The luster of the Celtics’ summer league show is understandably tarnished after an NBA Finals run. The squad isn’t quite armed with the experience of last year’s squad. But there are still some intriguing plays to come as the Celtics Open Summer League play the Heat at 5:30pm on Saturday.
Boston will play a total of five games in Las Vegas. The Celtics did great in last summer’s showcase as they went 4-1 before losing to the Kings in the finals. C’s coach Ime Udoka has decided to take on Ben Sullivan as his coach in Vegas.
The Celtics have already started summer league practice in Boston, but they will now focus on the actual game. Careers aren’t made outside of the Summer League, but the live-game representatives are always beneficial to young players looking to stay in the NBA.
Here are four things to watch at Celtics Summer League games in Las Vegas:
The returnees: The relative headliner for the Celtics Summer League roster is Sam Hauser, who recently re-signed with the team after a solid rookie year. Boston is high above the sophomore as he delivers valuable shots from the wing points. The Celtics are a pretty deep team, but bolstering depth going forward with an undrafted free agent is always a priority. Insert houses.
The other returnee for the Summer League is Juhann Begarin, the 45th pick overall in the 2021 NBA draft. Begarin showed he has NBA physique last summer, but it will be fascinating to see how he’s improved his game, when he played basketball for Paris. Of course, Brodric Thomas and Matt Ryan should also run a lot in the five games. They were Boston’s two-way signers all season. They weren’t able to get dressed during the Celtics final run, but they were there every step of the way. The Celtics have space on their list as these two returnees try to make some noise.
The selection: The Celtics left with a raw but intriguing player when they picked Alabama’s JD Davison 53rd overall in the draft this season. There’s a lot to like about the former five-star recruit, although his game was inconsistent in college. But this late in the draft, there wouldn’t be many surefire prospects. Davison has a lot of shine and he’s a guy that fans will have high hopes for – just like Begarin and Yam Madar from the previous season. If Davison can show a consistent game while throwing in a few highlights, fans should be delighted with that performance.
Interesting players: The Celtics are once again rolling with a relatively small roster compared to some other teams in the league. The 11-man roster allows the C’s to control their minutes and see what they got from the rookies. Boston brought several substitutes to show during Summer League: Jordan Bone, Jericole Hellems, Bryton Hobbs, Mfiondu Kabengele, AJ Reeves and Trevion Williams. Of these players, perhaps Williams stands out the most after a solid Purdue career. He got some love from Sullivan during practice because of his passing and offensive skills.
Fight for a place: Nothing is guaranteed in the Summer League, but the Celtics have some open standard and two-way places on their roster. The Celtics traded their deep bench pieces on the Malcolm Brogdon move, so there are multiple chances for players to gain a foothold with the Cs if they show potential. There’s also a pair of two-way contract slots, which are more of a realistic landing spot for all Summer League players. Regardless, the C’s are in a flexible spot and they will be more than inclined to keep any intriguing young players.