Final score (85-77) and three-game winning streak aside, Celtics fans have reason continue to be encouraged by the performances this week at the Orlando Summer League.
Jared Sullinger continues to show signs of being NBA-ready… this time by scoring 16 points on 7-12 shooting while also grabbing 8 rebounds and blocking 2 shots. It wasn’t all great for Sullinger, who also made his fair share of mistakes, but he continues to show a knack for getting the ball up towards the rim with positive results. Call me nuts, but he has this crazy, Leon Powe-like way of getting the ball to find the bottom of the net.
E’Twaun Moore had a better day offensively, hitting 6 of his 11 shots for 15 points. This is encouraging because what E’Twaun has shown is that with a little more familiarity with his teammates comes greater comfort and better performance. I don’t want to overstate Summer League results, but this is small, yet critical development that shows that he can at least adjust to what’s going on around him. In a setting where you’re looking for development in a player… this is a big one.
JaJuan Johnson also showed a bit more comfort on the floor, hitting 5 of 8 shots, mostly from mid-range. That’s going to be a big part of his game, and he’s been good at it this week. I still feel like he needs to get into some martial arts or ballet classes to improve his coordination and quickness (no seriously, both of those are huge for guys his size who need to hone in their coordination) in addition to the obvious need to add a few pounds of muscle.
Kris Joseph continues to be solid and show that he’s going to make himself hard to ignore over the next two weeks and training camp. He’s solid. He looks like a future contributor.
Fab Melo had some unusual highlights… twice finding guys off the dribble for dunks. Yeah, Fab Melo dribbled multiple times and whipped passes to guys for dunks. No really. I swear. I saw it.
All in all, this is encouraging stuff. I do implore everyone to temper their enthusiasm. Be encouraged by what you see, but don’t extrapolate this out and expect Sullinger to be an 18/8 guy during the regular season already. Give it time. Just be happy that the five guys that matter most in this summer league are giving us something to be positive about. This is a nice start to the offseason for Boston. There are still miles to go, but these first few steps are definitely good ones.