Last night’s Sixers vs. Utah Jazz Summer League matchup play was pretty insignificant for most of the game (I literally fell asleep sitting up in the 2nd quarter, 9 o’clock starts are killers); that is until Markelle Fultz went all regular-season-caliber play against the stiffs of Summer League. Fultz’ performance was modest for the first 3 quarters, before exploding in the 4th quarter. The Jazz worked their lead to 24 in the 3rd quarter but by the time the 4th quarter started, their lead dwindled to 14. And then, Markelle Fultz happened. Fultz went off in the final period of play, scoring 13 and dime-ing 30 cents in assists. His play helped the Sixers’ pull within 1 point of the Jazz before the closing sequences in the final seconds resulted in fouls and the Jazz finishing on top 100-94. Some things of note from the game and around the interwebs:
- Fultz finished with 23 points, 5 boards and 5 assists in 26 minutes of play, and shot an impressive 4 of 8 from 3PT territory. I’m not going to fall in love with the stat line for the same reason I couldn’t remember the game’s final score: it’s summer league and the stats are skewed because the competition is weak. What I will fall in love with is the bag of tricks Fultz utilizes in order to score the basketball. He scores in all different ways, from stepbacks to deep threes to crafty drives.
- Fultz’ spin move is a thing of beauty:
- Fultz was engaged on defense, showing effort on and off the ball. But he still had mental lapses that are going to take time and coaching to overcome. If you watched the game, you probably remember a point in the 1st in which Dante Exum called from a screen on Fultz, and you stood up screaming, “GO OVER!” Fultz went under, and the result was a pretty effortless conversion on a Dante Exum 3PT. Fultz athleticism and 7’0” wingspan suggest he can be an above average defender if he’s willing to put in the work, but expect JJ Redick and Fultz to get toasted by opposing backcourts early on this season.
- My prospect crush, Jonah Bolden, showed he should be starting these summer league games. He continued to flash tremendous athleticism and a willingness to shoot from three. Maybe too much willingness, as he went 1 for 5, and now a combined 2 for 9 this summer session. But part of that could be the transition from the Serbian league 3 PT distance to NBA distance. Either way, I can watch him any night of the week when he’s making plays like this:
- Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had a solid night, and was much improved shooting the ball compared to Monday’s game, going 3 of 4 from downtown. I’m loving TLC’s potential coming off the bench as an athletic slasher.
- Joel Embiid used a curse word in casually expressing his distaste for WWE Superstar-in-waiting LaVarr Ball. It was mildly comical, producing one of those laughs that isn’t actually a laugh but instead a thrust of air through the nostrils. But if you woke up only to the social media reaction to it, you would have assumed JoJo somehow preemptively won the Sixers the 2017-2018 finals.
- Vegas sets the Sixers’ wins O/U at 40.5. In this East? Give me the over. #playoffs