Markelle Fultz made his triumphant return to the Philadelphia 76ers late in the regular season, but 2017’s top draft pick has basically watched the playoffs from the sideline.
The Washington product has logged just 23 minutes in six postseason games. However, per Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer, head coach Brett Brown says Fultz is “not dead and buried” in reference to the rotation.
“To say he’s dead and buried, that’s not true. But I got a decision to make, and I’ve made a decision.”
Fultz has watched T.J. McConnell take the limited minutes available for the backup to Ben Simmons. McConnell, a third-year guard, has entered each playoff contest and is averaging 7.8 minutes entering Game 2 of the series with the Boston Celtics.
It’s a fair statement from Brown, who probably has no plans to use Fultz in significant moments during the playoffs.
McConnell was an important member of the rotation all season, averaging 6.0 points and 4.0 assists over 22.4 minutes. His role has understandably shrunk in the playoffs, where Simmons’ minutes have climbed to a team-high 38.2.
Fultz still has the ability to occupy a significant role in the future. But after an injury-affected rookie year, the Sixers are wise to continue letting Fultz recover slowly.