Remember in elementary school when you used to get a progress report card halfway through the school year, just to give your parents an idea of how you were performing? That's essentially what this is. With half of the preseason under wraps, the Boston Celtics only have a 1-3 record, but some players have made huge strides so far. Then again, there are others that need to do a lot of work in the second half of the preseason. Here is a look at how each Celtics player is performing so far:
The Honor Roll
Who is this guy? After three NBA seasons of playing like a "class clown," Crawford has come in as a brand new player, showing a willingness to pass the ball, better decision making, as well as an improved jump shot. Crawford is shooting 58.3 percent from three-point range, and they are not just typical threes; he is attempting bombs from four or five feet behind the arc. It might seem unnecessary to take shots from that far out, but "Steez" is unguardable when attempting shots from there. Consistency will be important going forward, because right now everything is working for him.
After stinking it up with the Brooklyn Nets last year, Wallace looks rejuvenated with the Boston Celtics. Brad Stevens' offense allows Wallace to flourish by allowing forwards to rebound the ball and push it up the floor. He has taken advantage of this system and made some terrific plays in the process, averaging 3 assists and 3 rebounds per game. Most impressive of all is Gerald's hustle. It's only preseason, but he looks determined to prove that he is a quality player, and carve out a significant role in the rotation.
Jared Sullinger: A-
Sullinger is still a little overweight but looks completely recovered from back surgery earlier this year. Sully has come in and averaged an exciting 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds, in only 20.5 minutes per game. He has shown some good power post moves and also a fairly consistent 18-foot jumper. If he can develop his three-point shot and burn some more weight, he could potentially average 18 points and 10 rebounds this season.
Phil Pressey: B+
The rookie point guard out of Missouri has surpassed my expectations so far this preseason. Phil Pressey could occasionally get out of control in college but has played like a veteran so far. He is averaging only 1.3 turnovers to 4.3 assists per game because of his sound decision making and ability to accurately pass the ball. In addition to playing a measured offensive game, Pressey has played hard-nosed man-to-man defense. If this performance continues, I fully expect him to receive playing time from day one of the regular season.
"AB" came into training camp as the starting point guard and has played fairly well offensively. I still believe he lacks true passing instincts, as he often looks indecisive when making a pass. Bradley needs to cut down on his careless turnovers, like some of the weak entry passes he has made. However, his jump shot looks much improved from both the corner-three, and when pulling up from mid-range. As always, Bradley's defense is outstanding. He gets an A for his defense, and a C+ for his offense.
Kelly Olynyk: B-
Despite the fact that Kelly has underwhelmed when scoring the ball, shooting only 43.8 percent from the floor, he has amazed everyone as a passer. At only 22 years old Olynyk already has some of the best instincts on the team. The game seems move slowly for him, since he makes quick, accurate passes in both the half court and in transition. I also think Olynyk's defense has improved since earlier this year when he was still in college. He is moving better laterally and has had good positioning thus far. However, he must better his rebounding, considering he is averaging only 2.8 rebounds per game.
Brandon Bass: C+
One of the few veterans on the Celtics could lose his starting job to a newcomer, as he is playing mediocre basketball right now. Bass is shooting only 43.5 percent and looks less dynamic than both Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. One aspect that Brandon has excelled at is rebounding, since he is currently grabbing 6.3 boards per game. Bass hasn't played badly defensively, but I don't think he has done anything worth noting to warrant a higher grade.
This is a borderline incomplete grade, as Humphries has played only 15.8 minutes per game, but I think I have seen enough of him throughout his career to see that he has developed as a player. Humphries added a mid-range jump shot to his repertoire that has impressed so far. He has also hustled hard on defense, showing a strong ability to close out on the perimeter, as well as bring help from the weak side. However, he has disappointed as a rebounder, which is surprising considering that's his greatest strength. Kris has also missed some easy looks at the rim, though these things should get better as he gets into the groove of the regular season.
The Class Clowns
Courtney Lee: D+
When the Celtics traded for Courtney Lee last summer, I knew we were getting a guy that could knockdown shots from three. Well, I was wrong. This year Lee said he was going to come back as the player he was before, but he hasn't so far. Hopefully Lee is only shaking off the rust from a long offseason, because he must improve in order to receive playing time on this guard-heavy roster.
Jeff Green: D-
If there is one player that has disappointed more than Courtney Lee, it's Jeff Green. The small forward is shooting only 27.5 percent from the floor and 20 percent from three-point-range. He has received plenty of chances too, since he is an integral part of the offense. Jeff is tied for the team lead in shot attempts with 40, but he has hit only 11 of them. Green hasn't been able to get to where he wants on the floor, and has instead thrown up bricks at the rim. He's not really helping in other ways either, since he is only grabbing 1.5 rebounds and dishing out 1.8 assists per game. Despite how badly he has played, there is no reason to give up hope. Jeff Green has received only 23.3 minutes per game, and has proven that he plays much better when receiving heavy minutes. But these grades are based on his performance in the preseason alone, and there has been nothing to get excited about.
The veteran Bogans has only played in 21 minutes in three games and has since injured his thumb. He'll likely miss the rest of the preseason, so we don't know what his role will be until the regular season comes around.
Brooks is only averaging 12.3 minutes per game, so we need to see more of him, despite his attention grabbing 10-point game against the Knicks. Brooks looks good with the ball in isolation, but I am not yet convinced that he fits in Brad Stevens' ball-movement offense.
Based on his performance through four games, Faverani probably deserves a B, but I need to see more of him before I can give a definite grade. Vitor has hustled hard up-and-down the floor in transition, but needs to improve some technical aspects of his game when playing in the half court.
Chris Babb has been lights out from three and could grab the 15th roster spot, but we still need to see more of him before making a fair assessment. And at this point the other camp invites (DeShawn Sims, Damen Bell-Holter, and Kammron Taylor) have received very little playing time.
The leader of the Boston Celtics has obviously yet to play a game because he is still recovering from a torn-ACL. However, he has been a vocal leader off the bench and has played a part in helping develop the games of both Avery Bradley and Phil Pressey.