Donovan Mitchell caught an inbounds pass and drilled a deep three-pointer at the top of the key just before the first-half buzzer to cut the Jazz deficit to two points.
All Markelle Fultz could do was lean back in his seat on the bench as the trey rattled in before he shuffled his way to the locker room.
It’s not like Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick, had much to be jealous of in regards to performance on Tuesday. After all, Mitchell finished the night with eight points on 3 for 21 shooting (2 for 11 from three-point range) in the Jazz’s 104-97 loss to the Sixers.
However, the sheer opportunity fellow rookie Mitchell enjoyed throughout the night had to eat at Fultz at least a little bit.
Mitchell, the No. 13 selection by Utah last June, played 31 minutes off the bench and had the freedom to attempt any shot he wanted within the flow of the game.
It won’t be the last time on this five-game road trip that Fultz sees a peer from his draft class getting a chance to make a name as he remains sidelined with soreness and scapular muscle imbalance in his right shoulder.
Up next are the Sacramento Kings and their electric lottery pick De’Aaron Fox. The fifth selection in the ’17 draft is turning in a solid first pro season so far with 12.4 points, 5.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game.
That’s in addition to rooks Justin Jackson and Frank Mason III, who are averaging 18.5 minutes and 14.4 minutes a night for the Kings, respectively.
After that, a matchup with Golden State will reveal second-round steal Jordan Bell. He has managed to carve out a reserve role with the champion Warriors and garnered the respect of his superstar teammates.
The final stop of the Sixers’ trip is Los Angeles where they have a date with the Lakers. That means Fultz will have to watch the storied franchise’s rookie duo of Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. The pair is accounting for 23.7 points, 12.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists in 63 minutes a contest.
Putting on a suit and taking a front-row seat to watch guys he expected to be attacking on the court has to be hard for a 19-year-old kid, especially one that was already searching to find his place in the NBA before getting shut down indefinitely.
“It’s all a learning experience,” Fultz said after a game last month.
He just hoped the training would be much more hands-on.