The Celtics enjoyable summer league has come to an end after a nail biting defeat to the Grizzlies. Overall, the week and some change was successful for a Celtics team that had multiple upperclassmen rookies that they drafted with the expectation of imminent contribution. For the most part, they didn’t disappoint. The team ended up losing the beloved Guerschon “Dancing Bear” Yabusele in the process, but just about everyone else impressed during their time in Vegas. Here are some of the takeaways I had:
Carsen Edwards has an NBA role
This one was clear as day from the first game but still worth discussing. Edwards came into the league with questions about his playmaking, minor concerns about finishing at the rim, and the general concerns that come with a guy at his size (measured at 6’1). What nobody questioned was his ability to put the ball in the basket and that’s something he did with ease. He finished his time in Vegas shooting 46.7% from three and averaged 19.4ppg, 3.8rpg, and 1.4apg.
I think the important things about his production was the how whether than the numbers themselves.He showed he can score on or off-ball, that he didn’t need to be the focal point of the offense to produce.
On the other end, Edwards showed he’s a willing defender who’s thick-frame may allow him to defend either backcourt spot at the next-level. Due to the fact that he’ll be asked to do much less than he did in Purdue, he’ll be able to give more of himself on the defensive end. Overall, Edwards introduced the NBA crowd to the scoring potential that made him such a must-watch at the college-level and he left with a brand new 4-year contract. Not too shabby.
I wish Grant Williams was just a liiiiitle bit longer
I was highly impressed with Williams for starters. It was a pleasant surprise to see his confidence and production shooting the ball and he was the most sound positional defender on the team. I also liked his activity on both sides of the blocks where he was able to battle on the boards against bigger defenders and push guys off their spots in potential post-up opportunities. Furthermore, he has some intriguing “grab and go” potential which I hope the team empowers him to do more. My only real nitpicky thing that I’ll harp on is despite his ability to be in position and contest shots well, his limited length didn’t allow him to impact shots in the way his effort deserved and it made me concerned about his small-ball 5 potential (or lack thereof). Otherwise, it was a dominating two-way performance by Williams.
Robert Williams continues to tantalize
Rob had an interesting week. He started slow, missed a game, but really looked his most comfortable against Memphis when he treated the Ivan Rabb-Brandon Clarke duo to 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 assists. It was the type of performance that made one hopeful of Williams doing enough to crack the rotation of the Celtics. Many have already pigeon-holed his game as the rim-running 5 with his value being judged by blocks, rebounds, and alley-oops. In reality, Williams is pretty talented for his size. Some of his skills (ball-handling, shooting) are still at the beginning stages, but one skill that is starting to get some love is his passing ability which looks great when he’s around good spacing. Williams isn’t at the stage where you can play through him at the elbows (miss you Al), but he does have the ability to make some reads off the block which could be really helpful either as another hub on the starting unit or second unit.
Quick Shoutout to Tremont Waters
The chance of Waters getting much playing time during this first year are relatively slim he’s behind roughly 5-6 on the backcourt depth chart and his size really doesn’t allow him for any other role outside of the PG spot. With that being said, he was by far the best decision-maker amongst the Celtics guards and showed some intriguing defensive potential. The road to getting on an NBA floor is just beginning for Waters, but this week really put aside any worries that talent will be the reason he won’t get an opportunity. Continuing to play after the devastating news of his fathers death was the only thing you needed to know about the heart that Waters.
The Tacko Fall week was fun, but…
Fall was a spectacle this week in Vegas. There are very few humans that are 7’7 with an 8’0 wingspan gracing this earth, and even fewer of these outlier mountains are as proportional and fluid as Fall was. Watching him run the floor with such fluidity and dunk the ball without jumping took the internet world by storm. I thought the added spacing would be a negative to Fall and instead it gave him a chance to showcase enough fluidity to intrigue parent club. I mean, he’s not supposed to move like this:
He’s still very raw though. On the block he could do a better job establishing his position so his entry passes don’t always look like a game of monkey in the middle. His timing as a shot-blocker was also a little off for the most part and it seemed like once guys got used to the angles they needed to use he wasn’t able to impact the paint as much as he could. That’s not even getting into his FT attempts in which he pauses at the top of his release point, that’ll need to be hammered out. The question will be whether those kinks can be ironed out and then applied in an NBA context. As of now, his lack of shooting, likely inability to defend on the perimeter, poor vision, etc. are just too rudimentary to be a reliable rotation player at this stage, but his height also gives him the advantage of not needing to be as good as things to still add value.
The road is still long for Tacko, but his week in Vegas showed that he had the type of foundation to potentially grow into an NBA rotation player which wasn’t something that most saw from the undrafted rookie.