The Boston Celtics’ Las Vegas Summer League schedule has been finalized. The team will participate in three games, with the potential to play in more during the league’s tournament-style playoff. The full schedule is highlighted below:
Saturday July, 8- 8:30pm EDT vs. L.A. Lakers
Sunday July, 9- 8:30pm EDT vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Tuesday July, 11- 6:30pm EDT vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Boston’s first game, against its longtime rival, the Los Angeles Lakers, is the most intriguing of the three matchups. It’ll be a chance to see the number one and two overall picks in the draft go head to head, and the game may serve as a preview of a future in which both franchises sport enough talent to make their rivalry more prevalent in the present day.
The Celtics game with the Sixers will also feature plenty of top young talent, including the third overall pick from this year’s draft, and likely, the first overall pick from the year prior, Ben Simmons. It will further serve as a rematch of the two teams’ pairing in the Utah Summer League earlier in the month.
Boston’s tilt with the Blazers will include fewer high-end prospects, but it won’t be short on first-round selections. Portland owns three such picks in this year’s draft, selecting 15th, 20th, and 26th.
Exactly who will represent the Celtics in these affairs remains to be seen. Boston’s Director of Player Personnel, Austin Ainge, confirmed with the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach that Jaylen Brown, Jordan Mickey, Ante Zizic, and Demetrius Jackson will all play in some capacity.
“I think the young roster guys, I think [coach Brad Stevens] is still deciding exactly on,” Ainge said. “But I think we can expect Demetrius and Jordan, and Jaylen some.”
Abdel Nader, a second-round draft pick a year ago, and the most recent G-League Rookie of the Year, is expected to participate as well, but fellow 2016 draftee Guerschon Yabusele will remain unable to participate, after undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs from his feet.
Yabusele’s absence is significant. There have been no firm decisions on whether or not he will play for the Celtics this season or spend another year developing overseas. Whether or not he joins the team will have ramifications for the rest of the offseason, including how easily Boston can carve out enough salary to offer a max contract in free agency.
The Summer League roster will undoubtedly include a wide range of new faces as well, from whomever the Celtics take with the number-one overall pick down to fringe prospects searching for a way to stick in the NBA. That’s one of the joys of the Summer League. It’s an opportunity for lesser known players to chase their dreams in a tangible way. It’s not particularly likely that a more obscure talent will find his way onto the Celtics roster, but there is always that possibility, and that’s a great reason to watch.