Sullinger takes it to the hoop - photo credit Alexander Young (LolaSportsTalk)
Some impressions from the Celtics' first win in Vegas summer league:
It's finally dawned on me who E`Twaun Moore reminds me of: Delonte West. Oh, and I love Delonte West. He's just one of those "do everything" guards that can score from anywhere. He was good again today, just taking what the defense was giving him. He's been great on defense and it will be interesting to see how he matches up against Jimmy Butler and Marquis Teague of the Bulls, Jimmer Fredette of the Kings, Doron Lambs of the Bucks, and Eric Bledsoe of the Clippers later in the week.
The big question mark is how Dionte Christmas' good performance so far affects Danny's plans, if at all. Could Christmas take Moore's spot as a project guard for the Celtics? Could Moore's performance over the last six days plus his very cheap manageable contract be attracted in a sign-and-trade? What about Kris Joseph? All three of these guys have played solid enough to earn training camp invites and with Avery Bradley possibly missing the first month of the regular season after shoulder surgery, there could be some playing time as a fourth guard in Doc's rotation.
JaJuan Johnson was sleep walking today. He didn't get a lot of touches on the offensive end, but he didn't seem that active on the boards either. I still think JJJ's best attribute is as a finisher and a weak side help defender. He'll never be the focal point of an offense or an anchor on defense, but as a complimentary player to a team full of stars, he'll be fine. His closest competition on the team is Sean Williams, but because JJJ has that Chief-esque jump shot, he's a little more valuable. The summer league is dominated by players that can create off the dribble or score in the post, so I'll give him a mulligan for today's effort. The Celtics shot a lot of jump shots today and that didn't give JaJuan an opportunity to catch and shoot or crash the boards.
Last week, everybody raved about Jared Sullinger, but I'm starting to get those same frustrations with him that I had with Big Baby. My concern is that in the NBA, he's going to have to finish over length and he's not going to be able to go through players like he did in two years at Ohio State and through summer league play. Thankfully, he's got that consistent jumper and even hit a spot up three pointer today. He still looks like the steal of the draft, but there's a lot of room for improvement. He's set the bar pretty high by making comparisons to Kevin Love and let's just hope that he lives up to that hype. We haven't seen him pass as much over the last couple of games, opting instead to force the issue and either get blocked or go to the line. In the final four games of summer league, I'd like to see him more as a playmaker and create opportunities for Johnson and Melo.
Fab Melo showed some flashes of why Danny loves the Brazilian. In the first half alone, he had a sweet touch pass to Sean Williams for a dunk, drew a charge, showed some agile footwork with a hop step on the break, and hit a long fadeaway jumper to close the second quarter. Maybe every NBA player should look into an off-season regiment of soccer. When this kid gets more comfortable with the timing of the NBA, he's going to be a very good shot blocker. Right now, I find myself yelling "DON'T REACH! DON'T SWING YOUR ARMS!" when I can tell Melo is trying to anticipate a shot and winding up for a block. He seems so keyed in on getting a hand on the ball when simply challenging the shot will do.