Before tonight’s rematch with the Toronto Raptors, the junior Celtics--Boston’s G-League team, the Maine Red Claws, up in Portland--faced off against Toronto’s JV squad. Last night’s starting lineup for the Red Claws had a unique distinction. All five players are under contract with their NBA affiliate: Brad Wanamaker, Robert Williams III, Guerschon Yabusele, and two-way players P.J. Dozier and Walt Lemon Jr.. All five players showed out in Maine, but the Red Claws lost a close one to the Raptors 905, 108-104.
Williams finished with 16 points, 8 rebounds, and two blocks. For Williams, these reps are important. While the offenses and defensive schemes aren’t as sophisticated as in the NBA, there are basic Celtics habits that he needs to become familiar with: how to defend the pick-and-roll, who does he rotate to in a pick-and-pop switch, etc. This trips to Portland are an extension of his sophomore season at Texas A&M with a major in The Celtics Way.
After combining for less than ten minutes played, Wanamaker and Yabusele also got a good run in up north. Wanamaker lead the Red Claws with 20 points and an all-around game, chipping in four assists, hitting two threes, and grabbing two steals. In 27 minutes, Yabu fouled out of the game with 16 points.
For what it’s worth, in fourteen games last year, Yabu averaged just over 35 minutes in Red Claw red and put up robust numbers of 20 points and 8 rebounds a night. He got up a ton of threes and saw hundreds of PnR’s from the baseline. Yabusele’s time in Maine may be a precursor for Williams as the season progresses. With Daniel Theis healthy and Marcus Morris playing some 5, Williams’ utility on the big club as a fifth big on the bench may not benefit his development as a full complement of minutes in the G-League.