3 thoughts from Boston’s first Summer League game as Celtics lose 88-78

The Boston Celtics started the Las Vegas Summer League on Saturday afternoon with a loss to the Miami Heat. It was a high-profile affair with Jayson Tatum, Tyler Herro and many others in attendance, but the Summer Celtics ultimately failed to secure a win. Miami’s Mychal Mulder stole the show, leading all scorers by 23 points.

The Celtics will have a few more games in Las Vegas to showcase their youngsters and try out a few more who may be vying for a coveted roster spot. You can view the full Boston Celtics Summer League schedule here.

With a contest in the book, let’s summarize what we may have learned. Here are three thoughts on our first look at the Summer Celtics.

Mfiondu Kabengele could be real

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Miami Heat center Bryson Williams (58) shoots against Boston Celtics center Mfiondu Kabengele (28) during an NBA Summer League game at the Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Boston is looking for another big player to add to the club’s frontcourt rotation. Perhaps they use one of the club’s many TPEs. Maybe sign an old friend in Aron Baynes. Or maybe they have a high profile big game in Las Vegas this summer.

Mfiondu Kabengele certainly looked like a man aiming for a spot in the regular-season squad. Against Miami in the club’s first Summer League game, the Canadian native did not disappoint. Kabengele finished the game with 14 points, six rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes of play.

Boston’s Summer League Front Court looked promising. While Kabenegele’s combination of athleticism and touch really impressed, Trevion Williams was also able to influence the game at a high level.

JD Davison is worth seeing

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics guard Juhann Begarin (45) dribbles in front of Miami Heat center Orlando Robinson (59) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Miami Heat forward Haywood Highsmith (24) defends against Boston Celtics guard Juhann Begarin (45) during an NBA Summer League game at the Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics center Mfiondu Kabengele (28) shoots over Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic (5) during an NBA Summer League game at the Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics center Mfiondu Kabengele (28) does a dive against the Miami Heat during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics guard JD Davison, 20, looks to shoot against the Miami Heat during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics guard Juhann Begarin, 45, shoots against the Miami Heat during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Miami Heat guard Jamaree Bouyea (52) attempts to tip a pass away for Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser (30) during an NBA Summer League game at the Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics center Trevion Williams (50) is pictured during an NBA Summer League game against the Miami Heat at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics center Trevion Williams (50) shoots against Miami Heat guard Marcus Garrett (0) during an NBA Summer League game at the Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser (30) dribbles in front of Miami Heat guard Jamaree Bouyea (52) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics guard Brodric Thomas (97) dribbles against Miami Heat guard Marcus Garrett (0) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics guard Juhann Begarin (45) shoots against Miami Heat guard Mychal Mulder (12) during an NBA Summer League game at the Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Boston’s only draft pick from the 2022 NBA draft has rightly caused a bit of a stir in Vegas. JD Davison certainly looked a little rough in first action for the Summer Celtics, which is to be expected given his player profile.

He finished the game with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Davison publicized his presence as best he could, and he played a lot with the ball for Boston. He limped back from a layup late in the fourth quarter, although it appeared he hadn’t escaped serious injury.

Just prior to the opening tip, Davison signed a two-way deal with the team. He told reporters after the game that he was still looking for a full regular-season contract.

Sam Hauser needs to hone his leadership skills

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Miami Heat guard Kyle Allman Jr. (50) is brought down by Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser (30) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Among the many names and faces suited to Boston in Las Vegas, Sam Hauser might stand out. He is the Summer Celtics’ elder statesman and has a guaranteed contract for next year. He was a bit of an orchid against the heat.

By taking some measures, Hauser has little to prove. The Summer League really isn’t a showcase for players who are already under contract. There are other guys wearing green in Vegas, and there’s more at stake.

At the same time, both head coach Ime Udoka and Brad Stevens, president of the basketball department, were present on Saturday. Hauser’s reluctance to really get involved in the game was pretty clear. Yes, he has training camps and beyond to really get going. But with the Celtics trailing all game, it felt like Boston benefitted from a touch of veteran attitude.

With Payton Pritchard keep watchingHauser seems to need everything to really stand out as a roleplayer with a somewhat limited bag off the bench.

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