Confident Markelle Fultz scores 14 for Sixers to open preseason

After a strong preseason debut, 2017 No. 1 overall draft pick Markelle Fultz said he feels confident and healthy heading into his second NBA season.

"Physically I feel great, and mentally I feel great," Fultz said in an interview with NBA TV after the Philadelphia 76ers' win over Australia's Melbourne United in their preseason opener. "I put in a lot of hours this summer to get up reps of going through a whole bunch of different situations. So coming in, I feel perfectly fine. I'm confident. I feel great coming in, and I'm just looking forward to building each and every day."

Fultz started alongside 2018 Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons on Friday night and had 14 points and four assists in 23 minutes. He made a 17-foot jump shot -- his longest attempt of the game -- and recorded a chase-down block and two steals against Melbourne.

"It was unbelievable. Just really tried to build off of last season," said Fultz, who missed most of his rookie season with a shoulder injury. "I put in a lot of work this summer. Tried to get back out there and just be a competitor really. It felt really good."

Prior to the game, coach Brett Brown told reporters that he wasn't fully committed to playing Fultz in the starting lineup in the regular season, but it was something Brown wanted to observe during the preseason.

Fultz replaced JJ Redick in the starting lineup on Friday. Redick has started every regular-season game he has appeared in over the previous four NBA seasons.

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 affected 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.

"It was a lot of work, [but] first of all, I had to get healthy. [The shoulder injury] was the main thing that stopped me from doing what I was doing in college coming in [to the NBA]," Fultz said.

Fultz's shoulder injury confounded the Sixers last season. While recovering from the initial right shoulder injury in October, Fultz was diagnosed with a scapular imbalance. The injury took longer to heal than initially expected. As late as last February, the guard was unable to shoot from beyond 15 feet with sound mechanics or rhythm.

So his made field goal from 17 feet on Friday was a positive sign. Three of Fultz's first four made field goals on Friday were assisted by Simmons. Simmons did not assist Fultz at all last season.

ESPN's Ian Begley contributed to this report.