* The following post was written by guest CelticsHub contributor Tom Westerholm
The Celtics needed one quarter to take a commanding lead against the Detroit Pistons’ Summer League team, Rasheed Wallace needed one half to yell “Ball don’t lie!” as an assistant coach, Colton Iverson had a rebound bounce of his head, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Courtney Fells both missed dunks that would have been VERY impressive if they had gone in, and Fab Melo took three and a half quarters to figure out that Summer League defenders are tall enough to contest him at the rim. Today’s 93-63 win over the Pistons was entertaining, if nothing else.
All eyes were once again on Kelly Olynyk, and while his numbers weren’t quite as impressive as they were in yesterday’s loss to Orlando, he continued to show range on his jumper, finishing 5-9 from the field and 1-2 from 3-point range.
But in a 30-point blowout, lots of players contributed, so let’s get to the bullet points to give them the credit they are due.
Frankly, Detroit just doesn’t have a good Summer League team, especially when this year’s lottery selection Kentavious Caldwell-Pope goes 3-10 and Kim English (who played in 41 games for the Pistons last year) finishes 0-8. This was the kind of game that must frustrate scouts and Summer League coaches on both sides. It was a blowout, so one team was feeling confident and free to do whatever they wanted while the other team desperately tried to get the score back to a respectable, competitive margin. This is not exactly a conducive environment for talent evaluation. As such, remember that today’s results were not exactly indicative of anything substantial.
Easily the most confusing part of today’s game was Tony Mitchell, or rather, the Tony Mitchells. Boston’s version was 4-8 in 17 minutes. Detroit’s version was 3-9 with 10 rebounds. Much like Perry Jones III, Detroit’s Tony Mitchell LOOKS like a basketball player, but also much like Perry Jones III, it remains to be seen whether or not he can contribute.
There was a lot to like about Kelly Olynyk today, most notably his Kevin McHale-esque pump fake/step through/left-handed finish. But Tony Mitchell (the Detroit version) revealed a few reasons to be concerned about Olynyk. Mitchell, a strong and athletic forward who stands about 6’9″, bothered Olynyk near the perimeter with aggressive defense, and while Mitchell’s aggressiveness resulted in fouls on some occasions, he also gave Olynyk a preview of the kind of athleticism and intensity he will face during the regular season.
It should be noted, however, that Olynyk continues to show a nice passing touch. Not all of his passes immediately turned into assists (he finished with three), but he had a couple of hockey assists and one very nice big-to-big pass to Iverson that resulted in a foul.
Fab Melo’s soft finishes, discussed at length in yesterday’s recap, were a problem again today. Viacheslav Kravstov (yes, I absolutely did have to Google that name) could probably be charged with assault after crushing a two-handed poster on Melo as well as sending Melo’s feeble attempt at an answer back in his face. But to his credit (kind of), Fab did draw three charges.
Melo’s dunk attempt that got rejected robbed Phil Pressey of a very nice no-look assist. Pressey shot 5-9 and dished out four assists, outplaying ex-Louisville point guard Peyton Siva for much of the game.
Darius Johnson-Odom scored 22 points on 8-14 shooting which sounds pretty great until you realize that eight of those points came in the last 5:04, when the Celtics were already up by 30+. Still, it was a fairly efficient afternoon for Johnson-Odom, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get a start tomorrow as some of the more known quantities begin to lose minutes.
Colton Iverson was 0-0 from the field and just 50% from the free throw line and I still liked his game. Iverson is willing to bang around underneath the hoop on both the offensive and defensive end, and he has the frame to become a very strong rebounder. If you (like me) complained at length about Boston’s rebounding last season, then you (like me) should be interested in Iverson’s future in Boston.
You may recall Tim Abromaitis, previously a forward at Notre Dame, was denied a sixth year of eligibility in 2011 by the NCAA in a controversial ruling after he tore his ACL. Abromaitis, coming off the Celtics bench for the second consecutive game, finished 3-5 from the field and 1-3 from 3-point range, but more importantly, he elevated in transition and threw down a two-handed dunk. Whether or not Abromaitis makes a training camp roster (and it’s probably likely that he won’t), it’s definitely good to see that he’s able get that high again.
The Celtics take the court against the Pacers tomorrow at 11 a.m. on the third day of Orlando Summer League, which is to say that if you thought today’s game was uneven and a little sloppy, you haven’t seen anything yet. I expect to see more missed dunks than I know what to do with.
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