Markelle Fultz to start, with JJ Redick coming off bench

ByIan Begley ESPN logo
Monday, October 15, 2018

Markelle Fultz, the 2017 No. 1 overall draft pick, will start at shooting guard for the Philadelphia 76ers in their season opener against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, Sixers coach Brett Brown said.

Fultz had started for the Sixers in the preseason, and Brown told reporters on Monday that he would remain in the starting lineup to start the regular season, which means veteran JJ Redick will come off of the bench.

Fultz did not start a game as a rookie. He was limited to just 14 regular-season games due to a mysterious shoulder injury that impacted his shot. Fultz said the shoulder ailment was fully healed over the summer. He also spent significant time working on his shot with trainer Drew Hanlen. Fultz told reporters on Monday that the starting nod is "almost like a pat on the back to myself for all the hard work I put in this summer, but at the same time we have a goal. We have things to take care of."

Fultz averaged nine points per game on 43 percent shooting in the preseason.

Inserting Fultz into the starting lineup will be a shift for Redick, who had started every regular season game he'd appeared in over the past four seasons.

Brown has said he may begin second halves with Redick as the Sixers' starting shooting guard in place of Fultz.

Last season, the Sixers outscored opponents by 268 points in 601 minutes when Redick was on the floor with the other starters, per NBA Advanced Statistics. That was the top plus-minus mark of any five-man unit in the league by a margin of 99 points.

Led by All-Star center Joel Embiid and 2017 Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons, the Sixers are looking to build on their 52-win season in 2017-18. Philadelphia lost to Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals.