Fultz has responded well to benching, says 76ers coach Brown
Philadelphia 76ers rookie guard Markelle Fultz has been "unbelievable" in accepting his diminished role, according to head coach Brett Brown.
Fultz - taken with the number one pick in the 2017 NBA Draft - has not played in the 76ers' last three playoff games due to Brown's decision, missing Monday's 117-101 loss to the Boston Celtics in game one of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
The 19-year-old missed most of the season recovering from a shoulder injury, and while he played very well in 10 games in March and April -- including a triple-double in the season finale -- Brown is more comfortable playing T.J. McConnell as backup to star point guard Ben Simmons.
"Markelle Fultz played 10 end-of-season games for the year, and T.J. played the whole year and had a helluva year and we won [16 in a row], and we were winning, we were playing good basketball," Brown said on Tuesday.
"I decided to do it because there is continuation of growth of a whole year [with McConnell]. There is a little bit of a physicality element that we felt with Miami the games [that contributed to the decision]. T.J. grabbed a spot and walked it down, we won a series.
"But it's not anything that I'm not open to always reviewing. I'll do whatever it takes to help [Fultz] help us. Us being the key word."
Brown thinks playing the more experienced McConnell is in Philadelphia's best interest. But he notes he is also mindful of Fultz's feelings.
"The care for Markelle Fultz and his future is always on my mind," Brown said.
Yet the coach insisted Fultz has handled his time on the bench extremely well.
"I think he's been unbelievable, coachable and [has had an] unbelievable spirit," Brown said. "These questions [from media members] that we're going through, my discussion with him is very brief and it's a fist bump and he moves on."
The 76ers are back in Boston for game two against the Celtics on Thursday.