The Celtics wrapped up in Orlando last week and are headed right back into games this week in Las Vegas. So sort of like a mini-lockout-shortened season for the rookies and young players. (Side note: anyone else looking forward to not hearing the terms "lockout" or "lockout shortened" for a long time?)
Here is a smattering of stories kicking off the Vegas portion of our summer.
First, Dionte Christmas was originally supposed to shift to Houston's summer league team in Vegas, but he seems to have enjoyed his time with the Celtics and will stick with us this week. And perhaps longer?
The 6-foot-5 guard from Temple is not locked into the regular Celtics training camp, but he’d like to play his way into some sort of financial offer from the club to get him there. "As of right now, they’re still having conversations with my agent," he said. "Hopefully they’re good conversations, and hopefully I can get an invite or a little more than that. They said they’re going to keep in touch with my agent, and hopefully they can get some things together."
On a less positive note, Fab Melo had a few impressive blocked shots and the occasional dunk, but otherwise wasn't exactly a standout in Orlando. I'm not going to wear out my "Jump To Conclusions" mat (from Office Space) but some might opine that Melo might be served well by a season getting more seasoned.
"Fab, this is only his sixth year of playing, but he’s getting better [learning] out of timeouts," summer league coach Tyronn Lue said. "His conditioning, I guess at Syracuse they were playing zone the whole time so he would just stay in the middle of the lane. Here, there’s multiple things you have to do, so I think his wind and conditioning is a factor. But he’ll be OK."
Finally, even our draft slipping stud of a power forward has had to adjust his mind and internal clock to the NBA game.
"The thing in the NBA is that if you have a play that doesn’t work, you go straight into a pick and roll," he said. "In college, you have so much more time to run another set. So you’ve just got to be on your toes here. "There were times in the first couple of games where I was just sitting down on the block and trying to catch the ball there. But when there’s 10 seconds to go on the (shot) clock, you have to do something else and do it quick. I know now that if something breaks down, the best thing you can do is sprint to a pick-and-roll."
We've got another week to look at these kids and the limitations of small sample size is reduced the more you see these kids play. For example, Moore looked may have had the occasional bad half or quarter, but that didn't stop him from having a very solid summer league in Orlando. He may be playing himself into the conversation at backup point guard - where he wasn't really even considered last year.
So we get another week of basketball. This is a good thing methinks.