It’s a tradition unlike any other – watching Summer League games and evaluating whether or not a player can last in the NBA.
Truthfully, it’s a bit absurd, but at the same time, it’s also a whole lot of fun.
After Victor Wembanyama’s clunker in his first game, NBA fans were convinced he’s destined to be a bust. A few days later, he was back to being worthy of the No. 1 pick and ready for stardom once again.
With that in mind, take all these observations with a grain of salt. Here are five overreactions after two Celtics Summer League games:
Justin Champagnie is a smooooth operator.
Justin Champagnie knows how to hoop. He's crafty, unfazed by the moment and a natural leader.
Multiple times in Sunday’s game, he used the backboard as his friend to more or less throw the ball up to himself, corral it and score at the rim. He’s a creative finisher who can get his shot off at the NBA level.
While it’s unlikely he’ll become part of the rotation this year, he certainly deserves a spot on the squad.
JD Davison has potential, but he has a long way to go.
JD Davison’s talent is obvious. He has supreme leaping ability, is great in transition, has above-average vision and plays hard.
It was a logical pick, and there’s still a solid chance he’ll end up blossoming into a reliable NBA point guard.
Having said that, it’s pretty clear at this point that Davison still has plenty of room to grow. His decision making in the half-court needs some work. The pace of Summer League games seems a bit too fast for him at times, which is concerning given the NBA pace is so much faster.
Davison sees things before they happen, but sometimes he tries to force square pegs into round holes. The simpler pass is often the better one, and he needs to learn that this year. As Brad Stevens would say, “hit singles.”
Jordan Walsh was a good pick.
It’s easy to see what Stevens and Co. like about Walsh.
He can play 2 through 4 without any difficulty and can even play 1 or 5 as needed. He’s long, athletic and rangy, and, most of all, versatile.
Walsh sees the floor better than most rookies. He showed a feathery touch in game one and excelled as a passer in game two. He has a chance to be a 10-5-3 guy in his prime.
He likely won’t be Grant Williams right away, but he could potentially fill Williams’ role in the years to come.
"Not only do they encourage me, they force me to shoot it."#Celtics Rookie Jordan Walsh talks being encouraged to shoot more 3s during Summer League #BleedGreen #NBASummerLeague pic.twitter.com/U0GcwoMMgH— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) July 10, 2023
Jay Scrubb is an NBA player.
Jay Scrubb’s story is awesome. Not many guys go from a junior college Player of the Year to an NBA draft pick.
That in itself is impressive, but it’s abundantly clear that Scrubb believes he’s capable of much more. He has that classic lefty game, where you often know what move and shot are coming but it’s still hard to stop.
Scrubb has a great crossover and silky touch and makes the game look easy. Whether it’s with Boston or elsewhere, there’s a home for him in the league.
Udoka Azubuike should make the roster.
Udoka Azubuike isn’t a perfect player. He’s a bit slow, predictable and robotic in the paint.
But, he’s a legit 6’11, a first-round talent and someone who could fill a role for this Celtics team. The Celtics should continue to explore their backup big options, but Azubuike may end up as the right fit.
He takes high-percentage shots, rebounds effectively and alters shots at the rim with his length. Azubuike is effective at best and serviceable at worst. He’s worth a shot.