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Celtics Summer League Primer

 

In the midst of all the free agency hysteria over the past week, the Celtics rookies, second-year players and a variety of journeymen have been down in Orlando preparing for the start of the NBA Summer League. The Celtics will actually play in both summer leagues this year, first in Orlando this week and Las Vegas next week.

Yours truly will be on the scene live from Vegas to give you the latest happenings, analysis and interviews with the summer league roster, while the entire CelticsHub gang will provide fresh analysis and recaps from all the contests this week, beginning with today’s game against the Thunder at 1 p.m.

Without further ado, let’s get up to speed on the full roster, schedule and things to watch for with this Boston team over the next couple weeks, as there is plenty at stake with this roster.

Full Summer League Celtics Roster

7 – Jared Sullinger – F – 6-9 – 260 – Ohio State (Rookie)
12 – JaJuan Johnson – F – 6-10 – 221 – Purdue (2nd Year)
13 – Fab Melo – C – 7-0 – 255 – Syracuse (Rookie)
40 – Jonathan Gibson – G – 6-1 – 171 – New Mexico State (Rookie)
41 – Jamar Smith – G – 6-3 – 185 – Southern Indiana (Rookie)
43 – Kris Joseph – F – 6-7 – 215 – Syracuse (Rookie)
50 – Dionte Christmas – G – 6-5 – 205 – Temple (2nd Year, only playing for Celtics in Orlando)
52 – Stephane Lasme – F – 6-8 – 215 – Massachusetts (2nd Year)
55 – E’Twaun Moore – G – 6-4 – 191 – Purdue (2nd Year)
56 – Sean Williams – F – 6-10 – 235 – Boston College (4th Year)
63 – Craig Brackins – F – 6-10 – 230 – Iowa State (3rd Year)

Summer League Schedule for Orlando

Monday, July 9 1:00 p.m. vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Tuesday, July 10 5:00 p.m. vs. Brooklyn Nets
Wednesday, July 11 11:00 a.m. vs. Indiana Pacers
Thursday, July 12 11:00 a.m. vs. Detroit Pistons
Friday, July 13 10:00 a.m. vs. Orlando Magic

What To Watch For

— E’Twaun Moore: The second-year guard has a big opportunity awaiting him during these next couple weeks, as the C’s hold a team option on his services they have to exercise or decline by the end of the month. With Ray Allen out of the picture, Moore has the chance to make a case for not only a roster spot in the backcourt, but a chance to join the rotation if he can impress Doc Rivers and company. Moore showed plenty of flashes after struggling with his shot early on last year, but look for him to handle a lot of the point guard duties and see plenty of minutes over the next couple weeks. 

— Sean Williams: Like Moore, the C’s have a team option on Williams before his contract becomes guaranteed later this year. He’s the most experienced member of the Boston summer league roster, and has come a long way from his immature days in New Jersey to start his NBA career. He’s earned positive reviews so far from Doc and the C’s are always in need of athletic, active bigs off the bench so he could earn himself a spot on the 15-man roster with a strong effort, especially with Greg Stiemsma on his way out the door in all likelihood.

—First Round Bigs: Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo join a talented C’s roster down in Orlando to make their claim that they can help this team right now. I expect Sullinger to be a star down there, while we should begin to get an idea just how raw Melo’s game is offensively and hopefully how talented he is on the defensive end.

—JaJuan Johnson: The forgotten man if you will with the drafting of Sullinger, and re-signing of Bass and Green. He was buried on the bench like Moore for the majority of the season, but should have a leg-up on his former Big Ten rival in Sullinger early on in summer league. Johnson will have to fight to hold off Sullinger in the depth chart and he also could be showcasing himself for a trade by the C’s, if they do in fact deal for a shooting guard, as Johnson is one of their few pieces of value that can be dealt on the roster.

—Kris Joseph: The fight for a roster spot starts today. C’s need a wing defender depth at the three spot. He could be the guy. Stephane Lasme is also a guy to watch as he was one of the last cuts from the C’s a couple years back and a very talented defender.

All in all, this should be a very entertaining two weeks. Rarely do we see so many guys on a summer league roster with a chance of making the team outright, with very real roster battles ongoing the entire time. We’ll have that over these two weeks. Ty Lue will coach, Doc will likely be in the crowd as a spectator so saddle up and enjoy some summer league basketball we haven’t seen for nearly the past two years.

 

  • boston title town

    Sean Williams is going to shock the C's.. can't wait to see him play.
    Moore should be excellent.
    I'd like to see what Fab Melo and Sullinger are all about.
    J J J all the way.

  • Anthony

    Agreed. I think Sean Williams definitely makes the roster.

    Anxious to see Kris Joseph and Fab Melo play. How awesome would it be if Melo is a beast and absolutely dominates both league?

    • High Rollers

      Sully and Fab need to take advantage of playing together and playing off each other, rebounding, scoring, swatting, defending well. Raw and talented (albeit the talent of height and length for Fabulous, diamond in the roughness talent, okay) meets solid and ready basketball know-how in Sullinger.

      These two bigs could really aid one another's cause — and the Celtics' — by playing BIG this Summer League stretch.

      Can't wait!

  • john in sd

    Is DA regretting giving up Marshon Brooks??? If we ha kept him then there would be no need to trade for a SG.

    • Phil

      Kind of semantics, but Ainge didn't give up Marshon Brooks, he gave up the right to draft him. They agreed to trade picks with New Jersey, and New Jersey told them to pick Brooks. The Celtics were never going to draft him, it was always between JJJ and two others (Justin Harper and the guy who was a good story who's name I forget.)

      That said, I don't think the Celtics missed much by not drafting Brooks. Does anyone really think a shoot first ball-stopper who doesn't play defense or score efficiently would have played more than E'Twaun last year? Basketball isn't played in a vacuum, Brooks put up hollow numbers on a bad team, doesn't mean it translates to anything aside from potential to develop into an actual player.

      • john in sd

        Phil, I agree that Brooks isn’t the most efficient player in the world but my point is if we had drafted Brooks then we wouldn’t have to go after the likes of Courtney Lee (who’s PER last year was .39 lower than Brooks…I’m just saying!)

        • Phil

          Brooks is also the perfect type of player to exploit the weaknesses of PER. It doesn't penalize defense or inefficiency too harshly, which are the two things that would keep him from playing major minutes for this Celtics team. He just wouldn't have the freedom to jack up shots and let his guy get past him every time here like he did in New Jersey. Without that freedom, he can't get to the numbers he did put up. PER differences aside, Lee's defense alone makes him much more of a useful player for the Cs. His price tag really isn't that high either.

          My point is that I just don't see how Brooks would have even got on the court with the Celtics to prove that he can get that sixteen or so a game. They'd still need a SG if they drafted him, we would just replace every instance of E'Twaun Moore with MarShon Brooks. The articles would all be the same.

      • High Rollers

        I want Lee. He can pop threes at 40%.

      • lakershater13

        Brooks just went 0-10. He was good on a bad team last year. JJJ was average off the bench but didnt play much. Lets see which direction the 2 are heading this year before we judge the trade.

  • GreenM&M

    Can't wait to see Sulinger! Man it'd be sweet if he could step up and move into the rotation.

  • micky

    where can i watch these games? like on the internet

    • Phil

      They're on NBATV if you get that. Its 257 on Xfinity, and I think standard, since I don't remember ordering it.

      For online, I remember hearing NBA.com, but I haven't double checked.

  • High Rollers

    Youth Infusion!

  • Phil

    Everyone's looking pretty good for the Celtics right now. Then again, hard to tell if the Celtics are playing good defense or if this Thunder team is just terrible. They've got more airballs than field goals.

    None of the young players have looked lost at least, and that's probably the best you could say with this completely meaningless sample size.

    • High Rollers

      Good to hear, Phil. I can't watch so definitely appreciate the update. Really, these guys are doing something wrong if they don't look good out there. #highexpectations

  • skeeds

    Das Whoopin going down in Orlando right now.
    Fab Melo blocked a shot maybe 5 seconds after checking in. Jajuan looks way more professional than the rest of those guys. Waiting to see more out of Sullinger.
    Kris Joseph is a pleasant surprise. He can shoot the hell out of the ball!

  • High Rollers

    I don't know anything about the kid, but why didn't we draft PJ3 again? Not good that he's lighting it up against JJJ thus far, according to the grapevine. *slapsforehead*

    • Phil

      Yeah, I've seen nothing to make me think that Melo over PJ3 is any less horrible than I thought it was on draft night. You just don't pass on NBA ready talent 'with' upside at 22.

      • High Rollers

        One thing I'll say, though, if PJ3 really is a pill in terms of motivation, then you're probably safer going with a more spongelike player like Melo, who just happens to be seven feet tall and enjoys playing defense. KG doesn't mentor pills.

  • Phil

    The Cs have really fallen apart since the first quarter on both sides of the ball. Part of it is the Thunder just hitting shots, but the Cs aren't getting anything good on offense. If only they had a great PG to operate the offense…

    I can't get much of a read on any of the Celtics players though. Moore looks bigger than the guys around him, but I can't see him sticking as a PG. The others are either passive or missing shots. For the Thunder, PJ3 is good, Cole Aldrich sucks. I'm pretty confident in both of those assessments.

  • janos

    Hi Bryan, is Janos
    have well deserve vacate ,las vegas and enjoy game summer

  • GreenM&M

    Sully looking kinda like Baby. Not necessarily a bad thing if he keeps the attitude in check, avoids the Pasta and pancake room service, and rebounds a bit better.

    • Phil

      I really haven't seen a ton of Big Baby in Sullinger's game so far, maybe what Big Baby tried to do as far as outside game went. Baby's bread and butter was closer to the rim, Sullinger has a lot of pieces that Davis didn't. I can see the comparisons, but I can also see why Sullinger was a projected lottery pick and Davis was a second rounder. Sullinger should be much better on O from day one.

      I've really liked what I've seen so far from him, between his nice offensive skills and drawing fouls, I think he'll be able to score at the NBA level, and that's huge, especially off this bench.

      Also, good stretch for Melo right here with a jumper and a block in help defense. Still looking to see a little more though… and another block.

      • GreenM&M

        I guess I was thinking more in terms of their general inside under the rim game. But you are right. Sully has more skill and he's better off the dribble as well.

        I hope Sully stays inside and doesn't just become a jump shooter like baby did later in shis stint with Boston. I really liked Baby when he kept going inside. I hope Sully stick with this part of his game, even if he'll get blocked form time to time.

        • Anthony

          Nobody can get blocked under the basket as much as Baby did. I'm hoping that's the case at least. Lol

          Sully look legit but I still like to see how PJ3 progresses. I was one the people rooting for the Celts to draft him.

  • Phil

    Celtics win. Moore hit the big shots down the stretch, but Sullinger's play is the thing I took away from the game. He looked as good as advertised in his first game, and I see him fighting Bass for minutes and leaving JJJ way down the depth chart again.

    No one else really stood out to me good or bad, though Williams getting benched for pulling a Bynum three doesn't seem to bode well for the push for his roster spot that's been going on here lately.

    • Greg

      Moore concerns me because he keeps switching into hero-ball mode. Only reason why he was hitting big shots was because he wasn't passing the ball at all.

      Sullinger is a baller. No doubt about that. Would still like to see it in an NBA game (and in better physical shape). Also thought Melo showed good potential – shot blocking, good feet and even a pretty good jumper. Melo probably won't do much this year but he's got a chance down the road to be pretty good.

      • Phil

        I just figured Moore hero ball was the plan. This specific team doesn't have any kind of creator or go to scorer, Moore's just the closest to both roles. He hit the shots at the end, but looked pretty bad as the main guy throughout the rest of the game, so its hard to see him doing anything like that once the real players show up. The Celtics obviously want him to be able to play the point, but I don't see it.

  • lakershater13

    Sully- Impressed me more than I thought he would. The guy can step out and shoot which is huge. His post game alone would not be good enough at the NBA level. Showing how he can step out and knock down shots will be huge for his development. The one thing he needs to do is get in shape. He gets in shape and he could be scary. He talked after the game talking about how he has hired a chef and is working on losing weight. I saw a lot I liked.
    Melo- He his a jumper from the outside. Besides that his offense was very suspect. His rebounding also needs work but a lot of that might be due to the fact he played a lot of zone. His overall defense I thought was great. Only blocked 2 shots but I felt like he altered a few as well. He is certainly a project but Cs have KG who can help mold him.
    Joseph- Very impressed. He seems like he can be a true professional in the NBA. I think they drafted an NBA ready player who could be a solid role player over the next few years. With Pierce and Green he may not get time. If Pietrus comes back he may not make the roster.
    Moore- He scored 16 and was good in the clutch but overall it wasnt very impressive. He forced a lot and didnt look to create for other people.
    JJJ- Didnt assert himself at all. Needs to be more agressive on offense. Got guys in the air a couple times with fakes but settled for step back jumpers. Needs to try to get to the rim with his quickness. Not bad rebounding.
    Williams- Mental mistakes…enough said.
    Everyone else- A couple good games by Christmas and Smith but realistically I dont think these guys have a shot at the Celtics roster.

    Perry Jones- I was disappointed when the Cs passed on him to take Sully. I dont view it as Melo over Perry because Cs needed a center. While I dont think Sully has a high upside after watching today Im not sure I like Perry Jones all that much. The guy is big and has some serious skill. At times during the game he just didnt seem interested. When the ball was loose on the floor Jones watched it roll out of bounds. No dive what so ever. He may end up being a great player but after watching today I am fine with Sully and Melo over Perry. Im not sure Perrys heart is in it.

    On another note- John Stockton has a son and is on the Utah summer league team…How was this not big news?

    • ozcelts

      I was hoping C's drafted PJIII on draft night too however seems like the draft notes were fairly accurate- NBA body but not the hunger. Give me a guy like Sully who wants it more- even with a lower ceiling
      any day

      • lakershater13

        I agree. Sully never showed a jump shot in college. He showed one today and that is what really opened up his game. I am liking the pick better now. Still only time will tell but i like what i saw from Sully.

      • Phil

        The counter for people who supported taking PJ3 like me is that the Celtics could've had both PJ3 and Sullinger. There was no need to choose between the two. The argument that they had to take a center doesn't hold much weight since they could pick up a bottom tier center like Stiemsma anywhere, and no one expects Melo to even play this year anyway.

        The absolute floor with PJ3 is that he doesn't care at all and KG kills him. Then you're out the 22nd pick and KG spends the year under investigation. Outside of that happening, PJ3 is going to be more productive this year than Melo. He's not NBA ready. To make the pick worse, if both players reach their ceiling (and there are probably more questions about Melo than PJ3,) PJ3 is a vastly better player. The big, slow, shot blocking center is dying as a position. Its just not worth as much in the new, athletic NBA.

  • sethesq

    Leading scorer off the bench with a very efficient 20 points in 24 minutues for Sully. Good start. His back can't be that bad!

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