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Death, Taxes, And The Celtics Beating This Sixers In Any Sort Of Basketball Competition

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Day 2 - Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers

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It had been close to 60 days since we last saw Celtics basketball, and to say a lot has happened over that span would be a pretty big understatement. But as the calendar turned to July it meant the return of sweet sweet Summer League was back in our lives and real fake basketball was on the menu. As a team that just drafted a billion rookies and has young players who may actually get an opportunity this season, this is an exciting time for Celtics fans. Of course there are the idiots and morons who will say stuff like “who cares it’s summer league none of it matters” to try and suppress your excitement, but it’s not your problem someone hurt them. This time of year is awesome as long as you remember the most important part of watching these games. Every single positive thing you see 100% will translate to the regular season, and anything negative you can immediately throw aside because these are fake games. It’s a glorious thing.

That is why even in games that don’t count, it’s still fun to beat the Sixers. You know, the fanbase that for the 1000th time has declared NOW they are the best team in the East. You can forget all those other times, or going “all in” just to also lose in the second round. If that’s all it takes to be the best in the East well shit I guess the Celts are right there too? And while there will be triggered Sixers fans in the comments of this blog talking about how it’s cool that the Summer League is our championship, or how they stole Al Horford and now have to talk themselves into now thinking he’s good, or how they ignore all the lack of shooting because they have “2 top 15″ guys despite always having those two on the roster and never beating the Celtics. It’s OK, get it all out. To me it just sounds like people who are just upset they once again lost to the Celtics in a basketball competition, real or fake.

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But as Celtics fans, we had our own questions that we were anxious to see answered. It sucks that Romeo Langford isn’t cleared to play, but between Edwards, Tacko, Grant Williams, Timelord, Yabu etc I was very excited to see how everyone would look in their first taste of NBA action. Let’s have a look.

The Good

– As you know, getting the starting spot in this blog is a big deal. One of the things the NCAA tournament and then the subsequent YouTube highlights I watched told me that Carsen Edwards would be a walking bucket. Would that translate to this level? Upon first review, yes, yes it has

We saw this scoring ability almost instantly after the Celts got off to that slow start. With Rozier gone you could say Edwards has a legit opportunity in that backup PG role, and I’m having a hard time not liking what I saw. Obviously the three point shooting was nice, I’ll take 5-12, but I also liked how he was able to create his own shot and flourish in the midrange. I’m also pretty sure I saw some quality grifting which will make him fit in around these parts fairly well. He showed flashes of also being effective moving off ball and knocking down shots off screens which this team is going to need now that Kyrie is gone.

I do still have questions as to how he’ll hold up defensively, but from an offensive standpoint I saw exactly what I needed to se for my brain to go to wild places. OH and I loved that his turnovers were low, and he was the only starter with a positive +/-.

– A lot has been made about what an awesome teammate Grant Williams is, we all see the Instagrams and that certainly seems true. But I want to know can the dude play. Well, if there is one player on this roster who warrants classic Summer League overreaction, it has to be Grant Williams.

You watch him play and you can see his basketball IQ all over the place. Making the right passes, good defensively, grifting, spacing the floor, it was all there yesterday. A team high +20 in his 21 minutes, I feel like we’re going to be getting a lot of these type of performances throughout his career. He even managed to do a decent job on the boards, finishing 2nd on the team in rebounds. Defensively he more than held his own, even had a nice block on a fantastic closeout on a three in the second half, and he gives off this vide of the ultimate glue guy. Nobody I think is expecting him to be this giant star, but rather a solid reliable role player that won’t make mistakes and will play the right way.

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If he can somewhat consistently knock down threes after making just 15 threes last year at TEN, well then that’s just gravy on top.

– Never trailing after any quarter seems good. Love a wire to wire win and I would ask that they continue to go with that strategy.

– This Summer League is extremely important for a few guys, one of them being Timelord. We all love him, we all want to see what he looks like with actual minutes and opportunity, well it all starts here. He still has a lot to learn when it comes to defensive rotations and knowing where to be, but we’re seeing some progress

A lot is made about his freak athleticism and insane blocking ability, but I think we need to talk more about his overall basketball IQ. It’s pretty damn high and you really see it come to life on the offensive end. His offensive awareness and willingness to make the right pass/play is pretty interesting given his limited opportunity, and then you add it to all the things he does well in terms of rim protection and you can see why he’s an interesting prospect. I’ll take 9/9/2/3/2 in 19 minutes for his first real action. Remember he didn’t play in last year’s Summer League and then was extremely limited during the year so he is still very much an unknown.

One knock on him from this game was he did tend to struggle offensively with defenders that matched his size. He basically ignores his left hand and his offensive arsenal was a bit predictable at times. But, if he does start or play real minutes this year, his purpose isn’t to score, it’s to rebound and block shots and defend at an acceptable level which I would say he did against the Sixers. That’s promising.

– It may have started as a joke, but I need Tacko on this roster one way or another

Could it be the second Two Way contract? Works for me. I didn’t know what to expect heading into Summer League, but it took me 5 seconds to realize Tacko rules. He’s so gigantic it’s comical, but he’s also pretty skilled. 6 points and 4 rebounds in 10 minutes? Dunking without having to jump? Where the fuck do I sign. I mean it’s not like this team is loaded with awesome centers, so why not throw a two way at the man and see what you have. The intrigue alone would make it worth it in my opinion. I’m excited to see if the more he plays this summer he gets exposed, or if he really could be something worth adding for depth.

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– Hey look, the Celtics won the rebounding battle and held a team under 90 and they won. Defense and rebounding still works in the Summer League, imagine that!

The Bad

– I get it, I’m not supposed to care about anything I see during these games, but how could I sleep at night knowing this team shot 15-23 from the FT line. That’s 65% for those not great at math and that stinks. Is this stupid for me to care about? Sure, but I am who I am and if I’m caring about it that means you don’t have to so really you should be thanking me.

– Tough debut for Tremont Waters with his 3-13 and four fouls, especially compared to Edwards but hey shit happens. He’s the other Two Way candidate and while he showed flashes

my guess is he was pretty disappointed with how he played. I am much more forgiving so I kept him out of the ugly section, but that’s just because I’m a nice guy and we’re saving that for someone else.

– It wouldn’t be Summer League without brutal shooting splits and 41/34 certainly qualifies.

The Ugly

– There’s no other way to say it, by now, Yabu has to be dominating these games. He has the experience, he has the size of an absolute monster, and frankly his debut was a complete and utter disaster. Yabusmelly if you will. Now you should know how hard that is for me to type given my love for him, so credit to me for being fair and honest. Nothing he did was good. Offensively it was a disaster, he lost track of the shot clock and shit his pants, got blocked at the rim, dribbled off his foot, you name it he did it.

The good news is I point you to rule #1 at the top of this blog. Anything that stinks you can just ignore because these games are fake and do not matter. So that is what I am choosing to do with Yabu because holy christ was that tough to watch. My guess is he bounces back on Monday, mostly because he sort of has to. If he finally wants a real opportunity for minutes this season, he has to play about 1000000000000x better. That might even be low.

So that’s it! Celts are undefeated this summer, for the most part the rookies looked great in their debut, and it’s always fun to remind the Sixers at every level who their boogieman is. As it stands right now below is the ranking for my Summer League heart. Remember, this isn’t always who plays the best, but who my heart is falling for.

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