As the questions swirl around Markelle Fultz and his mysterious shooting struggles, Fultz’s All-Star teammate is concerned about the support system of the first overall pick from the 2017 NBA Draft.

“I don’t exactly know what the origin of the problems are,” Joel Embiid said of Fultz after the Sixers 108-92 win over the Knicks on Monday night, via NBA TV. “I’m still trying to figure it out*. But I don’t feel like a lot of people around him have had his back. He’s only 19 and that can be hard, you know, the people around you that are supposed to support you that aren’t supporting you, it’s hard. I was in that situation, especially after my first year and I needed a second surgery.”

Embiid didn’t specify who he felt wasn’t showing support for Fultz, but clearly he doesn’t think that all is as it should be when it comes to Fultz’s [support] foundation.

Though he may not know exactly what’s going on with Fultz, Embiid feels that his own experiences put him in a unique position to help him.

“We’ve been really close since he got to Philly,” Embiid said. “I feel like I’m the guy that can help him the most because I kind of went through it. I missed two years going through all those injuries, and that’s what he’s going through right now.”

So what advice has Embiid offered?

“All I been trying to tell him is just to take his time. Everyone is going to criticize him, especially when you’re the number one pick. Everyone is going to criticize you and everyone is going to call you a bust. I was called all that during my first two years.”

Fultz has heard all the criticism, just as Joel did. Hopefully, he too can ultimately overcome the early obstacles and go on to silence those doubters.

*Join the club, Joel.

 

Follow Michael Kaskey-Blomain on Twitter @therealmikekb.