After watching the Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers Summer League game, I am very impressed. The game ended with a 89-88 Celtics win. The third overall pick, Jayson Tatum combined with the 2016 third overall pick, and teammate, Jaylen Brown for a whopping 50 points and 20 rebounds. The rest of the Celtics combined for only 39. Tatum scored 21 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished out 3 assists in 33 minutes of play.
Tatum went 8-17 from the field, but he shot 1-5 from three point range. It is clear that he is still transitioning from college three point range to NBA range because his lone make was from the corner, which is where the distance is the same for both levels of basketball. However, he made up for it by making 4-5 free throws and sinking the go-ahead bucket that gave the Celtics an 89-88 lead with 5.7 seconds left on the clock. Tatum will most likely never see 33 minutes in a single game this upcoming season, but the fact that he was as efficient as he was is exciting to think about.
Defensively, Tatum also shined as he came up with five steals. Tatum also demonstrated a trait that not many players, let alone rookies in their summer league debut, have which is the ability to come up big in the clutch. I am not saying he is Paul Pierce or anything, but he is not one-for-one in winning shots in the NBA.
The best part about this game is that it was also the first of many games that will feature Tatum vs. Fultz. Many fans around the league were scratching their heads when Danny Ainge traded to the third overall pick, and for Tatum to have outperformed Fultz in their first encounter provides justification for the move by Ainge. Hopefully, the 7/11 combination of Brown and Tatum don’t ever have to carry the team in this sort of fashion again, but the fact that they can put up these sorts of numbers should have Celtics fans everywhere excited for the next decade.