Victor Oladipo made one thing obvious: He’s pulling for Markelle Fultz.
The Pacers shooting guard knows the 76ers’ rookie because both were products of DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md. So as expected, Olapido, Class of 2010, has been paying attention to what Fultz, Class of 2016, is going through.
He is scheduled to miss his 63rd straight game on Thursday against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden for what the team called shoulder rehabilitation. However, he’s actually been sidelined because he is relearning how to shoot.
Oladipo, 25, shared some of his advice for the 19-year-old Fultz.
“Everybody’s path is different,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason. What he’s going through is only going to make him stronger and better as a man and a person. … His time is coming.”
The Indiana all-star finished with 11 points Tuesday in a 101-98 victory over the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center. One gets the sense that he anticipates playing against Fultz, if not in the playoffs then in future seasons.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said it hasn’t been determined if Fultz will return this season. However, there’s a good chance that he will do so and soon. Fultz’s shooting form has been looking close to normal in recent workouts.
“His time is coming,” Oladipo said. “I know he’ll be ready for it, because I know he puts the work in.”
Fultz averaged 6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 19 minutes in four games this season.
Struggling Knicks on tap
On paper, the Sixers (36-30) shouldn’t have a problem with the Knicks (24-44). They’ve lost eight straight and 16 of 17 games. New York’s latest loss came in a 110-97 decision at home to the Dallas Mavericks. It was Dallas’ first road win since Feb. 3 at the Sacramento Kings.