Jayson Tatum Shows Why C’s Drafted him in Summer League Win

Boston Celtics (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Jayson Tatum balled out in his Celtics debut against Markelle Fultz and the Sixers in the Utah Summer League.

The Celtics’ summer league squad took down the Sixers Monday night by a score of 89-88. It was the first time fans could get a glimpse of their team’s newest draft picks, and Boston’s game against Philadelphia held a little more weight than most summer games would.

A week before the draft in June, the Celtics traded the first pick to the Sixers so that they could select Markelle Fultz. This was a heavily criticized move on Boston’s part, since they seemed to be the only team not completely sold on Fultz.

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Danny Ainge and the Celtics selected Jayson Tatum at the third spot, and later said that he would have taken him #1, but was able to get more future assets for their top pick. Now the two players would face off in the first of many match ups that will be used to compare their respective careers.

Fultz came out of the gate with a few baskets using the screen effectively and using impressive foot work for a rookie. Tatum was a bit slower to get started as Jaylen Brown dominated the first quarter for the Celtics. However, once he got settled, Tatum looked very comfortable on the offensive end, and used his active hands on defense to get five steals.

Then when the game went down the stretch, Boston was down one point with about 10 seconds to go. Demetrius Jackson and Abdel Nader both tried to score the go ahead basket but were unsuccessful in their attempts. The Celtics then finally got the ball in Tatum’s hands, where he dribbled into his spot and drilled the game winner with a few seconds to spare.

That play showed why the Celtics were so high on Tatum. The current roster only has about two players that can legitimately get their own shot in Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. While he’s a 19-year-old rookie, Tatum projects as a player that can be a go-to scorer and provide relief to players like Thomas.

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Finishing with 21 points in his first pro game, Tatum showed that he can provide efficient offense, and be the player that you throw the ball to at the end of the game, and be confident in whatever he does with the ball. Rookies tend to improve over more action in the summer league, so we’ll see what else Tatum has in store for us moving forward.