JD Davison Signs Celtics Two-Way Deal to Battle for Roster Spot

LAS VEGAS – JD Davisons Drafting at #53 brought about the least amount of pressure imaginable from a prospect who fell this far in the draft. Players picked from that distance usually face a big step up just to make it to the NBA and while Davison has yet to clear that hurdle, Brad Stevens assured that time was on the 19-year-old’s side in choosing him.

“It’s about him getting used to the NBA game,” Stevens said on draft night. “He’s not going to have a ton of pressure, barring anything crazy here, to come in and meet us straight away or move the needle for us straight away. He’ll be able to play for minutes just like everyone else, but at the same time he can grow, develop and focus his attention on improving and that’s a really important place for a young player.”

Davison nonetheless played with the utmost urgency of any Celtics player in Saturday’s 88-78 loss to the Heat to open the Summer League roster. He scored 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting in a game where nearly every Celtic struggled to shoot, but made up for it with six rebounds, six assists and three blocks while holding the ball in over 28 minutes only turned once.

Two of his first plays of the afternoon included Alley-oops to Trevion Williams and Mfiondu Kabengele, while ending the afternoon by shaking off an injury to his right leg after firing two shots in the final minutes. He converted 2-for-5 from three and hit two free throws, showing composure as the Celtics’ lead ball handler by penetrating deep inside Miami’s defense and firing passes.

“I thought that a kid that young playing in his first game had a really nice ground game,” said the head coach Ben Sullivan said CLNS media. “He moved the ball well, he could go downhill, find his teammates and I felt he had good pace and control of his game on offense.”

Davison, who began the afternoon by signing a two-way contract with the team to secure a full roster spot, was prouder of his defensive performances, including a clean streak Kyle Allman jr in the transition to a Juhan Begarin sales at the other end. Davison kept a solid base after allowing an early dribbling through and used his size and strength to prevent baskets even without rim guards inside.

Boston stayed competitive at the back until halftime Matt Ryan, who converted a trio of three and hit three shots at the free-throw line to quickly reach 12 points early in the second quarter. Elsewhere, Davison and his teammates struggled to convert shots, and those problems didn’t escalate until the third quarter when the time came Marcus Garrett, Jamaree Bouyea and Mychal Mulder increased defensive intensity and sent the Heat regulars past the front Tyler Herro on the sidelines in a frenzy as Miami pushed a ball wide Brodrik Thomas.

“(I’ve shown) a lot of my defense, being a dog, just being a dog on the defensive, getting my team involved and also being that leader on the court as a point guard,” Davison said CLNS media. “I think if I keep going I can get better, move my team better and use them in certain places.”

Davison opened the second half looking for his own shot in the alley, missing twice inside and generating free throws in the third. He landed an alley-oop to Begarin and another to Kabengele, then found Trevion Williams in the pocket for a hookshot inside.

The Celtics stayed within eight points of Miami when he was eliminated late in the quarter, then the game faded away in his absence, Davison returning to feed Kabengele for another alley-oop, hitting a three and making his first layup before he ran off the ground holding his right leg. He escaped without major damage, and even in an uneven debut with teammates that he’d only learned days ago, Davison proved a skilled ground general.

Sullivan didn’t teach the Guard anything significant, other than showing a film of some of the Heat’s over-helpliness. Davison picked it up and gave the staff something to work with. Sullivan emphasized that since they start so low on the organizational depth chart, this is the team’s time to grow and advance their own career.

Davison, who told it CLNS media He left Alabama after a year believing in his suitability for the modern NBA and immediately made a name for himself with 15 family members celebrating Letohatchee’s first draft pick.

“He has a certain pace, a shot, but he also has good control of his pick and roll game, a very sophisticated feel for a player this young,” Sullivan said. “He’s just out there figuring it out for himself, and sometimes it looks really good.”

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