Sullinger, Joseph impress in Summer League debut | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Sullinger, Joseph impress in Summer League debut

The Boston Celtics opened their Summer League with a 73-65 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, though the score of these games barely matters.

Let’s get right to the early assessments.  First, the returning players:

E’Twaun Moore:  His shot was spotty early. He hit a few nice mid-range jumpers, but he had a tough time from long-range.  He picked it up a little in the second half offensively, finishing with 16 points and 4 assists.  But he still only shot 6-16 from the field.

I’m less concerned about his offense than I am about his defense, though, which was largely not very good.  He stuck to picks like velcro, even obvious picks that came from a mile away.  He was beaten off the dribble often and he looked lost many other times.  I know Moore is going to score the ball.  He’s aggressive and he’s got a nice touch.  But his defense HAS to improve if he’s going to have a chance at making this squad.  He needs to do basic things better, or else his presence out there is simply going to put too much pressure on the guys behind him to rotate… leading to total breakdowns in the team’s defense.

JaJuan Johnson:  Very much a non-factor in this.  Considering we’re just more than a month from the Celtics elimination from the playoffs, I’m not sure what I expected.  This is the same old JaJuan Johnson that we remember from this past season:  He’s awkward and his body is slow to react to what his mind is telling it to do.  He’s still got a nice touch and he’ll work to get after some blocked shots and rebounds, but you can tell his body hasn’t reached full maturity yet.  He still needs to grow into his length.

As for the rookies…

Jared Sullinger:  He impressed in his first time out… but let’s keep in mind that this is summer league, and this came against a lot of guys who won’t be in the NBA.  Still, he showed decent footwork around the hoop and the ability to use a short jump hook and nice touch to score the ball.  He also faced up and showed the ability to hit a mid-range jumper.  He was 6-12, including 7-7 from the line for 20 points to go along with six rebounds.  He has talent, that’s for sure.  We’ll have to see how it translates against a regular NBA team, but this game should give us some confidence that he’ll be a contributor at some point over the next year or two.

Fab Melo:  Good shot blocking instincts, including one block of a shot where he came all the way across the lane to prevent an easy bucket.  His individual defense was questionable, as he was beaten a couple of times by Perry Jones III (who displayed some nice skills, by the way).  Melo was not a factor offensively, though the one basket he hit was a free-throw line jumper.  There’s no way to tell if that was luck or if he’ll hit that shot more often than not.  Melo, though, was as advertised in game 1:  Raw, but potentially disruptive on D.

Kris Joseph:  He played 17 minutes, but in the first half, he was taking, and making, jumpers with confidence.  He moved well, flashing nice agility and ability to get to the spots he wanted on the floor.  Considering he’s a second round pick, his expectations are a little  lower… so that might be why he seemed impressive.  But so far, he’s at least worth keeping an eye on.

The only other guy with a shot of making this team, I think, is Sean Williams… and he had a couple of very Sean Williams moments today.  Early in the second half, he was wide open from beyond the arc… for good reason… but he shot it anyway.  Tyronn Lue, running the team for Doc Rivers, immediately pulled him and sat him for most of the second half.  Later, with the Celtics up 7 with just under :16 left, Williams fouled a 3-point shooter… who hit all three FT’s to get within four.  That level of stupidity on the court won’t fly, and if it continues, I wouldn’t expect Williams to hang around for very long.

Other guys, like Dionte Christmas, for example, are out there trying to make impressions on other teams… and that can gum up the works a bit.  There were a few times where I saw two guys coming towards the ball with their hands out looking for a pass… leading to a jumbled mess of an offense.  It’s summer league, and it’s going to to be sloppy, so let’s not make any snap judgments yet.  Still, I do like Sullinger’s ability to work on the block.  I feel like he’ll be able to take advantage of size mis-matches there at the very least… so that’s a good start.

What I do think is we’ve at least got a baseline for these guys.  Let’s see who takes steps forward and how quickly those steps are taken.  This is a major learning process for all of these guys.  The goal is improvement and education.  If all of these guys can show both by the end of July, they’ll be ok.

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  • KY Celts fan

    Jajuan better step it in these next couple of games, or he’ll quickly become trade bait.

    • Eric

      Yeah.. I didn’t like what I saw from JaJuan johnson. I think he’s gonna get sent elsewhere. As for Joseph, Melo, and Sully, I like what I saw from them. Especially Joseph. Christmas was pretty good too.

    • RedsLoveChild

      Trade bait? JJJ?

      Yeah…no doubt Orlando is on the phone this very moment, seeing if Ainge would be interested in a Howard for JJJ swap!

      • KY Celts fan

        For the love of God, smarten up or stop commenting!

        • RedsLoveChild

          After you!

  • Jester00

    I watched the game where do I get a boxscore?

  • ap
  • Uh huh

    You can’t over react to a good game by rookies but when a vet who’s supposed to be coming along struggles against summer league comp, that’s a reason to be VERY concerned. I say all of this to point out Etwaun Moore is a dumpster fire. He had to work really hard to get anywhere today, lost the ball way too much and shot like shit to say nothing of his d. He’ll never be a contributor for us.

    • Uh huh

      Don’t wanna be a Debbie Downer though. Sully looks good and is every bit as skilled as we thought. Melo is still a project but the blocks are there now. We saw the flashes you wanna see. One year under KG and we should have a solid player. Kris Joseph seems like a nice 12th man type. Kid should make the roster anyway.

      • thetitleisours

        How did P Jones III last until 28 (and past us)?

  • zippittyay

    after watching Moore, I am convinced we still need a combo guard with some size who can play defense AND handle the ball. Calling D-West….

    • Lee in Oregon

      Dooling will be back before they call Delonte, he’s not coming back for a 3rd time, at least under this regime.

      Melo looks lost out there, yeah he made the one block but he’s a serious liability against any real talent. I notice alot of people seem to think KG can rub off on guys… reality this hasn’t happened. He can make them better when he’s on the floor with them, but Patty O’Bryant and guys like Melo aren’t gonna turn into little KG’s just cause he schools them in practice a bit.

      • Uh huh

        They were saying Melo’s only been playing ball for 7 yrs (started at 15) so there’s a lot to work with and mold there. Boeheim says hes a great kid that wants to be coached (something we should, but cant take forgranted with all these guys) That story and skillset should remind you of serge ibaka and deandte jordan… And hasheem thabeet. Doc and KG are the guys I want working on that project big man. He was a project and a risk, but at 22 it’s worth a shot at a position of need.

      • Jester00

        I miss Dwest

  • CoachAJ

    Its kind of funny that we all expect JJJ to be a superb player after sitting an entire season, behind every player who got hurt. I may be in the minority when I say that keeping him is best for our future. He makes diddly squat in terms of money. Sully will make more this year, but having a young player that wont cost us much, that can learn our system is good for us. There is a youtube vid out there that show some of the good things JJJ did when he got some time. I’m just saying, he could blow up the rest off the week and next week, and some folks would still say trade him.

    • kg215

      But JJJ was a 4 year player when he was drafted. And he isn’t so full of talent that as a project he is worth unlimited patience. He didn’t get game time, but if after an entire year of training and some practices with/against NBA players he isn’t dominating the summer league it’s a very bad sign. Let’s face it, even guys that dominate the summer league aren’t a sure thing. Hopefully this is a fluke and JJJ will show us something in the next few games.

  • dwyane wade

    this is what bosdone got plus the oldies. no playoffs spot this year.

    • Noori

      Who asked the Criami Skeet? Another losing streak and you all will be back to bawling in the locker room like in 2011 lmao. Maybe Ray can teach you all to sack up.

    • Eric

      At the end of the day our Franchise is more historical than what Miami has. Good job.. The Miami Heat won their second title.. 2nd title.. that’s nothing compared to what we have. Boston has legends.. We have history.. We WATCHED the Celtics raise another banner in 08.. and for all the b****** who wanna talk shit about MY team.. Lets see if you can say this.. I got to see all 4 major sports teams win a championship. From the Pats, to the Red Soxs, to The Bruins, to the Celtics. Even if we don’t win another title soon, You’ll never be able to say those words without it being a lie. So brag and talk as much shit as you want. Boston Pride all day baby. We got 15 more titles than you and then some. Get off our site band wagon fan.

      • dwyane wade

        what banner? you mean the old banner from the 1800’s lol.

  • Astarot

    We all saw who was good up there. As for Fab Melo he showed couple of blocks and nothing more to be honest. Joseph proved some people wrong, he’s second round pick but still has some decent skills and I hope he’ll keep it up in the next games. Moore and JJJ were sloppy I know they haven’t seen much playing time last season but they gotta step up and they gotta start to do it now otherwise their second year won’t be much different. I will repeat what I’ve allready said before – Perry Josnes III he was the best guy on the floor next to Sullinger I like Fab potential and hope he will help Celtics within couple of years but still think Jones would be better choice and yes I know it’s only Sumer League

  • jbsuarez

    Obviously it’s very early, but Sullinger looks like he’s more cut out to play center. He won’t be blocking many shots, but he’s got a huge, strong base. He’ll be able to deny position against bigs in the NBA. On the flip side, that huge base means he has almost no lateral quickness, so if he’s matched up with athletic PFs, he’s going to get beat.

  • Brian

    It’s only one game. IF anything guys were trying to do to much. Keep in mind when these guys do play they will have Rondo, KG and Paul out there with them. ALot of guys are playing not ot make the celtics but to latch on to a job anywhere they can, so you see alot of wide open guys and 3/1 drives to the hole.

    JJJ worked the boards pretty well

    Sully looked great and that white center they had, had a really hard time getting position on him.

    Moore was playing the point and he is a two guard so that was an adjustment, but he hit some key shots at the end.

    Melo was a beast on the defensive end. He made one block where he came across the lane from the other side that I don’t remember seeing perkins ever do. He is going to be a tyson chandler type player. He will get 10 points on put backs and alley ops playing with rondo, and he can hit that weird 12 foot shot that steamer use to hit a few times a game.

    Joseph played pretty well. Keep in mind guards shine in the summer league, but good cheap talent is what the C’s need right now.

    Sean Williams. He made some great plays and some not so great plays. From the Neck down he is a great player. From the Neck up he does some wacky shit. But it’s the first game and Celtics centers outside of KG just have to play defense to get playing time. He is another young cheap option to have, not as your first big, but as the 14th or 15th guy why not…

  • Jeremy Etom

    So….we took JJJ instead of Brooks. That’s supposed to be good right? Right???

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