Updated: Friday, October 6, 2017, 12:24 PM
Fresh-faced rookie Markelle Fultz did not get a taste Friday night of what it’s like to go up against an elite NBA point guard.
In the Sixers’ preseason opener, Fultz caught a break when the Grizzlies rested veteran Mike Conley. Then, on Friday, when the Sixers played Celtics and Kyrie Irving — former NBA champion, former LeBron James sidekick — Fultz sat out with a sore right shoulder.
Still, Irving knows what it’s like be a No. 1 overall pick and expected to perform at a high level right out of the gate. He’s been in Fultz’s shoes.
When Irving thinks back to his first days in the league, it’s not the matchups or his performance that he remembers. He said he wishes he would have leaned on the older players more for guidance and how to navigate life as an NBA player.
“I should have probably asked for more help when I was a young player in this league,” Irving said Friday morning. “A lot of the pressures you think that you can ignore, they come out and they kind of bite you in the butt sometimes.”
Planning for Simmons
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said that he’s impressed with how Brett Brown is using Ben Simmons and that it creates a unique matchup situation. Whereas once forwards and centers would be tasked with defending guys who are setting screens in pick-and-roll situations, now they are forced to react to the guy with the ball.
“I think they’re using him really creatively and it’s really smart to use him as a point guard in a lot of ways,” Stevens said. “Obviously, he’s a heck of a talent.”
Philadelphia native Marcus Morris, who was acquitted Tuesday in an aggravated assault trial along with his brother Markieff and missed training camp with Boston, will not play for the Celtics tonight.
“We’ve got to let him have a little bit of a preseason before we throw him into the fire,” Stevens said. “Our hope would be that he might be able to play Monday or Wednesday, but we don’t know that for sure yet.”
Read full story: Kyrie Irving's advice to Sixers' Markelle Fultz: Ask for guidance