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Who are the most important Celtics: the unknowns

2017 Las Vegas Summer League - Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

10. Semi Ojeleye

Ojeleye has quickly turned into a fan favorite for his huge biceps, awesome name, and potential as a two-way player. Semi’s performance on the defensive end was impressive enough for Brad Stevens to comment that there may be a role for the 2nd-round pick in year one. Ojeleye was an elite 3-point shooter in college, averaging 42.4% from three on 4.2 attempts per game. If he can stretch the floor and show that he can defend wings and bigs, it’ll be hard for Stevens to keep him off the floor.

11. Guerschon Yabusele

I’ve lowered expectations a lot for the Dancing Bear since watching him in the G-league because I'm worried about how he defends at the next level. That said, he’s super nimble, has some range, is very athletic for his size, and could very well turn into a reliable small-ball 5 defender in limited minutes. I just have to see it before I believe it.

12. The 15th spot

This could be higher on the list, but a lot of it depends on who we pick up and what we’re trying to address. Keith Smith laid out a comprehensive for CelticsBlog here, and as you can see, the list isn’t exactly inspiring. The Celtics have already been linked to Thomas Robinson and Andrew Bogut, so it appears that they’re looking to add more size down low. However, I think a dark-horse candidate could be 35-year-old vet Boris Diaw. I like him for a couple of reasons. First, what Diaw doesn’t have in size he has in IQ. Coming in for limited minutes in the second unit and helping run the offense would be a welcome addition for a team that’s trying to incorporate a selfless brand of basketball to a lot of new players. Second, because both Diaw and Yabusele have the French connection there’s the potential that he would take Yabusele under his wing and help him see the game at a deeper level. Maybe the mentor stuff is overblown a bit when analyzing veteran impact, but I think when you have such a new team, getting veteran guys who are happy to cheer and mentor younger players can be more useful than an individual who may be more talented, but also more interested in getting their numbers so they can get a long-term contract.

13. Shane Larkin

This is probably a slightly conservative ranking. Larkin could very well end up getting rotation minutes if an injury happens to Irving, Rozier, or Smart. He could also get the nod if Rozier just doesn’t take the leap that we’re all expecting. Overseas, Larkin showed he could shoot, get to the rim, and be a willing defender. Of course, that was at a lower level of competition, but he’ll come into camp hungry for an opportunity to show he belongs and could very well play himself on the court.

14. Daniel Theis

Theis is largely an unknown commodity. What we do know is that he’s a high-energy big that gets up and down the court, bangs with post players, and battles for rebounds the best he can. Those skills are transferable on just about any level because they rely heavily on effort and timing. Theis’s long wingspan, high energy, and willingness to battle down low could be his way to carve out a roll. However, a lot of that depends on what the Celtics get from Yabusele, Ojeleye, and whoever they get with the 15th spot.

15. Abdel Nader

For the second summer league in a row Nader showed he can shoot, attack closeouts, and potentially become a defender. Because of the versatility of the players in front of him, I’m not sure there’s a scenario where I see him having legitimate minutes unless we’re talking Gino time or the injury bug destroys our season. But hey, Gerald Green started playoff games for us, so anything is possible.