NBA

One to watch with the Boston Celtics Summer League

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The Boston Celtics announce the 2022 Las Vegas Summer League on Saturday afternoon. The Summer Celtics schedule is as follows:

vs. Heat – Saturday, July 9 – 5:30 p.m. ET – NBATV

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vs. Bucks – Monday, July 11 – 8:00 p.m. ET – NBATV

vs. Warriors – Tuesday, July 12 – 8:00 p.m. ET – ESPN2

TBD – Game 4 opponent/time to be determined after scheduled play

The Summer Celtics roster currently only includes one player: Sam Hauser. Matt Ryan and Brodric Thomas are Boston’s two remaining free agents, as they both come out of two-way contracts.

Recent second-round picks Juhann Begarin and JD Davison will also play. 2020 second-rounder Yam Madar has been dropped from the roster as he will spend the summer playing with the Israeli national team.

Although the roster lacks players expected to make a real impact, there are still things to watch out for with this group. Here’s what we’ll have our eyes on this summer.

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· Sam Hauser: Can he be more than a standstill shooter? What can Hauser do with his game without dribbling? Has it improved its motion shot when exiting screens? How does he hold up defensively?

Hauser is easily the Summer Celtics’ hottest player. He’s a reverse shooter. If he can show a little more, especially in defense, Hauser could gain a few minutes of rotation for Boston.

· Juhann Begarin: The 2021 second round comes off a dreadful season for Paris, as the club rose to France’s top tier. Begarin shot terribly 43% overall and 31% from three. Summer League is him showing more and improving.

Begarin is a terrific athlete. It has both a fast burst and good speed. He is also strong, with a good size for a wing. Sometimes Begarin still looks a bit lost defensively, but he’s still only 19 years old. It will come. Right now his sweater and finish are the most worrisome. These need to improve for him to have a real chance in the NBA.

· JD Davison: The Summer Celtics are light on ballhandlers, so Davison will get a ton of reps in Las Vegas. He needs them too. Boston will be looking to see Davison lead the offense effectively without turning the ball around too much. His 27.3% turnover rate in Alabama was absurdly bad.

Beyond the turnovers, we’ll look at Davison’s shooting. He finished well, but only shot 30% of three in college. And, finally, does his hyper-active defensive style translate to the NBA? That’s what got him drafted, so hopefully it shows in Vegas.

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· matt ryan: One of the funniest stories of last season was that of Ryan. From working in a cemetery to making the NBA, it’s quite a journey. To stay in the NBA, even on a Two-Way, Ryan has to do what he’s always done: hit shots. Last year, he was offside in the G League for Maine, averaging 20.4 points on 52/45 shooting.

Like Sam Hauser, Ryan needs to show he can defend at the NBA level if he wants more than a two-way or G League berth. If he can bounce back a bit more, that’s even better.

· Brodric Thomas: The Celtics’ other Two-Way free agent is an NBA-level athlete. It’s a known thing. He just needs to show a little more consistency in attack. In Maine, Thomas’ shot slipped. If he can find his shot, Thomas will be in the mix for a camp invite or a two-way spot.

With the Summer Celtics light on the ballhandlers, look for Thomas to make some play. He has shown good feeling to move up to G League level but needs to curb his turnovers.

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· Mfiondu Kabengele: The 6-foot-10 tall man was washed out of the NBA, but enjoyed a minor revival in the G League last season. Kabengele is more of a 3/4 than a 4/5, but that’s okay. Its length allows it to play a little against the little big ones.

In 25 Ligue G games last season, Kabengele averaged 17.5 points on 59/43/81 separate shots. If this jumper is real at the NBA level, he’ll at least land someone a spot either way. As a guy with good professional experience, Kabengele should be ahead of most guys he will face. If he wants a spot in the NBA roster, he has to show it in Las Vegas.

· Trevion Williams: How this guy didn’t get drafted is a legitimate question. Williams had a strange college career. He started as a sophomore and junior, but later came off the bench as a senior, due to Purdue’s busy frontcourt. He was still quite productive collecting 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists in just 19.9 minutes per game.

Boston likes their bigs to be able to pass, so Williams fits right in there. He’s a little undersized as a center, but he’s got the body to hold his ground inside. If Williams can score and pass effectively this summer and hang on defense, an invite to camp or a spot in the two-way roster will be waiting for him at the other end.

· AJ Reeves: It’s the local kid (born in Boston, attended Brimmer & May in high school) that everyone will follow. The challenge? Reeves can’t shoot. He was a four-year starter at Providence, but never topped 9.9 ppg and struggled to break 40 percent shooting.

If Reeves shoots well, he could land an invite to camp. He’s the size of the NBA wing and he’s a good defender. It all really depends on the shot for Reeves.

· Jordan Bone: The other pure Summer Celtics ballhandler has been on the sidelines of the NBA for a few years now. Bone split his time between the NBA and the G League in his first two professional seasons, before spending last season in Spain and Turkey.

It’s a broken record at this point, but Bone’s chances in the NBA depend on his ability to knock down shots. He struggled to shoot it overseas last season. Bone can lead a team and he’s a pretty tough defender, but he’ll have to pull some sweaters to get a more NBA look beyond the next 10 days.

· jericole hellems: A four-year player at NC State, Hellems has managed to come off the screen on a team loaded with NBA-level talent. At 6-foot-7, Hellems has a prototypical wing size for the NBA.

He’s a bit up and down with his finish. Hellems improved as a three-point shooter in his final two seasons at NC State. His senior season was a major struggle defensively, as Hellems struggled to manage players off the dribble, and he tended to foul a lot. He basically has the opposite issues of AJ Reeves when it comes to his NBA prospects.

· Bryton Hobbs: At the risk of being sarcastic and inaccurate, Hobbs is the cousin of Jayson Tatum, and that seems to have earned him that third ballhandler spot for the Summer Celtics. Hobbs is 30 and there is no record of him playing professionally since 2017-18.

Hobbs played well in the second division in Lithuania, but that was over four years ago. It’s hard to see much of an impact here beyond backing up JD Davison and Jordan Bone.

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