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Celtics Summer League Roundup

 

After beating the Orlando Magic on Friday, the Celtics finished 2-2 at Summer League with 14 points, good for seventh place overall. Go team mediocrity!

We saw a lot of intriguing basketball (note: intriguing basketball, not particularly “good” basketball) over the last week, including some players who might actually make the roster. Let’s work our way through the Summer League roster in order.

Certainties

Kelly Olynyk: Olynyk’s competition was nowhere near stiff enough for us to get a solid read on what the Celtics have, but at very least, it seems safe to say that Olynyk could be a legitimate starter in the NBA. If you judge athleticism solely by speed and leaping ability, Olynyk is less athletic than many of the players he will face in the pros, but his footwork is extremely advanced for a player his age, and he sees the floor very well for a big man. Summer League announcers, when they weren’t busy discussing roster moves around the NBA instead of the in-game action, brought up the fact that Olynyk was a guard before a late growth spurt, which makes a lot of sense when you watch him play.

This could be a lot of fun.

Fab Melo: He’s a certainty, but few of us are really happy about it. Since he was a first-round pick, Melo is guaranteed through next year when the Celtics have a team-option on his deal. It’s going to take an unforeseen leap for the Celtics to deem him worthy of picking up that option.

That being said, Melo had perhaps the weirdest Summer League of any player. After playing extremely poorly for most of the week, Melo was 4-7 for 11 points and five rebounds in 18 minutes on Friday. He looked more comfortable on offense, and he even scored a couple of times isolated in the post.

I guess my point is that hope is fading in the Fab Melo project, but it hasn’t died quite yet.

Probables

Phil Pressey: I wrote at length about Pressey earlier this week, so I won’t belabor the point here. His obvious physical flaws notwithstanding, Pressey was very impressive, and most of us would probably be happy to see him on Boston’s bench next season. Pressey has a training camp spot, and according to ESPN, he is working on a one-year deal with the team.

Colton Iverson: Iverson wasn’t the world-beater his fellow 2013 C’s draftee Olynyk was. But he worked hard, grabbed rebounds, rotated on defense and did what was expected of him offensively. He deserves a year or two in the NBA to show what he can do.

Possible

Tony Mitchell: I’m always a little bit leery of the phrase “D-League MVP” because often, the most useful D-League players aren’t MVPs. Rather, they are the kind of players who do one thing VERY well, and thus can fill a void for a team. They grab a lot of rebounds quietly or set good picks in the pick-and-roll. D-League MVPs are usually scorers who are in the D-League for a reason, more ball-dominant and more well-rounded than their D-League counterparts but less good at one particular thing. If a player like Mitchell wants to make a roster as a scorer, going 4-18 from 3-point range in five games is not going to help his cause.

That being said, he got to the free throw line a lot, converted most of his opportunities (12-14 overall) and shot 16-27 from within the arc. Lots of things can throw off a 3-point shot, and an unfamiliar setting (and jangling nerves) are two prime examples.

Long shots

Tim Abromaitis: Abromaitis worked very hard and had a couple of nice games. But his niche, overall, seemed to be “kick out 3-point shooter,” and once again, 6-21 (.286) just isn’t going to get it done. Abromaitis almost certainly helped his stock overseas, but I have a hard time imagining him getting a training camp invite.

Jayson Granger: It’s really too bad for Granger that the Celtics brought in Pressey, because the C’s — in need of a backup point guard and not particularly worried about being good next year — are the ideal squad for Summer League players. But after Pressey’s performance, there’s very little chance Boston brings in another point guard.

No Chance

Courtney Fells: Fells had some nice moments and showed some athleticism, but he didn’t quite do enough to get a training camp invite, despite having ample time (20 mpg) to do so.

Lawrence Hill: Hill had a nice showing on Friday and demonstrated a lot of range, providing him some game film to show other teams.

Nolan Smith: Just the worst luck: Smith suffered a grade 2 calf sprain five minutes into the first game on Monday that will sideline him for 6-8 weeks.

Darius Johnson-Odom: Recognizing Boston’s interest in Pressey, DJO made the right decision and bolted for Vegas/Denver’s squad early.

Omar Reed: Much like Hill, Reed hit a bunch of threes and played pretty well in Friday’s somewhat meaningless game.

Eli Holman: I often forgot Holman was on the floor, perhaps because he was often of the floor with some combination of Pressey/Olynyk. Still, it’s not a good sign if you are invisible at Summer League.

We will have plenty more as more players receive their training camp invites. Until then, the Celtics are done playing until training camp, which is just enough time for us to order our customizable Olynyk jerseys.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

  • Jason

    For whatever it's worth, Celtics were actually at 14 pts after Day 3's win and at 16 pts after Day 4's loss (mistakenly listed as 14 pts at Orlando site, as someone did not give C's credit for 2 quarters they won. This should've put them in a tie for 4th place (not 7th) going into last day. They also killed Orlando on Day 6, but ths seemed to be treated as an exhibition game for everyone but OKC title game… So 3-2 was pretty respectable… Especially for Olynyk, Pressey, Iverson and Mitchell. Excited to see Olynyk, Sullinger, Rondo play together!

  • Phil

    Agreed with pretty much everything here. I'd probably put Abromaitis as no chance given his age and injury history, but I always hope guys who get screwed by injuries like that can lock on somewhere overseas for a solid paycheck, and he probably helped his stock there.

    I was a little discouraged with how little Iverson stuck out. I know he has almost no upside given his age, but I was at least hoping for a guy who could rebound at a high rate. If he can't do that in Summer League, it's not happening later. It doesn't seem like he has much of a niche in the NBA outside of 6 fouls. There's a little bit of 'guy who plays defense in a pick up game' potential with him considering toughness doesn't do much in Summer League, but hard to see him sticking around very long. I do expect him to make the team and eat some minutes against bigger 5s in lieu of another (good) center on the roster though. Of course, I'm mainly just bummed that Arsalan Kazemi was taken with the pick right after him. I'd much rather have a guy with the nickname 'Mr. 50/50 ball' who advanced stats love and who projects as a high upside pick…

    I loved what I saw from Olynyk of course. He showed everything from a 3 point shot to a rim crashing offensive board game. He didn't get killed on defense, even though he looks like he should (and will once he faces better guys.) He needs to prove it against better competition next, but at least he's starting with a little extra rope in the eyes of the fans/media now. That's all you can ask from Summer League.

  • hax

    I don't agree on Melo/Iverson probably having a spot on this roster. Faverani has the largest contract, years-wise, so he is on the team(unless he stays overseas for some reason?). The 4 spot is stacked, so Olynyk is our center. Melo/Iverson would be 3rd strings, and we have better players to take their place at more necessary positions.

  • SmalltownID

    Thanks for defining the myopic view of athleticism. I find it funny how ppl call someone athletic that can touch the rim flat-footed yet can’t make a shot 6 feet from the basket. If you lack skill it is a paradox to call someone athletic. I guess Olynyk is the opposite of that paradox. Although for 7 feet I wouldn’t call him slow either. Akmost No 7 footers have crazy verticals so the point is moot about lacking athleticism.

  • Daniel in LA

    I keep reading Melo/Iverson and thinking Denver Nuggets with Carmelo and Allen Iverson….

    If we're tanking anyways, lets make it an entertaining season and pick up Allen Iverson and Jason Williams (anyone see his China highlights?? He can still BALL!)

    Who said tankapalooza had to be boring?

  • Celtic

    I liked Hill. I wished they gave him more playing time.

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