July 03, 2017
The Sixers took on the Boston Celtics in the first game of the Utah Summer League on Monday night, which gave us a chance to watch Markelle Fultz, the top overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, go up against the team that passed on drafting him.
As it turned out, No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum (the guy that Danny Ainge said he would’ve drafted first!) won the game late with a midrange jumper over Alex Poythress:
Jayson Tatum drills go-ahead jumper with 5.7 seconds left pic.twitter.com/w1Kh67l5rp— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) July 4, 2017
Here are some very brief thoughts from the game:
• After agreeing to a new contract, Maryland native Kevin Durant took to Twitter to chime in on Fultz:
Fultz got some 💩 with him. The hesi pull-up jimbo was smooth. Probably don't understand what I just said if u don't REALLY hoop— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) July 4, 2017
Even if I’m not quite sure what a “Jimbo” is (I’m going to assume “jumper,” but hey, I might not REALLY hoop), Fultz looked pretty smooth en route to his 17 points (6-16 FG), 2 rebounds, 1 assist (to four turnovers), 3 blocks and a steal. I always look back at Evan Turner’s first summer league as a barometer, specifically ET really struggling to create his own shot. Turner ended up making a nice living in the NBA, but he never turned into a franchise shooting guard.
You didn’t see the same things from Fultz, who looked pretty effortless creating his own offense at times:
I’ll have more on Fultz’s debut tomorrow, but he certainly made a few mistakes in this one. His finishing around the rim wasn’t great and he made a couple of forced plays out of the pick-and-roll, but Fultz definitely showed flashes of a top overall pick. There were also some expected defensive lapses, but I was pleasantly surprised by his effort level on that end of the floor.
• Jonah Bolden was an interesting guy when I got to talk to him a few weeks ago in Camden, and the Australian forward played great in his (sort-of) pro debut. The No. 36 overall pick, who will stay overseas this season, caught everyone’s attention by absolutely devouring (“blocking” doesn’t quite do those plays justice) three shots in the first half.
Wow. Jonah Bolden bandwagon is gonna fill up fast. pic.twitter.com/inyP8X1vHi— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) July 4, 2017
Bolden (9 points, 4 boards, 4 blocks, 6 fouls!) was active on the glass and showed a nice face-up jumper, too. I’m intrigued to watch him more as the summer goes along.
• Boston's Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for 50 points, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had trouble guarding Tatum on a few possessions in particular. TLC also had a rough night from beyond the arc, finishing 1-9 from deep.
Tatum got a lot of burn in this one, finishing with 33 minutes played compared to Fultz’s 22.
• Former St. Joe’s standout Isaiah Miles (10 points, 4-5 FG) looked like he was right back on Hawk Hill during this one. I really enjoyed covering that St. Joe's team, with Miles and DeAndre' Bembry leading the way, during their run to an Atlantic 10 title.
• One of my favorite running Sixers traditions is the practice of bringing back former players who played heavy minutes on the big club during Peak Process years for summer league. Last year it was James Nunnally, and this time around it’s Larry Drew II. He was playing crunch time minutes in games back during the 2014-15 season!
In general, Billy Lange made it a point to play Fultz off the ball with Drew running point. Fultz ended up initiating a lot of plays, but Drew was bringing the ball up the floor.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann
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