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Eastern Conference

Sixers’ Brett Brown Expects Fans To Be Pleased With Markelle Fultz’s Recovery

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The Philadelphia 76ers were excited to land Markelle Fultz in this year’s NBA Draft but injuries have limited their rookie phenom.

Fultz played in the first four games of the season but has missed nine straight games with a shoulder injury.

Sixers coach Brett Brown is confident Fultz’s recovery will make everyone happy.

“We spend so much time under the constrictions that we have with making sure his head is right, his body is right, getting him to sweat with his cardio,” said Brown, according to Andrew Porter of CBS Philly.

“Still working on his skills that don’t affect his shot. The problem is the shoulder, the problem is the shot. So all of things that you just heard me say, are things that avoid that. And slowly we’re getting his shoulder stronger, we’re getting him more confident.”

Although it’s unclear when exactly Fultz will return, Brown is excited for when the young guard makes his official return to the court.

“What the endgame is, what the return to play is — we do not know,” said Brown.

“But I can say with sort of great confidence — and we’ve had a lot practice dealing with injured high draft picks — that the plan that he’s on is very comprehensive and thorough. From diet, to study, to Jon Gruden quarterback camp with me and him sitting in a video room talking about stuff.

Sitting him up the bench. When you watch our games, you’ll notice where he sits, we can communicate with him.

“And he’s just very involved, although not in a uniform on game night, he’s moving forward. And I think the city is gonna realize soon, once that happens, what a unique player we actually have.

markHe’s been an enigma so far, but I just feel — I’ve got a gut feel and study feel that he’s just gonna please lots of people, in regards to us drafting him.”

Fultz has averaged 6.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists through four games this season.

Detroit Pistons

Pistons’ Ish Smith Out with Adductor Tear

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The Detroit Pistons will be without guard Ish Smith for around 3-6 weeks after he suffered an abductor tear, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey announced, per Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.

After around 2 weeks, Smith will be re-evaluated, the team announced.

Smith has posted 9.2 ppg and 3.0 apg for Detroit this season.

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Boston Celtics

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown Expects to Come off the Bench

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Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown may be returning to action later this week after missing three straight games due to a tailbone injury, but he expects to come off the bench when he finally does return to the court.

“I believe in my ability,” Brown said, according to MassLive’s Tom Westerholm. “Coaching staff believes in my ability. If coming off bench makes sense – people make it a bigger deal than it really is. At end of the day it’s basketball. (Gordon) Hayward came off the bench & had 30 points. It’s a mindset. It’s a choice.”

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Atlanta Hawks

Hawks’ Vince Carter Won’t Enter Slam Dunk Contest

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While NBA fans are pushing for it, Atlanta Hawks veteran guard, and former Slam Dunk Champion, Vince Carter will not be entering this season’s Slam Dunk Content during the NBA All-Star weekend festivities.

“I don’t think about doing it,” Carter said, during an appearance on The Ringer’s “Winging It”podcast (h/t John Chick of TheScore). “We all … go back and talk about the dunk contest from 2000 and what it did for people and where you were and all of that, and I know what it did for me. So I feel like to taint it, 18-19 years later, why?”

Carter had one of the most legendary performances in the Slam Dunk competition back in 2000, in which he put on an absolute display en route to winning the contest.

“I think if I step on the court for someone to see a dunk, the first thing you’re going to think about is 2000,” Carter continued. “And you’re gonna compare that to 18-19 years later. And that’s just too much time in between. What that did for me then, I don’t ever want to tarnish it. And I feel like going out there, I’m just trying to relive something that should be left alone. Just like when we think some of our classic movies, like let’s not reboot or remake, let’s just leave it alone.”

Age is likely the reason Carter would opt to stay out.

“(In 2000) it didn’t matter, I could dunk fresh off the bus, off the plane,” Carter said. “Now, meh, not so much.”

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