4th of July Collection | Now Available at the Barstool StoreSHOP HERE

Advertisement

The Summer Celtics Won Again And Are Quickly Becoming The Best Show In Vegas

Zach Beeker. Getty Images.

You can have many types of Vegas experiences. When you're younger, you head to Vegas with your buddies, you cram like 7 dudes into a hotel room because you're all too poor to have multiple rooms, you party your dick off and the next thing you know it's 6am and you're still playing pai gow on the casino floor. You could go and just relax and play some golf or hit up a spa. You could go to shows or concerts and nowadays even go see some professional sports. All of those things are fun, no doubt about it. Well not the losing all your money in the first two seconds on the craps table, but you get my point. There are plenty of things to do for people of all ages depending on what type of Vegas experience you want to have. 

Even with all these options at your fingertips, one thing is clear. The Summer Celts are the best show in Vegas right now. Winners of now 3 straight, they've become must watch. You may be saying to yourself there's no possible way a Summer League team where the games are fake and almost none of these players will see any real NBA minutes is must watch, but that's where you're wrong. They are electric. They have talent. And they win. That's basically the formula for being must watch last time I checked. 

I feel confident in saying that pretty much everything I was hoping to see this week in Vegas has happened. We have one more game to go (more on this in a minute) before we wrap up another dominant run which is both sad and a little scary because what the fuck are we all supposed to do until preseason which is when we can see this team play basketball again. Live a life? Be normal? Sounds terrible.

Alright, with essentially another wire to wire win there's a lot to cover. Let's begin.

The Good

- OK, quick question for you all as we start this section. Who is this Summer Celts player? 

Player X (5 games): 14.8 points / 4.2 rebounds / 4.2 assists / 2.0 steals on 29/25% splits

Any guesses? Maybe you know where this is going. This is that player

Fernando Medina. Getty Images.

OK now the next question. Who is this?

Player X (4 games): 12.0 points / 4.5 rebounds / 7.8 assists / 1.5 steals / 1.5 blocks on 39/46% splits

Any guesses? OK fine I'll tell you. 

Advertisement

There's a reason JD Davison is Baby Smart. Not just because of how he plays, but also because he's essentially having the exact same Summer League debut as the original Baby Smart. You almost have to take a minute and remind yourself that JD was the 53rd pick and is just 19 years old. And not in the way people may joke that Jayson Tatum is still 19 years old, this kid is really only 19. This is the worst he's ever going to be! 

To say yesterday was the best showing of JD's summer would be a gigantic understatement. It was one of the best performances any player has had in Vegas this entire week. It wasn't just the 28/5/10/3/1 stat line, but it was also the efficiency. JD finished 9-14 (4-6) from the floor and was a team best +22. He was incredible. Watch those highlights again, it's OK, I'll wait. They are that good.

Did Brad do it again or did Brad do it again? I fear he may have done it again. For those keeping track at home, JD currently ranks 2nd in Vegas in assists at 7.8, trailing only Josh Giddey (8.0). Of all players currently averaging at least 7 assists (4 total), nobody has fewer TOs per game than JD (3.0). None of them come close to his 1.5 blocks per game, and only one player beats out his 1.5 steals per game (Jared Butler). I'll remind you, this is the 53rd pick we're talking about here. That feels pretty good!

The best part of JD's summer has easily been his playmaking. That shit is real. His willingness and effectiveness at throwing lobs is without a doubt the best we've ever seen a Celts rookie have. This is a team that went years with the NBA squad not having any player on it who could successfully complete a lob play, so it's a little unusual to see a rookie be so good at it already. Imagine what this shit will look like when it's Rob on the other end of these passes? I'm getting aroused just thinking about it. 

While I don't think JD will always go 9-14 from the floor with 4 3PM, the aggressiveness is what I love. I love the way he attacks because he does so in a way that isn't selfish. His head is always up looking for others, especially that back line lob when a big comes over. Sometimes he can dribble into traffic and turn the ball over, but that's correctable. It's also very Celtics of him to do such a thing, so that tells me he's already a perfect fit. 

- Seeing as how the only way we're able to check in on Juhann is when Timi The GOAT posts his international highlights every now and then, this was a big summer for all of us who were interested in seeing how Juhann's development is going. I think pretty much everyone agrees and understands that he most likely has at least one more year overseas, so this week has mostly just been a progress check in. Safe to say I am loving the results so far

Advertisement

Even with his slow start shooting the ball in this game, Juhann finished 9-18 which last time I checked was 50% and that's pretty good. He added a couple of assists and 3 more steals and a few things are pretty clear through 4 games. His athleticism is more than NBA ready, his ability to get into the lane and to the rim is legit, but he still has some shooting/ball control/rim finishing to work on. We've seen him get blocked a lot at the rim so far this week, and that's a little weird to me because we've also seen him murder people by finishing strong. The dribbling/turnovers are gross, but find me someone on the Celtics who doesn't have that problem right now.

Remember, like JD, Juhann is just 19 years old. 

So far this week we're seeing him average 16.5/5.3/2.3/1.5 on 39/26% splits and he's really started to come into his own over these last 3 games which is what you should want. As he got more comfortable, his production became more consistent. The decision Brad will have to make is if he thinks it's better for Juhann to continue to develop overseas, or if he wants to use a Two Way on him so he can develop in Maine and in their system. My guess is he goes the overseas route, at least for this upcoming season. Bring him back next summer and then go from there. There's no need to rush it and if he continues on this trajectory he could absolutely be something down the road.

I keep saying it, but the biggest reason I am optimistic about his jumper is because of how good he is at the FT line. His form looks great and that's usually a pretty good indicator of whether or not a guy's  jumper will come around. You forget guys like Jaylen shot 30% from the floor in his second summer league. With his size and athleticism he fits the exact mold of a two way player that Brad and Ime are obsessed with and the type of player they prefer at the wing spot. It's hard to deny that this week has showcased Juhann's potential, and he's only going to get better.

- When talking about potential tough roster decisions for Brad, I think we have to start including Justin Jackson in this conversation. He was incredible against the Warriors the other day, and then backed that performance up with another solid showing against the Grizzlies

There's just something intriguing about his size and shooting that I can no longer ignore. I know what his NBA resume and production looks like, but I don't really give a shit. We're talking about end of bench guys with all these players, so it's not like they're rotation guys. If Jackson has another strong showing in their finale on Saturday, it would not shock me one bit if we saw Jackson get one of the guaranteed roster/Two Way spots. I think there's to be said about having wing depth that isn't only Sam Hauser, and the way Jackson has shot the ball in Vegas has me questioning if he's the guy Brad goes with. Especially because he spent some time with the main club last season. 

On one hand, it's usually not a great sign when a 5+ year NBA player who is 27 years old is still playing in Summer League, but on the other hand, I can't just ignore what my eyes are currently watching. A low cost like 13th man who has good size and seems to be able to put the ball in the basket when open seems like someone that could have some value.

Advertisement

- We all love the potential of Trevion Williams. His passing is some of the most intoxicating I've ever watched during Summer League. But overall, his play hasn't really wowed me like I was hoping it would. I thought he needed a big performance to get the hype train rolling again and that's exactly what he did yesterday. We got the performance I had been waiting all week for

Like I said after the Warriors game, when it comes to Trevion it's tough to evaluate him right now, because really the player that matters is what he looks like once he gets into NBA shape. I think that solves a lot of the issues we've seen this week, especially defensively. Half of that battle is conditioning and getting your body right. The talent is there. His touch around the basket, his ability to rebound, the passing, that's all stuff he does well. To me, this screams an ideal Two Way guy. The skillet is too appealing to let him out of your grasp, and he's someone that I think with a real NBA program and then legit run in Maine could really flourish. 

This game was a perfect example of his potential. Whether it was finishing the lob or knocking down that three, you pair that with his passing vision and ability to own the defensive glass and it's worth taking an extended look in my opinion. He's another guy where if he plays well again on Saturday, I think we'll see the Maine Celtics in his future (if he doesn't get any other offers).

- The Summer Celts currently lead all teams in Vegas in scoring and are tied for the longest winning streak (3). That feels familiar. 

- Loved seeing AJ Reeves finally get on the floor and instantly knock down his first three. Here's to hoping he gets some actual run on Saturday because who doesn't love seeing a local kid live out his dream of playing for the Celts. We've seen enough of the other bench guys this week, the people want to see more AJ Reeves.

- A relatively quiet game for Kab, but he was still effective. The 3 blocks are always nice, he had some lobs

Advertisement

and for my money right now he's really the only one who I think has truly played his way onto this roster. Whether Brad agrees or not is yet to be seen, but he's been incredible this whole week. Given that his position is currently something the Celts need, it almost makes too much sense to see what he could bring as the 3rd center on this roster. I want him working with Rob immediately. That shouldn't stop them from looking for a veteran minimum center, but sometimes you don't have to overthink things. 

My guess is we'll see Kab get a camp invite at the very least. He's been too good.

- Another 27 assists which means for the 3rd straight game the Summer Celts broke the 20 assist target number. Shocking they went 3-0 in those games. Almost like ball movement works! The real roster figured that out and won a shit ton of games, and the Summer Celts are learning that same lesson. Love that.

The Bad

- Unfortunately, there will be no Summer League title game despite the 3-1 record. You can blame point differential for that. The Celts needed to have a top 2 point differential to make the Finals since a bunch of teams are also 3-1, and at +5.0 they currently rank 4th. That's very annoying. Nobody wants to see POR/NYK, sorry if this offends. I couldn't help but spend my afternoon yesterday being annoyed as shit that the Summer Celts blew their Vegas opener to the Heat. Had they been 4-0, they are in the title game. I'll remind you they started that game against MIA up 9-0 too. Very annoying. 

- My guess is both Matt Ryan and Sam Hauser are both done for Summer League, and since it's the last game I fear we'll see a bunch of guys sit tomorrow. I know it's probably the smart thing to do but at the same time watching these guys play has been so much fun I don't want it to end. At the same time you want to avoid injury so I get it.

- Had the Celts been able to blow this game wide open, there's a chance their point differential may have gotten high enough to make the Finals. Instead, they have up 52 second half points, including 28 in the fourth quarter. As great as the offense has been in Vegas in terms of scoring, their defense has kind of stunk in terms of opponents points. In Vegas you can't have nailbiters if you want to make the Finals. You need to blow teams out. I'm not talking about winning by 17, I'm talking about being like the 2021 Summer Celts and crushing teams by 30+. Unfortunately, getting stops wasn't exactly on the menu down the stretch yesterday and now we're left to wonder what could have been.

The Ugly

- Same shit as usual. The turnovers. A total of 17 as a team with 7 coming from the starting backcourt with 4 more from Juhann sprinkled in. I know, turnovers are pretty common in Summer League considering the level of play, but that doesn't mean I have to like them. They still annoy me. I don't think I'll ever recover with that shit after what we lived through in the NBA Finals. Turnovers trigger me for the moment and probably for the rest of my life. What do you want me to do? Pretend like it doesn't? Impossible.

Advertisement

With the Nets coming up next tomorrow night, this has been a weird reliving of the 2022 postseason for the Summer Celts. I wonder if Cam Thomas will play or if he's shut down seeing as he's been incredible and leads Vegas in scoring. I'd like to see him play and see how the Celts defend against him. Other than the bullshit of missing out on the Finals because they didn't have enough blowouts, this has been a wildly successful week in Vegas which at the end of the day is all that matters. We're seeing what we hoped to see, the young projects look great and all I know is the regular season cannot come soon enough.