There were high hopes for Markelle Fultz, the top rookie pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The 19-year-old seemed to be the last missing piece for the young core of the Philadelphia 76ers although that has yet to show.

In the games that he has played, Fultz has had many opportunities to score. Armed with the offensive talent, it has now become a big mystery why the 19-year-old has opted to pass up on open shots. Could this be part of Sixers head coach Brett Brown’s game plan?

Is he 100-percent healthy?

In the preseason, Fultz suffered an ankle injury in the Summer League which limited him to just 64 minutes of action.

The preseason was no better with the Washington alumnus playing only 47 minutes after suffering a knee injury.

Already hit by a couple of setbacks, is Fultz even at 100-percent health this season? The top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft may be slowly trying to get into the groove and playing with caution. Add the fact that he is now playing with bigger stakes, the rookie’s subpar performance may be more psychological as he tries to rediscover his old form that drew the attention of critics and NBA teams.

The experimental shooting form

Fultz is an offensive gem who obviously has a good shooting stroke. Hence, it comes to no surprise why some criticized the unorthodox shooting he recently showed from the free throw line.

The 19-year-old explained that the wacky new form was all an experiment and that he would be back to his normal form, Deadspin reported.

Testing something is best done during the Summer League or the preseason. The regular season is the real deal so that uncharacteristic shooting stroke seems a bit off. Could he be hiding an upper extremity injury as well?

Aside from the uncanny shooting, Fultz has also become gun-shy. In the first three games he has played, he has noticeably passed up open shots from any spot on the court. Assuming he is injured, why is he still playing instead of healing up to 100-percent health?

Unless a good explanation comes out, Fultz and the Sixers are expected to pay the price.

Philly has dropped all its three games and has hardly shown any improvement despite most of the young stars healthy.

Ben Simmons is good as advertised and Joel Embiid is back in harness. For Fultz, his brand of play is suspect. Something is holding him back, and the closest is perhaps a minor injury to his shoulder, arm or hand.

Brown may want to reconsider fielding in the rookie at least in the early stages. It would allow him to heal up – assuming it is nothing serious. The Sixers have managed to survive even with top picks sitting out the past years. Aside from Simmons, they do have able guards who can churn in better performances and possibly help them get on the winning track.