Markelle Fultz’s DNP in Game 1 Shouldn’t ‘Shock Anybody,’ Says Brett Brown

Markelle Fultz’s DNP in Game 1 Shouldn’t ‘Shock Anybody,’ Says Brett Brown

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Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown told reporters Tuesday it “shouldn’t shock anybody” that No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz didn’t play in Monday night’s 117-101 Game 1 loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. 

“There are times where you for sure think about [playing Fultz],” Brown said, according to ESPN.com’s Ian Begley“… But I got a decision to make, and I’ve made a decision. That doesn’t mean it’s etched in stone. It’s always something that you review and think about. And the care for Markelle Fultz and his future is always on my mind.”

Given the way Round 1 shook out, Brown has a point regarding the shock factor. 

The 19-year-old played 14 minutes in Philadelphia’s Game 1 Eastern Conference quarterfinal win over the Miami Heat on April 14, but he saw just five minutes in Game 2 and four in Game 3 before logging DNPs in the series’ final two games. 

In his place, Brown went with T.J. McConnell as the primary backup behind Ben Simmons. In eight minutes per game during Round 1, McConnell averaged 3.0 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.0 assist a game. 

“I decided to do it because there is continuation of growth of a whole year [with McConnell],” Brown said. “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 added that Fultz, who missed 68 games because of shoulder issues, is not “dead and buried” moving forward. 

Game 2 between the Celtics and Sixers will tip off at 8:30 p.m. ET on Thursday night. 

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