Sixers Need to Shut Down Fultz if Injury is Cause for Reconfigured Shooting Form

The last thing that any 76ers fan wants to endure is another injury to one of its best young talents. Unfortunately, it seems as though that’s what the team is dealing with yet again. NBA diehards and Sixers’ fans alike have been quick to point out the new free throw form that 2017 number one overall pick, Markelle Fultz, has been deploying this preseason.

Causing many to speculate, what is the reason for the switch? When asked about it publicly, Fultz insists that he is simply, “trying new things to make free throws.” A deeper dive into the tape and the box scores show that it is not just Fultz’s free throw form that is being hampered; it is his willingness to shoot the ball from the outside at all. Pegged as a three level scorer in college–inside, midrange, three point–Fultz averaged five three point attempts per game as a Washington Husky. Willingness to shoot from the outside, including midrange jump shots, has never been a concern surrounding his game.

In his first taste of NBA action during a preseason game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Fultz displayed that same willingness to shoot from the outside as he did in college. In 22 minutes of action, he attempted 13 shots in total, 8 of which were jump shots including 3 three point field goals. This shot distribution falls in line with what you would expect from Fultz if you studied him as an NBA draft prospect or watched him play in college. After missing the Sixers’ second preseason game at home against the Celtics due to shoulder soreness, Fultz returned to the court five days later for the Sixers third preseason game in Boston. What we saw from Fultz that night was extremely abnormal. In 24 minutes, Fultz attempted 11 shots in total, only three of which were jump shots, none of which were three point field goal attempts. In addition to the lack of willingness to shoot from the outside, Fultz attempted five free throws, all of which looked grossly dissimilar to the way that he shot them at the University of Washington.

Surely, head coach Brett Brown, who has been in the gym with Fultz for the past month, has observed the 19 year-olds new, horrific shooting form. This raises the question: how can the Sixers coaching staff allow Fultz to continue shooting free throws this way? There is only one explanation: Fultz’s shoulder is hurting him more than he is letting on. At that point, it is up to the coaching staff and the team doctors to save the 19 year-old Fultz from himself. The 76ers need to take some sort of immediate action in order to prevent future, poor shooting habits, as well as further injury. I expect the Sixers to shut down Fultz for a 2-4 week stretch at some point in the beginning of the season. For the franchise’s sake, I hope that it is sooner, rather than later. It seems like the only logical explanation. A player of Fultz’s caliber would not make this drastic of a change to his shooting form unless his pain was severe.

I concede that these judgements may seem a bit premature; 46 minutes played through two preseason games is an extremely small sample size. I hope that Fultz plays the season opener in Washington D.C. and is comfortably able to revert back to his old shooting tendencies without any sign of injury. Fultz’s availability in Friday night’s preseason finale against the Miami Heat will give fans a stronger indication of whether or not the rookie will be ready to go once the games start to count. However, if Fultz’s shooting tendencies looks the same way on Friday night against Miami as they did Monday night against Boston, it would be extremely irresponsible for the franchise to continue to trot the former number one overall pick onto the court.

My prediction: Fultz plays Friday night but looks more like the Fultz we saw in his second preseason game than the Fultz we saw at Washington or during the summer league. The team will play him Wednesday in D.C. and next Friday in Philadelphia for the season opener against the Celtics. After appeasing a national TV audience and many excited season ticket holders, the Sixers will shut down Markelle Fultz for a 2-4 week stretch.

 

 

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Yankees complete the comeback; defeat Indians 5-2 to advance to ALCS

The Baby Bombers have arrived ahead of schedule. This young Yankees team just pulled off one the more improbable playoff comebacks in recent memory against an Indians team that won a record 22 games in a row en route to 102 win season.

Here’s how it went down:

After a terrible Game 2 loss in which the Yankees blew an 8-3 lead, many counted this team out and Joe Girardi’s job was very much in question. The Yankees had some soul searching to do as they headed back to New York needing 3 straight wins to keep their playoff hopes alive. The only guys in America who gave this team a chance were those in the Yankee clubhouse. Gary Sanchez sent this now infamous tweet prior to Game 3.

The Yanks sent out Masahiro Tanaka in Game 3 while Carlos Carrasco, one of the AL’s best, toed the rubber for Cleveland. Tanaka was lights out in front of a raucous crowd as the game went scoreless for 6 innings. Then, with 2 outs in the 7th inning, Greg Bird ignited the team and the city with a solo home run off Andrew Miller, who had only given up 1 home run to opposing lefties the entire season.

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The Yankees never trailed again in the series. The bullpen locked up Game 3 and the Yanks turned to 23 year old stud Luis Severino in Game 4 to redeem his poor Wildcard game performance and extend the Yankees season.

And boy did Sevy deliver, going 7 strong with 4 hits and 3 earned, Severino did what he needed to do in order to ensure that the Yankees lived to see another day. The Yankees got to Trevor Bauer early by way of a 4 run 2nd inning that chased the drone flying weirdo from the game. A shaky relief outing from Dellin Betances was saved by Tommy Kahnle, who struck out 5 of 6 batters in the final two innings to seal the win. The series was tied at 2-2 as the Yanks packed their bags for Cleveland looking to complete the improbable comeback.

In tonight’s deciding Game 5, CC Sabathia faced off against likely AL Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber. However, Did Gregorious decided that he could care-less about Kluber’s stupid regular season award, as Sir Didi took Kluber deep on a 1-2 count in the first inning to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead.

But Didi wasn’t done, in his second at bat of the game, with a runner on first, Sir October sent another ball into the seats to extend the Yankees lead to 3-0.

As for CC, he was spectacular through 4 1/3 innings against his former squad, striking out 8 batters and tossing a shutout. However, Sabathia ran into trouble when Cleveland rattled off 4 straight singles in the 5th inning, tallying 2 runs. CC was relieved by David Robertson with runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out and Francisco Lindor coming to the plate. Then, Didi showed that he can win the game with his glove as well as he turned a 6–6-3 double play to end the inning in what was one of the game’s most crucial moments.

Robertson pitched a lights out 6th and 7th; then the Yankees turned to Aroldis Chapman for a 6 out save. In the top of the 9th, the Yankees dialed up Jake from State Farm in hopes for some insurance runs. After a 2 out Aaron Hicks single, and a 9 pitch at bat for Todd “The Toddfather” Frazier that resulted in a walk, Brett Gardner stepped up to the plate. Looking to break the game open, Brett The Jet had one of the greatest at bats I’ve ever seen against on of the best closers in the game, Cody Allen. After fouling off pitch after pitch, Brett did this on the 12th pitch of the at bat:

Unreal. Here’s the at-bat pitch by pitch:

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With a 5-2 cushion in the bottom of the 9th, The Cuban Missile walked the leadoff man but proceeded to get the next 3 outs, culminating with a strikeout of Austin Jackson to send the Yankees to the ALCS.

With the win, the Yankees became the 10th team in MLB history to comeback from an 0-2 series deficit, and just the 5th team to win the final game on the road. They’ve also won 4 straight elimination games for the first time in franchise history.

And they did it all without much production from their two biggest bats, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, who were a combined 5 for 39 in the series.

Now, the team moves onto Houston where they’ll face Dallas Keuchel in Game 1 of the ALCS. At this point, the Yanks are playing with house money. They have nothing to lose. The season is already a massive success. Nobody expected this young team to make the playoffs, let alone the ALCS. But here we are, the Baby Bombers are marching into Houston with a ton of momentum as they look to return to the World Series for the first time since 2009.

Mood:

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Teddy Bridgewater is scheduled to practice next week. Do you realize how absurd that is?

Teddy 2 Minutes.  Teddy 2 Gloves. Five.

Call him what you want (I call him my Franchise QB).  He is a week away from being activated from the PUP and that means one thing and one thing only…Teddy Time.

Continue reading Teddy Bridgewater is scheduled to practice next week. Do you realize how absurd that is?

My Plans to Fix College Football Halftimes

Step 1: Get the Band Off the Field

Collegiate Bands have been ruining football since the leatherheads invented CTE. These kids get enough credit as it is. You’re on full scholarship for playing a flute. Stay in your lane. There is not a more self-righteous person on a college campus than a member of the band. These kids consider themselves the biggest college football fans with their customized t-shirts and brass music makers. I’ve had enough. They travel on their own bus to the game and sit in their own section in the stadium, and they are cocky enough to demand more. They need a choreographed dance on the field at halftime? Give it a rest. Play the fight song after a touchdown and then find your seat.  The real fans have a game to watch. Continue reading My Plans to Fix College Football Halftimes

2017-2018 Big East Basketball Preview

Before I get into my season outlook, I would like to have a moment of silence for former Villanova coach and Big East legend, Rollie Massimino

Thank you.

Now listen, nothing gets my piss hot like Big East Basketball.  Nothing.  The tradition, the Garden, and the hard nose style that separates us from those bums in the Pac-12.

It is exhilarating.

This article is going to be littered with hot takes, but let me get this pretty obvious take out of the way to ease you guys into it:

The Big East is the best conference, top to bottom, in the country. Continue reading 2017-2018 Big East Basketball Preview

People Don’t Understand How Good Ben Simmons is Going to Be

I’m going to keep this short and simple–People don’t understand how good Ben Simmons is going to be. Earlier this offseason, Simmons told reporters he was not aiming to be among the top NBA rookies. Instead, Simmons is focused on being amongst the NBA’s elite. Here are a few reasons why I believe Simmons, and fully expect him to be an All-Star in his first season as a pro. Continue reading People Don’t Understand How Good Ben Simmons is Going to Be

 Wade’s Celebrity Death Pool

The other day I realized that it’s been awhile since the last big time celebrity death. It got me thinking, who could be the next celebrity to go belly up? Here’s a list of 10 celebrities that I think could croak in the coming year.

Odds to die by January 1, 2019

Continue reading  Wade’s Celebrity Death Pool