Celtics Summer League Roundup
Posted by Tom Westerholm on Jul 14, 2013
After beating the Orlando Magic on Friday, the Celtics finished 2-2 at Summer League with 14 points, good for seventh place overall. Go team mediocrity!
We saw a lot of intriguing basketball (note: intriguing basketball, not particularly “good” basketball) over the last week, including some players who might actually make the roster. Let’s work our way through the Summer League roster in order.
Kelly Olynyk: Olynyk’s competition was nowhere near stiff enough for us to get a solid read on what the Celtics have, but at very least, it seems safe to say that Olynyk could be a legitimate starter in the NBA. If you judge athleticism solely by speed and leaping ability, Olynyk is less athletic than many of the players he will face in the pros, but his footwork is extremely advanced for a player his age, and he sees the floor very well for a big man. Summer League announcers, when they weren’t busy discussing roster moves around the NBA instead of the in-game action, brought up the fact that Olynyk was a guard before a late growth spurt, which makes a lot of sense when you watch him play.
This could be a lot of fun.
Fab Melo: He’s a certainty, but few of us are really happy about it. Since he was a first-round pick, Melo is guaranteed through next year when the Celtics have a team-option on his deal. It’s going to take an unforeseen leap for the Celtics to deem him worthy of picking up that option.
That being said, Melo had perhaps the weirdest Summer League of any player. After playing extremely poorly for most of the week, Melo was 4-7 for 11 points and five rebounds in 18 minutes on Friday. He looked more comfortable on offense, and he even scored a couple of times isolated in the post.
I guess my point is that hope is fading in the Fab Melo project, but it hasn’t died quite yet.
Phil Pressey: I wrote at length about Pressey earlier this week, so I won’t belabor the point here. His obvious physical flaws notwithstanding, Pressey was very impressive, and most of us would probably be happy to see him on Boston’s bench next season. Pressey has a training camp spot, and according to ESPN, he is working on a one-year deal with the team.
Colton Iverson: Iverson wasn’t the world-beater his fellow 2013 C’s draftee Olynyk was. But he worked hard, grabbed rebounds, rotated on defense and did what was expected of him offensively. He deserves a year or two in the NBA to show what he can do.
Tony Mitchell: I’m always a little bit leery of the phrase “D-League MVP” because often, the most useful D-League players aren’t MVPs. Rather, they are the kind of players who do one thing VERY well, and thus can fill a void for a team. They grab a lot of rebounds quietly or set good picks in the pick-and-roll. D-League MVPs are usually scorers who are in the D-League for a reason, more ball-dominant and more well-rounded than their D-League counterparts but less good at one particular thing. If a player like Mitchell wants to make a roster as a scorer, going 4-18 from 3-point range in five games is not going to help his cause.
That being said, he got to the free throw line a lot, converted most of his opportunities (12-14 overall) and shot 16-27 from within the arc. Lots of things can throw off a 3-point shot, and an unfamiliar setting (and jangling nerves) are two prime examples.
Tim Abromaitis: Abromaitis worked very hard and had a couple of nice games. But his niche, overall, seemed to be “kick out 3-point shooter,” and once again, 6-21 (.286) just isn’t going to get it done. Abromaitis almost certainly helped his stock overseas, but I have a hard time imagining him getting a training camp invite.
Jayson Granger: It’s really too bad for Granger that the Celtics brought in Pressey, because the C’s — in need of a backup point guard and not particularly worried about being good next year — are the ideal squad for Summer League players. But after Pressey’s performance, there’s very little chance Boston brings in another point guard.
Courtney Fells: Fells had some nice moments and showed some athleticism, but he didn’t quite do enough to get a training camp invite, despite having ample time (20 mpg) to do so.
Lawrence Hill: Hill had a nice showing on Friday and demonstrated a lot of range, providing him some game film to show other teams.
Nolan Smith: Just the worst luck: Smith suffered a grade 2 calf sprain five minutes into the first game on Monday that will sideline him for 6-8 weeks.
Darius Johnson-Odom: Recognizing Boston’s interest in Pressey, DJO made the right decision and bolted for Vegas/Denver’s squad early.
Omar Reed: Much like Hill, Reed hit a bunch of threes and played pretty well in Friday’s somewhat meaningless game.
Eli Holman: I often forgot Holman was on the floor, perhaps because he was often of the floor with some combination of Pressey/Olynyk. Still, it’s not a good sign if you are invisible at Summer League.
We will have plenty more as more players receive their training camp invites. Until then, the Celtics are done playing until training camp, which is just enough time for us to order our customizable Olynyk jerseys.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.