The Boston Celtics' D-League affiliate Maine Red Claws are off to a 6-3 start with the help of Celtics rookies Kris Joseph and Fab Melo. Both rookies have a great opportunity to gain some essential in-game experience in the D-League, which is a much better option than simply sitting at the end of the Celtics bench all season. Although Kris Joseph has only played in six games with the Red Claws so far, he is taking advantage of the opportunity to develop his game in a quick-paced and competitive league.
In an interview with WEEI Joseph expressed an understanding that the Celtics are doing what is best for his development in the long run, and that his time with the Maine Red Claws is allowing him an opportunity to work through the NBA style of play. It is not only giving him the playing time he needs to develop, but he is also in the unique position of having a lot of the offense run through him.
As one of the headlining players in Maine, Joseph is putting up a very productive 21 points, 1.8 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. He is playing with more aggression than was often seen in his collegiate time at Syracuse, and it is paying dividends on both ends of the floor. He is shooting well from within the three-point line with the increased work load, hitting on 42.7 percent of his shots over 37.8 minutes of play.
Joseph is also getting to the line around five times per game, and he is taking advantage of every shot making 90.3 percent of these free throws. A player's ability to score from the free-throw line is often an undervalued statistic by fans, but it is one of the best ways to keep a team in close games as well as provide extra points needed at the end of games to come away with a win.
Although Joseph is putting together an impressive overall performance for Maine, he is in need of some major improvement from behind the three-point line. Joseph has connected on only 4-of-19 (21.1 percent) three-pointers, which is well below what he will need to play at the NBA level. He was never a great three-point shooter in college, but in order to be a successful small forward with the Celtics he will need to continue to work on his outside shot.
In addition Joseph needs to work to bring down the number of turnovers he is allowing, as he currently is losing control of the ball 2.67 times per game. Although this number is manageable, he would likely be more turnover prone if he were to step onto the court for the Celtics, so it is important that he works on controlling the ball in order to not lose the few opportunities he may have to score with Boston.
The Boston Celtics are unlikely to need the services of Kris Joseph for more than a few games this season, but the young rookie should continue to work hard in the D-League in order to develop his game for success with the Celtics in the future. He is showing great promise in his early showing with the Maine Red Claws, and if he can continue to stay confident he will be able to use the skills he is developing in order to take advantage of any playing time he gets with the Celtics this season. It will be interesting to watch Joseph as he continues to develop over the season and to see if Boston will need to bring him up later on to add depth later this year.