Summer-League Report: vs 76ers. Brown and Simmons Debut.
This was our first chance to see some of these young prospects or to get reacquainted with others. In this game against Philadelphia we were able to see what we can hopefully come to expect from some of these players later this year. This was our first chance to see some of these young prospects or to get reacquainted with others. In this game against Philadelphia we were able to see what we can hopefully come to expect from some of these players later this year.
Its hard to describe how well a lot of these young guards played through box score numbers alone, but while watching the game you could notice many of the points coming inside were of the ball moving fluidly around the perimeter first which led to many dribble drives. The main instigator of this? Terry Rozier. He looked like a veteran out there directing traffic, sailing above people to grab rebounds and quite often using crafty pieces of dribbling or change of pace to get to the rim. He posted a plus/minus off +10 to go along with his 18/6/5 performance and looked like he will be a great fit to fill the hole that Evan Turner has left. His presents was also missed when he left the game the Celtics offence seemed to get stagnant and open looks became harder to find.
Another main beneficiary of this movement was Jalen Brown who seemed to look more and more comfortable as the game went on. At first he looked like the game was going too fast and he was trying to over think, but as the ball was taken out of his hands he seemed to be more comfortable. When he looked to just play his movement off the ball seemed to create better looks for him, which was obvious toward the end of the game when he tried to posterise two Philly defenders in two possessions.
Three point Shooting
The Celtics looked great shooting from behind the arc tonight going 11-22 during the game. R J Hunter and James Young looked to have found their stroke going a combined 5-8 on threes and Terry Rozier seemed to have found money, going 2-4. With the Celtics notoriously bad at shooting threes, this can give the coaches some confidence that maybe this season we wont rank in the bottom tier for three points made.
Malcolm Miller and Ben Bentil
If you are not familiar with these two names (as I have to admit I wasn’t), you might want to look out for them over the next week or two. Malcolm Miller is an undrafted 6-7 small forward coming out of the Celtics D-league who tonight just looked great. He posted a plus/minus of +20 and did a lot of his work out side the box score numbers. He stuck to his man, boxed out players, cut without the ball and was great on the help defence. If he can be consistent with his shot he may have a chance to be an end of the bench five minute player. Hopefully we get to see a little more burn out of him from the next couple of games to see everything he can do.
Bentil on the other hand is a 6-9 power forward who fell to 51 in the draft and right now it’s hard to see why. His pick and roll/ pick and pop game was fantastic. When he rolls hard he gets a great seal getting in front of his man creating a lane for himself to either finish or follow for the rebound and when he popped out he looked quite comfortable taking a mid range shot. His three point shooting could become a little more consistent but that can develop over time. On defence he was able to help defend because his players didn’t leave the paint but he identified early and looked to make plays, often costing him fouls.
Perhaps it was because our players were undersized (6-9 was our tallest player, Philly had numerous players over 6-10) but our players looked to be out of position on numerous possessions. Players like Yabusele and Bentil got caught out numerous times ball watching and our guards need to be able to hunt down the long rebounds after forced bad possessions. With Celtics new acquisition of Horford the bigs need to make sure they don’t get caught out of position.
Finishing in the Paint
The decision making of the guards once they got inside was poor to say the least. Our guards need to get better at absorbing contact and finishing in the paint. Not only that, if they can’t finish players need to be able to pass out of it more consistently, also shooters need to relocate to places where our guards can get the ball. Too many times guards got caught in the air with no where to go and when the bigs collapsed to the paint quite often it lead to either blocks or turnovers.
Back door cuts killed them early this and the main culprits, R J Hunter and James Young. These guys got caught ball watching too many times and had come across the lane to try help in the paint then when they kicked the ball out they were too deep to try and couldn’t close out. This could have just been rust after not playing for a while but these two players have done this for numerous years and need to get better. Also, the pick and roll game killed them when they didn’t communicate the switch or to stick.
Yabusele looks like the second coming of Jared Sullinger, he is a ground bound big who looks to have good footwork around the rim and with his long arms he can get into good position on defense. He also runs the floor well for someone who looks to be 270 pounds, apparently he lost 25 pounds before summer league but will need to get a lot fitter before the season rolls around. The second rounder from last year Marcus Thornton needs to work on his vision throwing some careless passes and might need some time in the D-league to get a little more keyed in. It’s just one game but there are some real positives to get out of this game, hopefully the games and players improve from this and put on a real show in Vegas.
AUTHOR: Haitham Winterbottom (@haitham_winters)