The Summer League Celtics are more fun to watch than the real team.
That is a real take floating around that’s…actually probably more accurate than I want to give credit to. Actual NBA basketball is better than the pick-up atmosphere in Las Vegas. But I get the point. These guys look like they actually enjoy each other’s company. Boston has harnessed their camaraderie into a 4-0 record and the number-one seed in the Vegas tournament.
Let’s break down some of the best performers:
Shooting has never been more valuable in the NBA. Teams are more reliant on three’s than ever before. That’s what made Edwards’ slip a little surprising. Here’s what The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor had to say about him in his draft guide:
- Proficient shooter with limitless range off the dribble. He uses an assortment of moves using his tight handle to generate space to launch from anywhere.
- Good shooter off the catch who thrives using screens, and displays the intelligence to move without the ball in space.
- He can change a game with his scoring ability, either fueling a break or generating something out of nothing in the half court; in college, he thrived despite intense defensive attention.
- Short, but stocky: His at-rim finishing numbers aren’t good, but he’s able to get into the lane whenever he pleases thanks to his handle and strong frame.
Turns out you might want to draft a guy that has all of these qualifications. So far Edwards is shooting 48% from three and has a 69 TS%. I am aware that it’s only four games, but let me get excited.
To add to KOC’s scouting report, Edwards’ three-point proficiency acts like a tractor beam. The threat of his shot pulls people out of the lane, which makes it easier for him to get to the basket (especially with a screen). I actually would be shocked if “Arsen” wasn’t getting meaningful minutes by the end of the year. He’s THAT good and he brings a skill Boston desperately needs.
Honestly, I had no idea that Grant would be this type of player. I didn’t get to watch as much college basketball as I wanted to this year so I relied on the draft experts to tell me what I needed to know. All of them had rave reviews of the former Tennessee star, but when you watch highlights his tape doesn’t really pop (that’s the problem with watching highlights).
What I found in short time is “the Manvil” (love this nickname, shouts to Fraiser Ramon) has an extremely high basketball IQ on both ends of the floor. In my opinion it’s his best trait (over his NBA-ready frame). He just knows where to be at all times, which I’m sure will go over well with his head coach.
In four Summer League games Grant Williams has a 127.2 OffRtg and a 89.9 DefRtg, which is a +37.3 NetRtg. That’s elite, folks. He’s a good screener, he boxes out well, he contests shots, all the little things that go unnoticed. As Adam mentioned in this week’s Celtics Beat (which you can listen to at the top of the page) I think he’s a bigger version of Marcus Smart. Someone who makes winning plays that don’t show up in the stat sheet. And like Marcus, he’s going to play right away.
Timelord’s best skill is transcending the fourth dimension. His second best skill is his leaping ability, which allows him to make an impact on both ends of the floor. However we are starting to see a new way Williams can earn more minutes in the rotation: his passing ability.
Anyone that watched Robert in college will tell you it’s always been there. Via The Stepien:
“Quietly sound passer. Game has slowed down considerably for him this season. Should be able to make short-roll reads and execute some tough passes in time.”
It seems like it’s slowing down a little bit more for Williams. Last year Rob spent a lot of time on the bench learning the Celtics offensive system. And you could argue that there are few better passing big men than Al Horford. Al’s catch-and-shoot ability opens up the floor a little differently, but it’s a positive sign to see that Robert can be a ball-mover at the top of the key.
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7:15 Kyrie should say good-bye the same way Horford did
15:38 Leveling expectations for Tacko Fall
30:15 Summer League standouts
48:48 Celtics can win the East?