Celtics begin Summer League slate against Markelle Fultz and Sixers
Rarely, if ever, has an NBA Summer League game on the Fourth of July long weekend — with beaches, fireworks, and cookouts all on the agenda — garnered any interest.
That’s probably because they didn’t feature two teams that made a potentially monumental trade — with one team basically telling a player that he’s not worth the status that he had fought so hard to attain during his freshman season and the other team believing in that player to the point of a trade — squaring off. But that’s exactly what we’ll get tonight when the Celtics and Sixers go head-to-head tonight at 7 p.m.
It feels like just yesterday that Markelle Fultz was on a tour of Boston with Celtics president Danny Ainge, staring up at the championship banners that hang from TD Garden, and openly admitting that he wanted to be part of the club’s 18th title.
The visit made it seem like Fultz to the Celts was a lock. But then something happened.
While everything seemed like sunshine and rainbows during his brief time in town, rumors of the C’s shopping the No. 1 pick gained steam, and before you knew it, Fultz was en route to a Philadelphia for a workout with the 76ers and a deal sending the No. 1 pick to Philly’s Process was complete, with Fultz trading in his green for blue. The Celtics, who used the No. 3 overall pick in that deal to select Jayson Tatum, then gushed over the 6-foot-8 Tatum, noting that he was always their guy, and that they would have taken him at No. 1. It’s almost as if Fultz’s dinner with Ainge meant nothing.
For a player that apparently thrives off doubt, their comments had to sting Fultz.
So, despite this game’s seemingly irrelevant status, this will be the first of many chances for Fultz to shove his game in Boston’s face and show them that they messed up.
But don’t think that the Celtics’ Tatum has nothing to prove in this game.
Selected at No. 3 overall, Tatum has been considered a bit of a project, as he’s not considered the most athletic talent in the world despite his effective shot. With a 6-foot-11 wingspan, Tatum brings a looming presence to the three, and expects to be among the focal points of the Green’s offensive attack in this contest.
The 19-year-old Tatum averaged 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and over 33.3 minutes in 29 games in his only season at Duke.
Tatum will split the bulk of the small forward duties with Jaylen Brown, who averaged 6.6 points and 17:14 minutes per night for the C’s a year ago, in a duo that’s been aptly nicknamed 7-11 (Brown wears No. 7 while Tatum has been given No. 11).
This will also be our first look at the 7-foot Ante Zizic.
An absolute monster in Europe and for several different clubs during his time there, the 23rd overall pick from the 2016 NBA Draft has legitimate NBA potential for a Celtics team that has been straight-up starving for rebounding help in recent seasons.
It was with KK Cibona of the Adriatic League that Zizic provided that boost, too, with 9.2 rebounds and 1.23 blocked shots per contest, along with 20 points per night.
The Celtics also have a bevy of second-round draft picks over the last two seasons — 2016’s Demetrius Jackson and 2017’s Semi Ojeleye, Kadeem Allen, and Jabari Bird — that are going to need to make the most of these games if they’re legitimately vying for potential fits on a Celtics roster that could still have some opening depending on what Ainge continues to do on either the free agent or trade front this summer.
This will be the first of six Summer League games, and the first of three in Utah.
The game can seen on Comast Sportsnet New England.
Full article @ Celtics begin Summer League slate against Markelle Fultz and Sixers
Source: GreenStreet Blog