It’s Summer League time!
The Celtics don’t have any shiny new lottery picks to showcase, but this year’s talent pool has some intriguing storylines nonetheless. Outside of the familiar names, the team will have players ranging from journeymen who are playing for another European contract to young players who are NBA players that just fell through the cracks.
From end of the bench guys trying to show their improvements to castaways trying to break into the league, I present to you, the Boston Celtics Summer League team!
Kadeem Allen - Maine Red Claws
The theme for Kadeem Allen is proving that he’s an improved shooter and that he can run an offense. The 25-year-old guard is a little old for a sophomore which means his opportunities will be very limited. He’ll get a chance to run the offense and showcase his playmaking ability. His defense has been stellar, but he’s nearing the point where if he doesn’t prove he can shoot or be a lead ball-handler his best opportunities might come overseas.
Justin Bibbs- Virginia Tech
I’m calling my shot. I think Bibbs is going to be on an NBA team when it’s all set and done. The drawbacks with him are that he’s a 4-year guy from Virginia Tech that never really had the statistical jump that normally comes with being an experienced player. He’s a little on the slim side at 211 lbs, and he’s going to have to prove he can effectively score on NBA athletes. But he’s a deadeye shooter who’s a career 42.4% from three and was 3rd in the ACC in overall effective field goal percentage this year (59.1%). In a league that puts a premium on shooting, a specialist like Bibbs will have a home, he just has to show it’s translatable on a professional stage.
Jabari Bird - Maine Red Claws/Boston Celtics
Bird turned some heads near the end of last year by showing an ability to defend, move effectively off-ball, and play above the rim. He’s a restricted free agent that will need to prove he can shoot efficiently both from beyond the arc and the free throw line. Like Allen, Bird is a little on the old side so if he wants teams to give him strong offers, he has to show that he has some untapped potential.
Trey Davis - Maine Red Claws
The UMass product is mostly known at his time at the local school, but he has a big opportunity to showcase his game with a late invite to Vegas. The 25-year old has torn it up in the G-League and recently set a Maine Red Claw record with 57 points in a game. He’s a 38% shooter on a little over 5 attempts a game and he’ll get a chance to show the Celtics and 29 other teams how limitless his range is. At 6’0 and only 180 lbs, he isn’t the most versatile guy defensively and will be limited to defending lead guards. If he can go to Vegas and show he’s a dead-eye shooter who can actually run an offense, the chances of finding a home professionally in the NBA or overseas will be high.
Pierria Henry - Eurocup
Henry is another intriguing prospect who at 6’4 has stat stuffer potential. During last year’s Euro Cup, the 25-year-old guard averaged 10.9 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.5 rpg and shot 42.9% from three on 2.1 attempts. Henry’s path to a professional career is to show he can defend multiple positions and play on or off the ball. The usual problem with players like Henry is that they usually can only be effective with the ball in their hands and aren’t good enough to warrant such high-usage. It’ll be Henry’s job to showcase his versatility.
Daniel Dixon - Maine Red Claws
Dixion is a 6’6 guard at 210 lbs who isn’t afraid to let it fly. The Red Claw shot 35.1% from three on 7 attempts but shot 45% from the corner. He showcased some playmaking ability with the ball in his hands and was able to show he can be a strong spacer off the floor. At 24 years old, Dixon is only a year removed from school and will be looking to showcase an ability to play both on and off the ball. His wingspan isn’t great (6’6) and with his frame, there are concerns how versatile of a defender he can be despite his height. Dixon will have a lot to prove on both ends of the floor, but a good showing could put him in contention to get a professional contract.
Demitrius Conger - LIGA ACB
Conger is our first journeyman. He’s had a couple call-ups to the league from the Wizards and the Hawks but nothing has really materialized. He looks the part at 6’6 with a 6’11 wingspan and has some intriguing defensive potential. In the Liga ACB, he averaged 9.9 ppg, 1.2 apg, 2.7 rpg and shot 44.4% from three on 2.1 attempts. If he can prove to teams that he can fit into a “3 and D” role, he could get himself a camp invite.
Jarell Eddie - Windy City Bulls
Eddie is a familiar name who just recently got a call-up from the Celtics this year. They’re intrigued with his shooting and his 44% shooting on 8 attempts will wake anyone up, but he has to show he can defend if he wants to get on someone’s roster.
Hassan Martin - Ryukyu Golden Kings
Martin is maybe the most intriguing guy on the team. He’s 6’7, has a 6’11 wingspan, weighs 240 lbs, and has hands that measure at 10.5 inches which are bigger than Kawhi Leonard. He was part of the Rhode Island team that went back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since Lamar Odom was on the team, and he has only been playing basketball for about seven years. Martin has a big man’s game and he loves playing on the block and punishing people with his strength. He’s an above the rim threat too, boasting a 38 inch vertical. After going undrafted he went to over to Japan B-1 league to play for the Ryukyu Golden Kings where he averaged 15.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg and shot 67.6% from the field while leading helping the Golden Kings become one of the best defensive teams in the league.
Back in Rhode Island, he was the back to back defensive player of the year at the Atlantic 10, and he has the size to virtually guard all five positions. Offensively, Martin needs to show added ball-handling, passing ability, and ability to consistently hit 15-footers out of pick-and-pop situations if he wants to get any serious looks. He’s still young enough for a team to see potential in him, but he needs to show that the year away from the States helped him improve his game.
Semi Ojeleye - Boston Celtics
At this stage, the biggest thing for Ojeleye will be showing that he’s comfortable shooting from the NBA 3-point line and that he has an ability to attack closeouts effectively. He defends at a high level and the fact that Stevens trusted him in the playoffs to defend Giannis Antetokounmpo says it all. There’s going to be a lot of opportunity for rotation minutes on this Celtics team and though Ojeleye was able to play 73 games this year, he could just as easily find himself on the bench if he doesn’t show he can be an effective shooter.
Guerschon Yabusele - Maine Red Claws
Yabusele is a big who will need to show that he can stretch the floor, rebound, run the floor, and potentially show some potential as an elbow passer. Like Ojeleye, a role is not guaranteed for Yabusele if he doesn’t show improvement. The Celtics front court is packed with Horford, Baynes, Williams, and Theis. Yabusele showcasing things like passing, shooting, and defense will help when it comes time for Stevens to decide who to put in with the second unit. Versatility is the name of the game, and the more you can do, the higher the chances you have of playing.
Robert Williams III - Texas A&M
Williams has not had a good start to his Celtics career after missing the first team practice, but he has a chance to make everyone forget about it. Williams is uniquely set up to have a role on this Summer League team as well as the main club because of his above the rim ability and defensive upside that led to him becoming a two-time Defensive Player of the Year in the SEC. Stevens has noted that he thinks Williams may have some potential as a passer and shooter so it’ll be interesting if we see Williams get some opportunities to make some plays from the elbow along with a heavy dose of pick-and-roll.
Jarrod Uthoff - Raptors 905
Uthoff is the classic case of “good enough to kill it in the G-league, not good enough to make it in the league.” At 220 lbs, Uthoff is very small for a big and he doesn’t make up for it with lateral quickness to survive on the perimeter. He can shoot it, (38.1% from three on 4.8 attempts), and he’s a pretty strong rebounder (8.4 rpg), but he’s a guy who should be open to securing an overseas contract.