Boston Celtics: Complete Breakdown and Predictions for 2012 Summer League Roster
These Celtics will be participating in both the Orlando and Las Vegas leagues, and will play five games in each. The last time Boston participated in the Vegas games was in the 2007 season.
The team is off to just the right start in Orlando after winning its first game. Boston took down Oklahoma City 73-65 in the Celtics' opening game.
Second-year pros JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore will be leading the team this season. Their one year of experience in the league will undoubtedly pay dividends in the team's 10 summer league games. Add in the fact the team acquired both Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo in this year's draft and there is plenty for this Celtics team to look forward to.
This is the complete breakdown of the Boston Celtics' summer league roster and its chances to be successful in both Orlando and Las Vegas.
If there's one area that may be lacking for this Celtics summer league team, it's their depth in the backcourt.
The team features just two players with at least one year of professional basketball experience. Moore is the only guard in the rotation who played with Boston last season.
Here are the five guards who will be in the team's rotation this summer:
The frontline will feature two top-notch draft picks from the 2012 NBA Draft. Center Fab Melo and power forward Jared Sullinger are two especially talented big men that can get it done on both ends of the floor.
Meanwhile, JaJuan Johnson will undoubtedly be the leader of the frontcourt rotation after having had a successful first season with the team last year.
Other notables are Kris Joseph and Stephane Lasme. Joseph was the leading scorer for the Syracuse Orange last season while Lasme is as solid a defender as there is at the power forward spot.
Lasme won Atlantic 10 defensive player of the year twice with Massachusetts, A-10 Player of the Year in 2006-07, and was the 2007-08 NBA D-League Defensive Player of the Year. The tremendous defensive presence could certainly be an impact player at these games.
Here is the list of frontcourt players the Celtics will use at this year's summer league games:
Biggest Rebound Threat: JaJuan Johnson, PF
JaJuan Johnson is still slightly smaller than the average PF at 221 pounds, but his rebounding ability is undeniable. He has a keen sense for the ball and is a forceful presence when the ball comes off the rim.
In his first summer league game with the team, Johnson posted eight rebounds in just 24 minutes of action. His average of 16 rebounds per 48 minutes is what should be taken into special consideration here.
When he's in the game, Rivers and the coaching staff can expect relentless effort to rebound the basketball from Johnson. His consistency on the glass is exactly what will stand out in these summer games.
Top Scorer: E'Twaun Moore, SG
If there's one thing we know about Moore it's that he is completely unafraid when he steps out on the court.
Time and time again, Moore would take his fair share of shots upon entering games last season. This is a talent that averaged three shot attempts per game in just 8.7 minutes per contest. Moore loves to take jumpers and will do just that for this team during the summer games.
In the team's win over the Thunder, Moore scored 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting. The total was the second-most on the team behind Jared Sullinger's impressive 20-point outing.
Biggest Surprise: Dionte Christmas
Although he will only be participating in the Orlando games, Christmas is the player fans should watch out for on this team.
He is a tremendous scorer but also a relentless, physical defender. In his first game in Orlando, Christmas recorded 10 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists in the win.
The former Temple star scores the ball well and attacks the glass consistently. But what separates him from the rest is his ability to play mistake-free basketball. When it's all said and done, the 6'5'' guard will surely turn heads at this tournament with his production on both ends.
Best Player: Jared Sullinger, PF
LeBron James said it best when he sent out a tweet to his friend Jared Sullinger during the 2012 NBA Draft. Sullinger needs to use the fact that he fell out of the top 20 as a chance to prove to the World how talented he is. At Orlando he will do just that.
Happy for my bro @Jared_Sully0. Use it all for motivation and fuel! But u already know I can't stand u being in that uniform. Lol— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 29, 2012
To open up the stay at Orlando, Sullinger is off to exactly the right start. His 20 point, six rebound and single-turnover performance was as productive as could be in just 24 minutes of play. He is battling on the offensive end, getting physical in the block defensively, and proving his health is anything but an issue.
It's hard to believe a talent that many thought was top 10 worthy would slip to the Celtics in the draft. Make no mistake about it, Rivers will put Sullinger in prime position to have success at these games as well as next season.
The Celtics will have games at Orlando July 9 through July 13. This is the remaining schedule for the team at the 2012 Orlando Pro Summer League:
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - vs. Brooklyn Nets @ 5:00 p.m. EST on NBATV
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - vs. Indiana Pacers @ 11:00 a.m. EST on NBATV
Thursday, July 12, 2012 - vs. Detroit Pistons @ 11:00 a.m. EST on NBATV
Friday, July 13, 2012 - vs. Orlando Magic @ 10:00 a.m. EST on NBATV
Following the Orlando games the Celtics will take their talents to Las Vegas. All games will played at either Cox Pavilion or the Thomas & Mack Center. This is the five-game schedule for the team during the tournament:
Monday, July 16, 2012 - vs. Atlanta Hawks @ 4:00 p.m. EST (Cox Pavilion) on NBATV
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - vs. Chicago Bulls @ 10:00 p.m. EST (Cox Pavilion) on NBATV
Thursday, July 19, 2012 - vs. Sacramento Kings @ 6:30 p.m. EST (Thomas & Mack) on NBATV
Saturday, July 21, 2012 - vs. Milwaukee Bucks @ 10:30 p.m. EST (Thomas & Mack) on NBATV
Sunday, July 22, 2012 - vs. Los Angeles Clippers @ 6:00 p.m. EST (Cox Pavilion) on NBATV
Record at Orlando Pro Summer League: 3-2
Their time at Orlando will be significantly more difficult than Vegas.
Although a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder has them at 1-0, the team is set to take losses to both the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets during their stay in Florida.
The Magic are playing at home, and will feature top-notch scoring from Andrew Nicholson. The talented forward shot 50 percent from the floor and scored 24 points in the team's opening win over the Nets; not to mention he chipped in 12 rebounds as well. When combining this with the talent of former Norfolk State star Kyle O'Quinn, there is no question the Magic have the edge here.
The Nets will be a difficult team to reckon with as well. They are a team that boasts multiple weapons offensively and has an especially impressive backcourt. Tyshawn Taylor and MarShon Brooks are two of the most talented guards in Orlando and will give Boston's thin guard rotation major problems.
Boston picked up a win over Oklahoma City and will take down the Pistons and Pacers as well during their stay. Expect a 3-2 start from the team through their games in Orlando.
Record at 2012 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas: 5-0
The Celtics will cruise through Las Vegas in spite of the surefire talent that they will face.
Boston will be without Christmas during their stay in Nevada but will still boast enough talent in the backcourt to stay with teams. The clear advantage for the Celtics is in their frontcourt play.
The defensive firepower they boast in Melo and Johnson will play a significant factor in the team's success. Meanwhile, it will be Sullinger taking the majority of the load for the team offensively. His paint presence is something the Celtics hope to utilize both during the summer games and as soon as next season.
Dynamic frontcourt and solid backcourt play will have this team winning big in Las Vegas. These two factors will make for a 5-0 mark for Boston at these games.