The Celtics kick off their 2010 Summer League campaign with a loss. Hurray! Many times, players auditioning for ball clubs will try to emulate NBA players to show the front office all of their capabilities. Unfortunately, this Celtics Summer League did their best regular-season Celtics team impression- and it was damn good. Spot on really. After garnering a huge lead in the early going (21 points at one time), the Celtics ultimately gave it up in the waning minutes and lost a close one to an Oklahoma City Thunder team sporting three rotation players for the big ball club (James Harden, Eric Maynor, and Serge Ibaka).
Like all Summer League games, there was some good and some bad. First the good:
I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time and haven’t gotten a chance to until now: for all of those people saying Harangody is a replacement for Brian Scalabrine, please, just stop it. The similarities these two players possess end at syllables and skin-tone. Harangody showed today that he is a pick-and-pop guy while Scal is a spot up shooter. Harangody has a post game and uses his bulk judiciously on the block. Scalabrine has no post game of which to speak. Scalabrine makes up for his lack of quickness and athleticism with his high basketball IQ and his ability to stay in front of quicker and longer players. The jury is still out on Harangody’s ability to defend on the next level.
Despite not showing much on the defensive end, Harangody showed off his ability to put the ball in the bucket. Luke scored 23 points and was especially impressive from deep. I can’t remember Harangody shooting an NCAA three in any of his College games I was fortunate to catch, let alone stepping a few feet back and knocking one down from real deep. When it was all said and done, Harangody was 9-of-13 from the field and 4-of-6 from three. The best part of Harangody’s stat-line isn’t immediately evident. Luke exuded confidence today by stepping into and taking big shots without hesitation and had the ability to get off his unorthodox delivery very quickly and with little adjustment.
And no, I’m not talking about the Restaurant in West Newton. I’m talking about Tony Gaffney (UMass) and Matt Janning (Northeastern). Being a BC guy, I’m supposed to have a visceral reaction when I see guys from other Hockey East schools play well, regardless of the sport. That said, I have definitely made an exception when it comes to local products vying for NBA roster spots.
Janning can really stroke it but unfortunately played a lot off the ball today when he got in and didn’t really get to showcase his ability. Look for the players on the floor to adapt when they see him light it up in practice. Gaffney, on the other hand, really didn’t show a lot on the offensive end but may become the next Scalabrine- an abridged role, of course. Gaffney started off the game guarding James Harden and guarded him really well. If Gaffney can use his 6’8″ wiry frame to guard two’s and three’s in the NBA, he’ll find his way onto a roster.
The Mountain from Minsk:
For those of you not in “the know” Minsk is the capital of Belarus, which is a country the lies between Russia and Poland, which is also where the Celtics’ Summer League team’s back-up center was born. His name is Artsiom Parakhouski and he played his collegiate ball at Radford where is he displayed his knack for rebounding the ball. He displayed that very same ability today, pulling down 10 boards in 18 minutes.
It was nice to see that the Celtics defensive mentality was not wasted on its youth. The Celtics brought it today on the defensive end which made the game infinitely more fun to watch. While the Bigs are still slow on their interior rotations, point guard Oliver Lafayette pressured Eric Maynor the entire game.
Orlando Summer League is now being broadcast on NBATV which means two very good things: no small ever-buffering Quicktime viewers and no Dante and Galante. A lot of people like the off-beat Summer League announcers, I am just not one of them. I don’t know, something about wanting to watch basketball and having to listen to two guys misquoting five-year-old Family Guy and Will Farrell lines doesn’t sit well with me.
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Now, the bad. For those of you hoping Semih Erden was the answer to the Celtics’ lack of length in the middle, don’t get too excited. In his first professional game, Erden looked very stiff out there and fell over on his only two moves to the basket. He also only grabbed 4 rebounds in 22 minutes and was not on the same page with Lafayette on pick-and-rolls. It’s early in the process but as of right now, give me some Parakhouski over Erden.
Box Score Courtesy of NBA.com: