Tatum has played very well during his rookie season. But that was one of few highlights for Fultz in a season marred by questions about whether his broken jump shot is the result of the shoulder soreness that altered his shooting mechanics after the draft or a mental block in the months since the soreness was "completely gone".
"Tatum probably should have been the first pick in the draft", Erving said in an appearance on ESPN's Get Up! "I guess it was all about the fit. And we took Fultz, Philly took Fultz".
His 28-point outburst in Game 1 on Monday - a career-high for Tatum in his young career - has sparked further discussion about his future and what could have been in Philadelphia in the days since. The 6-foot-8 starting small forward is averaging 17 points through eight playoff games heading into Thursday's Game 2 at TD Garden. "We know we could come back and it was a long game to go, so we just had to figure it out", Tatum said during his postgame press conference. "It just seems as though when you get a player who can raise the level of their game at playoff time, you've got somebody special".
Tatum has been lighting it up in the playoffs while Fultz has not played a single minute in the series. However, T.J. McConnell took over the reserve point-guard duties in the second half while he watched from the bench. He only played 14 games in the regular season and scored five points in his first three postseason games against the Miami Heat. However, he actually had the yips, according to multiple sources.
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That move is now seen as a stroke of genius by Boston general manager Danny Ainge as many believe they got the better player and an extra pick further down the line. The Celtics would take whichever one is more favorable. That's why only a handful of players really make it to the next level.
Tatum averaged 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 45.2 percent from the floor in his only season with Duke.
"I like Tatum. I like his game. I like what he brings to the table", Erving said. Make it four straight games with 20-plus points for the 20-year-old rookie, making him the first Celtics rookie to accomplish that feat since Larry Bird.