Brett Brown still has faith in Markelle Fultz.
The 20-year-old guard has struggled so far in his second NBA season and his playing time could be cut after Philadelphia acquired Jimmy Butler from the Timberwolves last weekend. Brown, however, said he and the team are not giving up on Fultz yet.
“He’s got insulation around him,” Brown said about Fultz (via ESPN). “He’s got a coach that believes in him, that will continue to play and develop him, and that’s that.”
Fultz was the top pick in the 2017 draft and began his career with high expectations. But he dealt with injuries and a hitch in his jump shot that limited him to 14 regular-season games during his rookie season.
Fultz has averaged just nine points and 3.5 assists in 15 games in 2018-19 and the hitch in his shot appeared to return Monday, although he said the ball “slipped out of his hands” while shooting a free throw.
Brown said he and Fultz will “figure this out together.”
“For me, it’s so much deeper than, like, the responsibility of being the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018,” Brown said about helping Fultz. “It’s growing him and his confidence and his spirit and his game and helping him navigate through a completely bizarre period earlier in his life, where he’s trying to get through injury and figure it all out.
“That’s on my mind more than, ‘Do I play him 18 minutes or 12 minutes?’ It’s not that at all.”
Butler is expected to make his 76ers debut when they face the Magic on Wednesday.