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Magic’s Markelle Fultz is thrilled to have new coaches who’ll ‘not just tell you what you want to hear’

Markelle Fultz, Magic

All indications were that Brett Brown did right by Markelle Fultz. After spending some time with his new team, though, the 2018 top overall pick seemed less than pleased with how the Philadelphia 76ers coach reacted to the mysterious shoulder injury that rendered him unable to shoot the ball as normal.

At his introductory press conference with the Orlando Magic, Markelle Fultz suggested that Brown and his staff sometimes paid him lip service during his season and a half with the Sixers rather than drive him to improve.

“It just excites me really to know that I have coaches that’s going to push you to be better and not just going to tell you what you want to hear,” Fultz said, per Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk.

Fultz was traded to the Magic last week in exchange for Jonathon Simmons, a protected 2020 first-round pick and a 2019 second-rounder. He played in 19 games this season before being shutdown again in mid-November.

He subsequently underwent further tests that led to a diagnosis of Thoracic outlet syndrome, a compression of nerves in the shoulder area. Fultz first suffered the injury in the summer of 2017. Though Orlando hasn’t made a final decision on his status, recent reports indicate it’s possible Fultz misses the remainder of the 2018-19 season while continuing to rehab.

Brown, who often defended Fultz throughout the strange saga that seems poised to waste his first two years in the NBA, expressed both dismay and happiness following his trade to the Magic.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t (say I felt) sad,” Brown said, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “And it was two emotions I felt, sad personally, selfishly I suppose that I never really felt like I got a chance to coach him. I never really felt like the city got a chance to see him. I felt sad for that.

“And I was pleased for him that, you know, he had a new start, he had a fresh start, another opportunity.”

With that fresh start, according to Fultz, at least, comes a coach in Steve Clifford who’s more suited to deal with the circumstances surrounding his injury than Brown.