anything until Fultz resumes play later this fall.
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