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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Magically, Sixers make Fultz issue disappear

Posted by Eric Fisher On February 7

The Markelle Fultz experiment is over.

The experiment was a failure, but the Sixers cut their losses Thursday by trading Fultz to the Magic. In return, the Sixers receive swingman Jonathon Simmons, a lottery-protected first-round pick that once belonged to the Thunder in the 2020 NBA Draft and a second-round pick in this year’s draft.

Fultz, who only played 33 games for the Sixers, will be considered one of the team’s all-time worst draft picks — if not the worst. The Sixers traded up to draft Fultz, sending the third overall pick that year and a future No. 1 selection to the Celtics in order to move up two spots and draft Fultz. To make matters worse, the Celtics chose Jayson Tatum at No. 3, and he’s turned out to be a far better player than Fultz so far.

The risk for the Sixers is that Fultz, who is only 20 years old, develops into a terrific player. But how much longer were the Sixers supposed to wait? Fultz missed a lot of time due to injuries, missing time with a shoulder injury even though Sixers management insisted there wasn’t anything structurally wrong with Fultz’s shoulder.

When on the court, Fultz averaged 8.2 points this season in 19 games. But it was clear that he wasn’t anything close to the “third star” the Sixers needed, prompting general manager Elton Brand to trade Dario Saric and Robert Covington to the Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler.

Fultz had developed a hitch in his shot, which was evident on free throws. Shortly thereafter, he was shut down and began a search for a doctor that would find anything specifically wrong with shoulder.

Fultz began his latest rehabilitation stint in California rather than with team therapists and doctors. His presence on the bench could be considered a distraction if he were to continue in that non-role the rest of the season.

The Sixers removed that distraction

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