After 5 games in Vegas, what have we learned about our Celtics entry and the players? First, there are several players from the summer league who won't make the regular team. Allred, Carroll, Sanchez, Hicks, Glyniadakis, and Francis didn't impress enough to warrant being signed to a contract. Allred got more playing time than the others and did some good things, but not enough to stick with the team. Carroll showed a nice mid range shot but not much else. Sanchez looked mostly lost. Glyniadakis got pushed around too much under the basket and although he is 7' tall, he only pulled down 1 rebound. We hardly got to see Hicks and Francis didn't play because of an injury. Now, let's take a look at each of the others.
Big Baby Davis started off slow, but improved with each game. He displayed multiple offensive moves and could score with either hand. He played great defense, blocking 6 shots in his last game. He showed a real talent for getting rebounds. As his confidence grew, so did his production. He is definitely a keeper and should be able to help us this year. He averaged 12 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.8 blocks per game. If he continues to work on his body and his conditioning, he could be a real find in the second round.
Gerald Green struggled throughout the 5 games. In his first two seasons, he struggled with defense, spacing, and running plays, but he was always able to score and had a very nice jumper. For some reason, he just couldn't score in Summer League, shooting 29.8% from the field, 15.4% from beyond the arc, and 61.8% from the line. His defense has improved but as the games went on, he seemed to get worse instead of better. He may have been trying too hard, but something was clearly wrong when a guy that leads the team in 3 point shooting in the regular season regresses to 15% in the Summer League. He still has a lot of potential, we just don't know if or when he will reach it. He finished with 11.4 ppg and 2.2 rpg for the 5 games.
Rajon Rondo proved that he has what it takes to run the team. In his first game, he was too unselfish and passed up open shots and layups to pass the ball to set up teammates. I have a feeling that he was given a talking to because in his next 2 games he hit open shots and finished when he drove to the basket instead of kicking the ball back out. He ran the team with confidence and earned a rest for the final 2 games. He even gained valuable experience sitting on the bench next to the coach and seeing the game from a coach's perspective. His averages were 9.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, and 1.3 apg. Rondo's continued development is key to the Celtics fortunes this season.
Gabe Pruitt got a chance to run the team the last two games. He did a good job against the Bucks, leading the team to a come from behind win. But he struggled against a quicker Barea in the game against the Mavs. It could be the result of playing a day game after playing the night before. He shows promise but needs experience to build his confidence. He shoots the ball well and plays decent defense. He has the tools to be a very good player in this league. He finished with 5.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg and 1.2 apg.
Leon Powe played very well and proved that he can be a difference maker in games. He was the Celtics best player overall in the 5 games. He crashed the boards and scored on put backs and played great defense. He averaged 12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game. He is ready to contribute this season and hopefully, Doc will give him minutes as good things happen when he is on the floor. Powe played center and won the tip in 4 out of 5 games. He out jumped Oden (7'), Yi (7'), Fazekas (6'11") and Felix ((6'9"). Only Jackie Butler (6'10") beat him to the tip. He plays with heart and intensity and his toughness is something the Celtics very much need. I love this kid.
Brandon Wallace was a real find for the the Celtics in this Summer League. He went undrafted mostly because he played center in college and was projected as a 6'9" slightly built power forward. When the Celtics moved him to small forward, he opened quite a few eyes. He has the ability to be a lock down defender at the 3 and is active on the boards along with being a shot blocker as well. Tony Allen is a great defender but struggled when he had to guard the taller 3's. Wallace can fill that void on the team. He is athletic and a very good defender along with having a nice outside shot. He seemed to swoop in from nowhere to block shots and put back misses. He needs experience, but could be a very good player for us. He is worth the contract just to find out. He finished the week averaging 4.2 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist.
Finally, Allan Ray didn't play well enough to remain on the team in my opinion. He struggled with his shot, shooting only 36% from the field. His numbers for summer league were 10.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.4 apg and 1 spg. He is a nice kid and has shown a few flashes of playing well, but doesn't seem to add enough to the team unless Danny moves some other players to create a need for Ray on the team. Danny has until August 1 to decide on keeping Ray or waiving him. I think it will come down to whether Danny is able to make a trade for a big man or bring in a back up PG. If he has to trade a few of our wing players to get a big or a PG, then he may keep Ray on the team.
Overall, it was a good Summer League for the Celtics. Although we finished 3-2 and none of our players garnered any awards in Vegas, we did see some positives from individual players. Davis and Pruitt proved that they can play. Wallace may give us that lock down player at the 3 that we need. Leon Powe showed great improvement over his first year and should be a part of the rotation this season. Rondo proved that he is ready to lead the team. Green was a disappointment in many ways, but I don't think we can give up on him yet. I believe that Danny may move him to bring in a veteran big, but I don't think we can say because of this SL experience that he is gong to be a bust. He is still young and will improve.
The biggest thing we can take from this is that it is just Summer League. We can get excited about players or declare them busts but in fact, Summer League has no bearing on the real NBA. Last year's first team honors from Summer League (both Vegas and Orlando) went to players such as John Lucas III, Casey Jacobson, James Singleton, Earl Barron, Sean May, Adam Morrison, Dorrell Wright and Travis Deiner. Will Bynum was one of the top players last year. In the meantime, Al Jefferson struggled and finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds. The bottom line is that we just can't put too much into what happens in Summer League. You know the saying, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. The best thing about Summer League is that it gives us Celtics junkies like me a chance to watch some basketball in the offseason. [Discuss this topic on the Celtics Green Forums!]