The NBA Summer League. A place where young talents can be highlighted against other young talents. This summer league harbored many fine specimens, two of which collided in a star-struck game in which both players played exceptionally well.
After Markelle Fultz was drafted, a lot of weight seemingly fell onto his shoulders. With a Philadelphia 76ers team caught struggling in the last few years, many fans recognised this as possibly the end of their never-ending rebuild and many thought that it would start with the drafting of Fultz.
In his summer league debut Fultz showed exactly why he was drafted first overall in a draft class full of young talent, scoring 17 points and making an impression on both ends of the floor. Fultz shot 6-for-16 which included two three-pointers while also having a weak side block on Kadeem Allen which had the crowd in an uproar. When asked about the pressure placed on him to come out and perform he said, “People have big expectations but, to me, it was just another day to play basketball and do what I love.”
Markelle Fultz showing out! 🖐 pic.twitter.com/fAcKqePqEH
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 4, 2017
After the Boston Celtics traded down for the number 3 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, fans were hoping that Danny Ainge would make their trade worth it. The Celtics wasted no time drafting Jayson Tatum, the 6-foot-8 small forward from Duke, and planned to work him out during the summer league. Tatum was electric during the game scoring 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and five steals, not to mention a thundering, one handed tomahawk dunk over Kaleb Tarczewski.
Tatum and second-year swingman Jaylen Brown have built a partnership with the assists to one another playing out all night. When asked about Tatum, Brown said, “That boy can ball, can’t nobody take that from him.” And to put the icing on the cake, Tatum was given the ball with barely any time on the clock and, with the Celtics down by one, Tatum pulled up for the go-ahead jumper nailing the basket and giving Boston an 89-88 lead over Philadelphia. With the Celtics going on to win the game, it was an explosive night for Tatum and Brown, which have dubbed themselves with the nickname ‘7/11’ after their jersey numbers.
— Spark ⚡️ Sports (@Spark_Sports_) July 4, 2017
All in all, fans witnessed two top-three picks go head to head in an electric match-up. Even though it’s only the summer league, these are solid numbers put up by young players. One thing fans can count on is that these two will meet again for years to come