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The reminder of the trade would have been bad enough if the two teams were not competing in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals!

But as Boston and Philadelphia clash in front of the Philly fans, they watch as Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum plays big minutes and makes terrific plays while their rookie, Markelle Fultz languishes on the bench. Fultz has been a DNP-CD in all three Celtics vs. 76'ers playoff games thus far.

That is in contrast to Jayson's AMP-CD (Absolutely Must Play-Coaches Decision). How must the Philadelphia fans feel about this. The Philly-Boston rivalry has been resurrected, and their youngster sits on the bench.

This was not the way The Process was supposed to work. Shameless tanking was supposed to bring high draft picks and long-term future success. There were not supposed to be glitches like this. Sure, Jahlil Okafor did not work out as expected, but this is getting embarrassing.


Effectively trading a bench warmer for a legitimate, real-rookie (had to get that in) candidate for ROY and a potential lottery pick is hard for the Philadelphia fans and writers to stomach. Here are some laments from PhillyVoice.Com's Kyle Neubeck:

We're a long way away from knowing what Tatum and Fultz are going to be when they hit their respective peaks, but as this series has unfolded, it gets harder and harder to sweep under the rug that one draftee is thriving, while one collects dust on the bench.

Philadelphia's biggest problem on offense — one that gets amplified in a playoff series, where physical basketball is king — is that they don't have anybody who can create their own shot from the perimeter. Passing magician though he may be, Ben Simmons has no credible shot to speak of, and the rest of the team's shooters are reliant on others to create the looks for them.

This isn't much of an issue for Tatum, who the Celtics can ask to run the offense in late-game situations already. He left Duke with a reputation as one of the most polished offensive prospects in the class, but what we're seeing out of him at this early stage is fairly ridiculous. He abused lesser defenders like Marco Belinelli, and on a possession in overtime that ended with Joel Embiid switched onto him, he got the big man to bite on quick fake inside and finished a clean look at the rim.

To those readers with true empathy, this must be particularly tough on Fultz. Watching this unfold while sitting helplessly on the bench must be a mood-plummeting experience. Here is the kicker from the excellent article by Neubeck:

As a Celtics wing equals scoring feats of a rookie Larry Bird, the Sixers' top draftee posts motivational memes on Instagram and watches a series he has done nothing to impact.

Celtics fans and writers have their own views of the Tatum-Fultz trade that yielded Boston Jayson Tatum and a draft pick by moving from the top spot in the draft to third. The only negative aspect I see in Danny Ainge's move is that it amplifies the future reluctance of rival GM's to deal with him. The fear of a Philly-type level of embarrassment hangs in the air.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Tom Lane 5/07/2018 05:53:00 AM Edit
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