Brian Fluharty/USA Today Sports

Markelle Fultz's embarrassing pump fake free throw serves as reminder of Danny Ainge's brilliance

Alex Reimer
November 13, 2018 - 11:19 am

It’s been a rough start to the season for the Celtics. They dropped four of five games on the West Coast and look rudderless through the early portion of their schedule. The situation is so dire, NBA champion and Olympic gold medalist Kyrie Irving is calling for the team to acquire a “14-year veteran” in order to fill an apparent leadership vacuum.

But it could be much worse. The Celtics could’ve kept the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft last year and selected Markelle Fultz. Danny Ainge went against conventional wisdom, and as a result, the C’s were gifted Jayson Tatum and either an additional first-rounder in 2018 or 2019. It was the best trade Ainge has ever made, and a reminder the Celtics will seemingly always be fine in the long-term with him calling the shots.

Fultz’s rookie season struggles have carried over to his sophomore campaign, and there appears to be no end in sight. He hasn’t attempted a single three-pointer in November and is only shooting 60 percent from the free throw line. On Monday, Fultz took the unusual step of pump faking one of his free throw attempts, inevitably resulting in another miss.

The shot was so bad, Fultz’s trainer distanced himself from the point guard shortly afterwards, saying the two no longer work together. 

While it’s been an inconsistent month for Tatum, he lead the Celtics with 27 points against Portland Sunday, tying a career high. Boston is still exceptionally talented, and in the NBA, talent usually wins out.

Fultz’s latest flub is a reminder that the Celtics are still in a great place, even if their 7-6 record says otherwise.