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Celtics and 76ers face off in their first Summer League action

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The Celtics and 76ers will face off in the long awaited debut of Markelle Fultz and Jayson Tatum as Summer League action kicks off. .

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Boston Celtics (0-0) vs Philadelphia 76ers (0-0)
Monday, July 3, 2017
7:00 PM ET
TV: NBA-TV, CSNNE, CSN
Jon Huntsman Center

The Celtics will see their long awaited first Summer League action as they take on the Philadelphia 76ers.  These two teams will forever be linked by a swap of draft picks.  Markelle Fultz has long been touted as the clear choice for the first pick in the 2017 draft.  The Celtics, who won the first pick, saw things a bit differently and wanted Jayson Tatum instead.  So, the Celtics swapped with the Philadelphia 76ers for the third pick. 

Because of this swap, fans of both teams will be watching both of these players in order to evaluate this trade.  We may not know until both players are retired who really won that trade and both Fultz and Tatum will be closely scrutinized throughout their careers.  They may have a rivalry over the years similar to the Bird/Magic rivalry.   It is only fitting that they start their pro careers in a Summer League game against each other.

While the Celtics wait for Gordon Hayward's decision, all eyes will be on the Celtics team that brings together rookies, 2nd year players and undrafted players who are looking for a break.  On paper, this Celtics team should dominate the 76eers team, but we all know that games don't always go as their written descriptions would suggest.





Celtics Summer League Roster
Kadeem Allen
Rosco Allen
Jabari Bird
Jaylen Brown
Perrin Buford
Demetrius JKackson
Landen Lucas
Abdel Nader
Semi Ojeleye
Terran Petteway
Scoochie Smith
Jayson Tatum
Trevor Thompson
Scott Wood
Ante Zizic

Players to Watch

Jayson Tatum - The Celtics first round pick, #3 overall, will have the spotlight on him throughout the season, beginning with this game. 
Abdel Nader - Nader, the 58th pick in last year's draft played last season with the Red Claws and was named D-League Rookie of the Year.  Can he impress enough to make the team this season?
Semi Ojeleye - Ojeleye was projected to be drafted in the 20's but slid to the Celtics at 37.  He is an exciting player and he may make the team if he impresses enough in Summer League.
Ante Zizic - The Celtics drafted Zizic 23rd in 2016.  He impressed this past season playing for David Blatt with Darüşşafaka Doğuş.  Celtics fans are hoping to see him in Boston this season and that will begin with a strong showing in Summer League. 




Sixers Summer League Roster
Brandon Austin
Jonah Bolden
James Blackmon, Jr
Isaiah Bricoe
Larry Drew III
Markelle Fultz
Aaron Harrison
Charles Jackson
Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot
Isaiah Miles
Alex Poythress
Darryl Reynolds
Kaleb Tarczewski
Melo Trimble

Players to Watch

Markelle Fultz - Fultz was the number 1 overall pick and the Celtics traded the right to draft him to the Sixers.  Celtics fans will be watching his play all season to see what they missed out on.  Fultz may be playing point in Summer League, but in the regular season, Simmons is expected to play the point while Fultz plays off the ball.  
Jonah Bolden - Bolden, an Australian, was taken with the 36th pick in this year's draft, one spot before the Celtics drafted Semi Ojeleye.  It will be interesting to watch the progress of these two players as well. 
Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot - Caberrot was the Sixers 2016 first round pick, 24th overall.  He played very well down the stretch for the Sixers last season and they are looking for him to pick up where he left off last season. 


Key Matchup
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Jayson Tatum vs Markelle Fultz
The Celtics finally had the #1 overall pick in the 2017 draft.  Markelle Fultz was projected by just about everyone to be the top pick but Danny was more impressed with Jayson Tatum and so traded the #1 pick to Philly for the #3 pick so as to take Tatum.  Throughout their careers, these two players will be scrutinized and compared with each other as the aftermath of this trade is debated by fans and critics alike. 

Keys to the Game
Chemistry - Both teams will have new players who more than likely won't make the team mixed with players expected to contribute this season.  Developing chemistry quickly will be a key for both teams.
Defense - Regular season or Summer League, defense is always a key to winning. 
Poise - More than likely both teams will be a bit nervous as they take the court for the first time.  The Celtics have the more experienced team and so hopefully they will be more poised and the nerves won't affect them as much.

What to Watch For
Are Last Year's Picks Ready to Contribute?
Three players from last year's draft will be participating in this game.  Demetrius Jackson spent most of his rookie year with the Red Claws.  Did he progress enough to keep his roster spot?  He will likely be the starting point guard and so will have ample playing time to prove himself one way or the other.  Abdel Nader spent his first season earning Rookie of the Year honors as a stash with the Red Claws.  He would love to wrest that roster spot from Jackson.  Celtics fans have been awaiting the arrival of Ante Zizic.  He fills a big need for the Celtics as a rebounder and rim protector.  He will have plenty of time to impress and earn a spot on the roster.

Did Danny Make a Mistake In Trading Down in the Draft?

We will get our first look at both Markelle Fultz and Jayson Tatum in this game and just as will be the case all season and throughout their careers,  all eyes will be on them to determine whether Danny made a mistake taking Tatum over Fultz.  While one game won't come close to answering that question, it will be our first chance to watch the two against each other. 


Will Any of the 2nd Round Picks Impress?
The Celtics have 3 second round picks who will be vying for a spot on the roster or, if that doesn't work out, one of the Celtics 2-way contracts with the Red Claws.  There is already some excitement surrounding Semi Ojeleye, who was expected to be chosen in the first round but slid to the Celtics at 37.  But, Jabari Bird and Kadeem Allen both have qualities that may help them impress in Summer League.