I caught myself doing a slight fist-pump three minutes into the second quarter of the 76ers game as Markelle Fultz nailed a 14-foot jump shot for his first points of the year. I found myself saying out-loud in an empty room that his shot “didn’t look THAT bad.”
It didn’t look that bad?
I’m happy that the 2017 NBA draft #1 overall pick’s 14-foot jump shot didn’t look THAT bad?
There would be no more fist pumps after that moment. Just depression. And frustration.
Three minutes into the second quarter Fultz notched his first points of the game after taking only three shots. Until that point he was largely invisible, just a nondescript player bringing the ball up the court, immediately looking to give it up to either Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid, and then almost hoping to disappear into the comfortable area beyond the three-point line where he could observe the action undisturbed.
By the time Fultz made his first not-as-quite-herky-jerky-but-still-slowly-developing jump shot, Jayson Tatum already had 12 points and was making his impact felt on both ends of the court.
Tatum poured in another 11 points to pace the Celtics in their decisive season-opening victory over the Sixers. Fultz would spend almost the entire second half on the bench drinking Gatorade.
The chasm between the two players has never been deeper, darker, or more evident than it was last night. If you fell into the black abyss and screamed out “trust the process,” it would echo back 10-times over before you finally hit the hard, cold ground.