Celtics have a leg up on the summer league competition
Before the game started, Danny Ainge was spotted with Daryl Morey and Kevin McHale. My mind started racing. What were they talking about? Is a sign-and-trade for Courtney Lee in play? Odds are, we probably won't know anything until the Rockets deal with their offer sheet to Omer Asik, but if Danny was auditioning E`Twaun Moore and JuJaun Johnson for a possible trade, they put on a show.
E`Twaun came out on fire hitting pull up jumpers and even showed some game in the post. He had his in-between floater working and torched the Bulls when they lay off him. I made a comparison between him and Delonte West yesterday, but could his ceiling be closer to one of his newest teammates in Jason Terry? Both can score from all different spots on the floor and more importantly, both play with poise and patience. The win-now Celtics might not have time for E`Twaun to develop and mature into a contributor, so I can see Danny trying to package him in a deal, but if he doesn't, I wouldn't mind seeing Doc give E`Twaun some playing time. He's clearly benefited from his time around the vets last season and he carries himself like a guy that's been in the league for years.
Moore's game helped JaJuan a lot. They worked off each other a lot, and with E`Twaun's jumper going down, defenders shaded over towards him and that left JJJ open at the top of the key. It looked a lot like Rondo and Bass in the Sixers series. I've been saying it since the team started in Orlando: JJJ is not a ball dominant player that can create his own shot and create for his teammates. He's much better as a complimentary piece. Tonight, he had trouble establishing himself on the low block, but was 3-6 on a series of pick-and-pops with his fellow Purdue teammate. He pulled down 12 rebounds and challenged a lot of shots around the rim. During his time with the broadcast team on NBATV, Danny talked some about moving JJJ to small forward because of his ability to shoot and defend smaller players. He'll need to show more aggressiveness putting the ball on the floor and driving to the basket, but more and more, it's looking like that's going to be a more comfortable position for him at the 3. The problem is, he's just as far from being KG 2.0 as he is from being KD 2.0.
Jared Sullinger had an off night, shooting only 3-15 from the field. He looked a little gassed tonight with less lift than he normal has and that's not much. He did grab 14 rebounds and block two shots, so even when he was struggling, he found a way to contribute. I hate to be the Debbie Downer of the Sullinger bandwagon, but I'm really concerned about with his ability to finish. He's now a combined 24-68 in six games. Your power forward should not be shooting 35% from the field. The schedule has been brutal so some of this can be attributed to fatigue, but come November, he's going to be facing even bigger and faster competition. August and September are typically dark months for the NBA media so we won't be able to see Sullinger's improvement in terms of conditioning, but he needs to really be in tip top shape before training camp. Doc's notorious for running his players into the ground and I'd hate to see Sullinger start off on the wrong foot.
Fab Melo continues to be an enigma; he played in a couple short bursts against Chicago and showed flashes of potential like he has all summer league. He drew a charge with his agile footwork and almost got another but his heels were in the restricted area. Ainge noted Melo's work ethic and coachability, qualities that will certainly enamor him to Professor Garnett. Kris Joseph hyperextended his left knee and had to sit out the second half. It sounds like a little tweak and tomorrow's off day will help.