Philadelphia 76ers’ star center Joel Embiid was the lead voice in convincing Markelle Fultz to discontinue his training relationship with Keith Williams, a source close to the team told Sixers Front Office on Friday night.
Leading up to the 2017 NBA Draft, Williams was the man who was in charge of the development of Fultz. Now, Markelle is working with Pure Sweat Basketball and Drew Hanlen, which has been heavily documented on Instagram.
The source confirmed that Embiid told Fultz that it was time to move on and start training with the aforementioned Drew Hanlen (someone Embiid knows and trusts). Hanlen also works with Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, and numerous other NBA players.
Drew Hanlen had this to say on the Talking Schmidt Podcast:
I knew Markelle because of Joel. Obviously, I spend a lot of time in Philadelphia working with Joel. Basically what I told him is, me being me, I said, “Markelle listen, you’re going to make me really famous and you’re going to make me a lot of money when I fix your shot and can sell your program. And the good news is, I can’t go down because it can’t get worse.” So I said, “Give me a chance, let me help you get back to who you are.”
In his rookie season, Fultz played a total of 14 games and averaged 18.1 minutes, 7.1 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.1 rebounds. More noteworthy was his 40.5 field goal percentage, 47.6 free throw percentage, and the fact that he made zero three-point shots, something that he was doing with ease in the 2017 NBA Summer League.
In an interview with USA Today, Keith Williams claimed that he did nothing to change Fultz’s shot, but then we saw the footage of Markelle doing a Three Stooges impersonation, seconds after shooting baskets from his backside (seen below).
It is unknown whether the separation of Fultz and Keith Williams is permanent or if it’s temporary.
Now, we fast forward to Fultz sitting with Drew Hanlen at the Las Vegas Summer League one year later, the same league where he stroked threes effortlessly, just like he did at the University of Washington as a freshman.
Much criticism has been made of the fact that Fultz is not participating in summer league competition, but Hanlen is adamant about Markelle staying away from basketball activities during their training process.
According to Hanlen, he needs three months with a client in order for them to restore proper muscle memory. Thus, Fultz isn’t playing.
In the end, it comes down to the future of Markelle. Are meaningless games more important than working out with Drew Hanlen? You be the judge. Embiid already voiced his opinion and Fultz listened.