The NBA summer league doesn’t draw much, if any significant viewings. But the audience who does keep tabs on it can familiarize themselves with the names of either the flashy prospect who went in the lottery, or the talented underdog player who displays signs of promise.
For the Celtics, as a high-powered Eastern Conference contender, the team was, for the most part scouting for players who could contribute off the bench, whether that’d be this season, or a couple of years down the road.
Here are four takeaways of the Celtics 4-2 Summer League performance.
Jabari Bird could be ready to make an impact
The Celtics waived Kadeem Allen and signed Walt Lemon Jr. this past week. With Allen out of the picture and Lemon an acquisition who could be stashed with the Maine Red Claws, this opens the door a bit wider for two-way guard Jabari Bird.
It can be argued that Bird was the best player of the tournament for the Celtics. The 24-year-old averaged 16.8 points on 57 percent shooting, six rebounds, three assists, and 1.8 steals in 29.8 minutes.
If the Celtics decide to hold on to Bird, the all-around guard could be a key player off the bench if he can repeat the quality of play he showed in the Summer League. This can lead into him playing a similar role to that of what Terry Rozier played in his first few seasons with the Celtics (Rozier averaged 17 minutes and scored 5.5 points per game in his second year).
Semi Ojeleye and Guerschon Yabusele showed some promise
Both Ojeleye and Yabusele were present on the bench for the Celtics improbable run to the Eastern Conference Finals without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Both took big steps toward renewing those spots as reserves.
Yabusele averaged 26.3 minutes and posted 12.8 points (41 percent shooting), 5.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while Ojeleye went for 12.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists.
It’s hard to imagine Yabusele averaging more minutes next season than he did this past year (seven minutes). Ojeleye on the other hand, showed in the Summer League that he’s been working on his offensive game, shooting 43 percent (just under a 10 percent increase from last season’s 34 percent through 73 games).
We may see Hassan Martin again at some point down the road
Martin isn’t going to make the big club come this fall. But he certainly played well enough to warrant himself a shot at the G-League in Maine.
The 6-foot-7 lefty showed consistent efficiency in six games played, averaging 10 points per contest and putting up 16 points in the team’s final game against the Blazers. He accompanied this with an average of six rebounds and 2.5 offensive rebounds. Martin also finished with a 55 percent field goal percentage and a 90 percent success rate from the free throw line.
If Martin, 22, can play well with the Red Claws, he can always see a second audition in the 2019 Summer League. Next year, he can carry a storyline similar to what we’re currently seeing with Bird.
Robert Williams’ off-court shenanigans are overshadowing his brief on-court performance
After missing a conference call with the team the following morning of draft night, and later missing a team flight, Williams desperately needed a change in the narrative surrounding him.
But it didn’t happen.
The 20-year-old rookie hurt his knee six minutes into the Summer League’s first game and never returned to the floor. After going down with the injury, a report was released regarding an artery condition in both of his legs. The Celtics have deemed the situation “not serious,” but noted that surgery is possible if there’s no improvement.
Being unable to play due to injury isn’t exactly Williams’ fault, but it’s been unfortunate that he’s been unable to show his potential in being the athletic post presence the team has been long searching for. Williams slipped to the Celtics at 27th overall in the draft due to team’s believing he lacked a competitive motor. Once he returns from injury (whenever that’d might be), proving this flaw in his game to be false will be the deciding factor in proving his value.
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Full article @ 4 takeaways from Celtics Summer League
Source: GreenStreet Blog