Final Summer League Musings
Posted by Brendan Jackson on Jul 11, 2009
Includes some potential signings, some free agent food for thought, and a final response to Dante and Galante:
Note: Yesterday I miscounted the number of players the Celtics had under contract and wrote that we had 13 players under contract when we only have 11. My bad. But, it does give the Celtics more wiggle room to tweak their roster, but remember, they’re already over the salary cap so rounding out a roster to 15 players would have to be on the cheap. Props to Paul and his smugness for catching it.
Another summer, another four games in the books and the Celtics have shown that they have a plethora of young talent with hardly any roster spots available. In a perfect world the NBDL would be like Minor League Baseball. Especially with the two new teams starting up in New England, the Springfield Armor and Maine Red Claws. It would be amazing to field a team of Robert Swift, Michael Sweetney, Nick Fazekas, Coby Karl, Chris Lofton, and alternate between J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker, depending on whose playing well. Imagine a world where Eddie House gets injured and the Celts promote Chris Lofton- or Baby goes down and Michael Sweetney comes to Boston to handily fill the void. Imagine what a season of culinary supervision would do to Michael Sweetney. If you haven’t seen this interview yet on HoopsWorld.com, check it out. He’s still a monster and a great basketball player but he just can’t put the fork down.
Alas, not to be, not to be.
As it stands right now, the Celtics hardly have any roster spots to play around with. That could change if they could swing a sign-and-trade for a guy like Jamario Moon, as we reported by Mark Murphy, (h/t: CelticsBlog.com and also commented on by Brian Robb and Zach Lowe). Right now, the Celtics have 11 players under contract for next season. This does not include Glen Davis, Gabe Pruitt, or Lester Hudson. I think the Celtics will end up retaining Baby and pick up Gabe Pruitt’s option for this season. At this point I think he can handle ten minutes a game and will get even better with more playing time. Although I can’t say for certain, I think David Thorpe would agree with me. Here are a collection of his Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 Summer League Tweets about Pruitt:
- Gabe Pruitt has shown some flashes. Walker too. Boston up 44-19 at half.
- Ryan Anderson is the best player on the floor in this game. Pruitt and Karl the next best.
- Pruitt is better now at finishing at the rim.
- Gabe Pruitt just had a great driving dunk. Like yesterday, he shows flashes. Flashes only.
After watching him play this summer I thought Pruitt’s biggest strength was his ability to remain cool and under control. At times, J.R. Giddens played hard but a bit out of control while trying to do too much. Pruitt, while still showing a sense of urgency to make the team, also showed a sense of maturity by doing what was asked of him and predominantly playing facilitator. The few times I saw Pruitt look for his own shot included third option plays and end of shot clock situations- definitely qualities you want in a back up point guard. Instead of stressing out on who the Celtics can sign from the scrap heap (ie: Tyronn Lue, Lindsey Hunter) they should just look in their own gym. At this point, I don’t see any merit in signing back up point guards to ride the bench. Tyronn Lue and Lindsey Hunter saw the floor a combined 9% of last season. To put that number in perspective, it equals the amount of time Pruitt played last season. So just to reiterate, Pruitt was on the court as much as both Lue and Hunter combined. One could argue the quality of these minutes, but I won’t, as I think that’s enough said. Especially since Lue and Hunter are nine and 16 years older than Pruitt, respectively.
Best case scenario, the Celtics resign Glen Davis, pick up Gabe Pruitt‘s option, and give Lester Hudson the Leon Powe treatment. It’s cold, but if the Celtics didn’t offer Powe a contract, and if Hudson is going to miss a significant portion of the season, I can’t see the Celtics extending an offer and wasting a precious roster spot. Davis and Pruitt bring the number up to 13 and if the Celts keep both Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens, that’s 15- roster filled.
The Celtics could free up one more roster spot if a sign-and-trade for Jamario Moon or C.J. Miles were to happen in some combination of a two-for-one (something along the lines of Brian Scalabrine and Tony Allen for Miles or Moon). If the Celtics were to pick up one more player in order to completely fill out their roster, it would undoubtedly be on a summer league flyer, as they’re the cheapest.
Now, short story long, is how this discussion ends up at who the Celtics would sign from Summer League if they could sign someone from Summer League. To put it glibly, the Celtics would most likely base their decision on whether they thought they needed to go big or go small.
If they were to go big, my choice would be between Michael Sweetney or Nick Fazekas. Sweetney didn’t play much because of an aggravated hamstring, but like I wrote before, I believe he’s still got a lot of ballin’ left in him. A more reliable pick is Fazekas. Truly a poor man’s Keith Van Horn, Fazekas can significantly stretch the floor with his deft outside shooting (despite his Summer League three percentage, 29% on 4-14 shooting). The main knock against him is how incredibly slow he is. Admittedly painful to watch at times, Fazekas hasn’t seemed to make is excellent college career catch up to the speed of the NBA. Either Sweetney or Fazekas would need work. Countless hours in Waltham running suicides and doing agility drills. If Sweetney could shed some flab and Fazekas could gain a step, I think either could be a very serviceable NBA player.
If the Celtics were to decide to go small, it’s pretty much between Chris Lofton and Bryan Mullins. Lofton, for the most part, was exciting to watch, especially with how pretty his shot looked. Mullins lived up to his draft “hype” by being a very good on ball defender as well as extremely quick on his feet. I previously wrote that I saw some Jose Juan Barea in Mullins and I think that could potentially be accurate given his quickness, although, I don’t remember seeing him take a single jump shot, which could be cause for concern. The last thing the Celtics need is another point guard without a jump shot. Lofton, on the other hand, had the best shot on the roster, a dynamic 68% from three (13-19). His shooting reminds me a lot of Eddie House but his handle is far superior. If not this year, than the Celtics should definitely keep tabs on him as an inexpensive replacement for House next year, provided we don’t sign him.
While not a point guard or a big man, it should be said that Coby Karl was one of the best players on the Celtics roster. He’s just buried behind Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens. Right now I think Karl is a more complete player than either Giddens or Walker, but at this point I see far more potential in the latter two. I also can’t see the Celtics swapping one or both of these guys for Karl. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Karl in the league next year.
I would be surprised if Robert Swift or Kevin Rogers made any team next year. While Rogers played hard and played well, his play was inconsistent and he made too many bad decisions. The bad decisions included taking too many contested jumpers and trying to muscle up shots that would have been better served passed up. Still, an interesting young player to watch. Swift on the other hand, has really showed that he can’t play in this league. At least right now. He’s painfully slow with little offensive game to speak of, although, he does have a nice left hand under the basket and got a few blocks.
Given Rogers’ hard work and Danny Ainge’s previous affinity for Swift (yet another h/t for the great CelticsBlog.com), I could see any combination of these players invited to the Celtics training camp but by the end, I could see none of them being signed.
Dante and Galante
Now, it has been brought to my attention that the Orlando Summer League announcers Dante Marchitelli and George Galante did not appreciate my post on their commentating and were spreading some pretty vicious rumors about me over the last few broadcasts. I want to clarify some of the things they claimed in order to clear my name.
Clown Shoes. In Friday’s broadcast, Dante used the words “clown shoes” to describe me, which could be referring to a phrase whose definition can be found here and made popular by the Kevin Smith film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but I think it goes much deeper than that. It’s clear that Dante researched and discovered that I have large feet. A genetic condition only made worse when attention is drawn to it. Aside from the ridicule I faced growing up, us with Large Feet Disorder, or LFD, are forced to buy the on-sale team shoes from Eastbay.com that only come in colors that don’t match any other article of clothing we own. Truly a sob-story painted in black and purple.
My Son, Hubert. It is true I do have what was affectionately broadcasted as a “love child” and I’m not ashamed of it. I’m also extremely proud that he has learned how to email and use the internet. I’ve been trying for months to explain the wonders of email and it was nice to hear him surprise me with his accomplishment by defending me on air. We got ice cream to celebrate. Although he did get a few of his facts wrong for it wasn’t a fort out of my mother’s couch cushions from whence he came, it was in fact a futon on rack raisers (part of my sweet stadium seating set up).
My Day. I don’t wake up at 11:30 am and go straight to playing World of Warcraft as Dante asserted. I make sure I’m up by 10:00 in order to catch an hour of Johnny Test on Cartoon Network. After that I certainly don’t play WOW as I don’t like playing against others online. I would rather test myself by playing hours of Shining Force II for my Sega Genesis game console. Then I write for Celtics Hub.
It’s possible I have missed some of the other gems as I had been watching the games with the sound off in order to preserve my sanity. I feel much better now that the record has been set straight. I can only hope that those watching Summer League will read this and get the facts.
Also, if you like the comedic stylings of Dante and Galante, feel free to check out some other annoucers/ radio talk show hosts with a similar sound here and here.