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Boston Celtics: Evaluating Draft Picks' Debut Performances

Chance CookContributor IIIOctober 9, 2016

Boston Celtics: Evaluating Draft Picks' Debut Performances

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    The Boston Celtics kicked off their summer league play in Orlando today with a 73-65 victory over the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder.

    This was the Celtics' first look at a number of players, including coveted rookies Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph. None of the rookies would start the game, but each would see a significant amount of playing time coming off of the bench.

    Of course, these three players have only played their first summer league game and it is way too early to assume their eventual contributions to the Celtics, but here is a look at each of their performances from their debuts. 

Jared Sullinger

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    Jared Sullinger led the way for the 2012 draft picks in terms of offensive production, as he led all scorers with 20 points.

    Sullinger entered the game towards the end of the first quarter and got off to a hot start; his first NBA touch was an offensive board followed by a layup over a number of Thunder defenders. An offensive board alone was a welcome sight, as the Celtics struggled on the offensive glass all season in 2011-2012. 

    Sullinger would finish with six rebounds to go along with 20 points on 6-12 shooting. While the big man out of Ohio State had a solid statistical night, he showed signs of immaturity at times, air-balling two of his three three-point attempts. However, when he was in the box banging with the Thunder big men, it was very evident how strong and able-bodied he is.

    Look for him to continue to develop at the power forward position and learn to play some center as an undersized—yet athletic—post player.

Kris Joseph

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    Kris Joseph, the second-round pick out of Syracuse, played 17 minutes in today's victory. While his stat line doesn't show it, Joseph's play certainly exceeded expectations, as his hustle and defense helped slow down the Thunder scorers.

    He finished the game with seven points on a dismal 3-8 from the field and 0-2 beyond the arc, but he crashed the glass well, snagging four boards. His defense frustrated the Thunder offense, as he finished the day with two steals.

    Joseph has the potential to be a key bench player this season for the Celtics. Hopefully, he will be able to learn from Paul Pierce and continue to bring energy to areas that the C's struggled in last season.

Fab Melo

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    Fab Melo is still an underdeveloped basketball player who will need time in the league before he can use his size effectively.

    Although Melo saw only 14 minutes of action today, there were some promising plays made by the seven-foot Brazilian on the defensive end, including two blocks.

    Melo is going to need time to learn the game at the professional level and rookie timidness is to be expected, but under Kevin Garnett's tutelage, he could very well develop into a solid low-post player for the Celtics for years to come.

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