Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
After visiting with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat over the weekend, Hayward met with the Utah Jazz delegation Monday in San Diego. He could decide between the three teams Tuesday on July 4 or take a little longer to decide his future.
So here we are, fourth of July of another year waiting for a free agent to decide whether to come to Boston. Like last year, Boston just picked third in the draft, and it’s all starting to feel a bit like Waiting for Godot (h/t to CelticsBlog for the original idea). The same thing every summer, the same rumors (change the names as needed), the same criticisms and witticisms about Ainge and his assets. You could cast Ainge as Estragon and Stevens as Vladimir and make a few other tweaks and there we are, right? Same thing every summer: “Let’s go.” “We can’t” “Why not?” “We’re waiting for (Durant/Gordon/George/??)”
From a certain impatient standpoint, the Celtics have been standing on the sidelines doing nothing but wait for something better to come along. However, it’s not as though the Celtics got worse by drafting Tatum–they appear to have gotten a fair bit better. They won 53 games last year despite losing a lot of minutes to injuries. The team is still incredibly young. They don’t have a guy who can take over games when things get tight, but such players can be drafted as well as signed and traded for…
Page 2: Jayson Tatum hits a game winner, Fultz misses one, and the trade back to number 3 is vindicated forever.
From the sideline, Boston Celtics summer league coach called for the ball to return to Jayson Tatum.
Allen didn’t have a grand plan beyond that. He didn’t have a set to run or a misdirection to free Tatum for a shot. Trailing the Philadelphia 76ers by one point in the final seconds of the summer league opener, Allen tried not to overthink things.
“I was really just trying to get them to give him the ball and get out of his way,” Allen said. “And let him make a play.”
“I just felt like he was going to make the right basketball play, whether the ball went in or not,” Allen said. “Throughout the game he just posted up, he made 3s, he made pull-ups, he attacked the rim. His body of work to that point gave me the confidence to say, ‘Jayson, do something with it.'”
Okay, the usual “just summer league, first game, yada yada yada” disclaimers apply.
However, what can be taken away from this game is that Tatum scored 8 of Boston’s last 10 points and shot 8/17 overall, while Boston dug itself out of a late deficit.
Dude can score and can score under at least such pressure as one finds in the first game of summer league. And while the stakes couldn’t possibly be lower, Tatum played like the kind of competitor that Ainge and Stevens want on the Celtics.
Fultz also looked good–and since he’s basically going to be Philadelphia’s starting PG this year, get ready for a lot of really stupid takes on Boston’s decision to draft Tatum and get another pick. I don’t think anyone has seriously suggested that Fultz will be a bust, but I also don’t think that the Celtics made a mistake in trading back to the number three spot, not with how giddy both Stevens and Ainge appeared to be when they were discussing the draft at Tatum’s introductory press conference.
Last night was also Ante Zizic’s debut in green. He compiled a more modest overall line (9/5), fought for rebounds, and showed a knack for putbacks. Both Zizic and Tatum had some defensive lapses, and it will be interesting to watch them over the course of summer league and the preseason to see how quickly they pick up Stevens’ systems and concepts.
Also, Jaylen Brown played in last night’s game and looked like he was playing with a bunch of first-graders. He ended the night with 29 points (making 50 points total in the debut of the “Raining Jays”, 7/11, or whatever nickname sticks).
The rest of the links:
Boston Herald: Jayson Tatum nails game-winning jumper in summer league debut | Bulpett: Brad Stevens well aware of roster continuity issues | Celtics rookie Semi Ojeleye thrives after leaving Coach K, Duke