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Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Boston Celtics claimed a 95-82 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, improving to 3-0 at Summer League.
Here are five things we learned.
1. Carsen Edwards continued to impress as a tough shot-maker, burying a variety of contested jumpers and getting into the paint against Denver’s defense to post 23 points. Continued progress as a passer would likely lock in more consistent minutes once the regular season rolls around, but Brad Stevens — in a press conference before the game — noted that Edwards may already be in line to contribute when the games count…
3. Grant Williams continues to simply make the Celtics better whenever he’s on the court — he once again led the team in plus/minus with +19. Williams’ perimeter defense is particularly important — he understands angles well, and he’s strong enough to re-direct drives…
4. Teams seem to be getting sick of Tacko Fall’s ability to just catch the ball high above them all and dunk it. The Nuggets were extremely physical with the big man on both ends, and it seemed to work to an extent. When the Nuggets sent him to the line, Fall continued to struggle — he doesn’t have much touch from the line, which should be a point of emphasis for him, since he will likely be at the line quite a bit.
After another W in Vegas last night, the Summer Celtics have shot out the gate and have ripped off three straight wins to start their campaign. This team (specifically, known wrecking ball Grant Williams) has been very vocal about their desire to take home a Summer League title and they’re on the right track.
I would like to start by saying that Carsen Edwards has stolen my heart. I’m not sure if he’ll be able to cook like he’s been in Vegas in the regular season, but it’s a welcome sign. Edwards has always been a gamer and as we saw in the NCAA Tournament, he shows up when it matters. After pouring in another 23 points he’s up to 19.0 ppg on a smoldering 54% from the floor in 3 games. With the Celtic bench being in the state that it is, having Edwards available as a microwave type scorer off of it could be huge for this team. They haven’t really had many “instant offense” type role players in the Brad Stevens Era but Edwards fits the bill as just that. He’s a bulldog and if he can defend, he will be in the rotation, and we will see a lot of him.
Speaking of guys who we’ll see a lot of this coming season, Grant Williams continues to impress on both sides of the ball. He scored 16 points while hauling in 8 rebounds and showed his worth as the team was firing on all cylinders with him out there. While the numbers haven’t always jumped off the page for Williams, he’s been incredibly productive while on the court. Last night he also improved to a +57 overall in three games this summer. +/- is a deceptive stat at times and can be taken with a grain of salt in many instances but this isn’t one of them. The game is always effected in a positive way whenever he’s on the court. He’s been the most vocal guy out there, brings energy, leads by example, and just plays the game the right way. He hasn’t shot the lights out from downtown (3-11) but the form is there and he gets it off quickly. This potential to stretch the floor is a nice change of pace from the rest of his skill set and it’s something he’ll be sure to work on as time goes on.
As a fan of Weird Celtics Twitter and all, I get the allure of Yabu, and think he’s entertaining in regards to his regular shenanigans. It pains me to say this, but to be frank, he’s useless and he kind of stinks. He didn’t suit up last night but maybe that was a good thing. He fades into the crowd in Summer League and if he can’t even produce on this stage, there’s no reason to believe he’ll do it in real NBA games.
The man that should assume that roster position is the enigma, Tacko Fall. The big (big is an understatement) man posted a mere 4 points and 4 rebounds but once again showed why he deserves a chance at cracking the Celtic roster. For a man his size, he really moves well and it’s something I didn’t expect coming into Summer League. The college game is a bit more condensed so we never really got to see him move much outside of the half-court. He can get up and down the court and his defensive slides/intuition have been sound so far. He’s able to alter shots in the paint and his only real Achilles heel is at the free throw stripe.
He shot an abysmal 43.2% in college and if he’s going to see any sort of playing time, that’s going to have to improve. Teams will pick on him and he’ll be a liability if he cannot knock down at least 50% of his free throws. Stevens is probably fawning over Fall and I can only imagine what sort of ideas he’s come up with in terms of how they can use him. He’s worth a roster spot on his ability to defend inbound passes alone and it’s a worthwhile gamble for the Celtics if they do decide to sign him outright.
Lastly, Tremont Waters had another impressive showing after inking a 2-way deal with the Celtics earlier in the evening.
He posted 12 points 5 assists, and 2 steals last night and was able to push the tempo when he needed to. He’s explosive for a player at his stature and at times has caught defenders off guard with his agility. The game comes naturally to him and he’s one of the smoothest cats I’ve seen in Summer League. It seems like he always makes the right pass and some of the reads he’s been able to make so far have been impressive as he’s able to make his teammates better. He’ll get a shot in this league and is someone I’m sure the Celtics are excited about heading into the season.
Part 2…Where Brad Stevens isn’t giving out any bulletin board material.
He touched on several topics, including the departure of Irving, which by most accounts was not an amicable parting of the ways.
When asked if there was anything he in hindsight felt he could have done for a different outcome, Stevens responded, “I don’t know if there’s anything anyone individually necessarily feels like they should have done or could have done [to keep Irving]. That’s part of free agency. You can go wherever you want.”
Stevens added, “I enjoyed Kyrie; I like Kyrie. I wish him nothing but health and success.”…
“Anytime you go through a year like we went through where you don’t necessarily meet expectations…There’s probably going to be some change. And I don’t fault him one bit for choosing to follow whatever he wants to do; that’s his right.”
I’m not really sure if Brad giving out bulletin board material really matters cause there’s a great chance Kyrie Irving has no clue what the internet even is, but still. Why is there a need to pepper Stevens with Kyrie questions? If you’ve learned anything about Stevens in his 5+ years here, you’ll know he’s extremely complimentary of literally everyone and he’ll never have any ill words towards anybody. I’m sure deep down inside he wanted to say something like: “You would not BELIEVE the gaul out of this guy…to come into my office…and ask me what the word GOVERNMENT meant to me? To me?”
He’s Brad Stevens though, he’ll never rag on any of his players (past or present), and I’m surprised he didn’t just pin it all on himself like he usually does.
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