Analyzing a basketball team based upon their summer league performance is akin to predicting how well a baseball team will perform based upon how stocked their minor league system is. It is nothing more than a chance for the younger players on the squad to learn to work together and get some work in during the offseason. If a team does well in the week of play, it just means the players were able to gel and get the job done.
For the Boston Celtics, the summer squad finished with a 4-1 record and gave coaches a good look at a couple of players that have the slimmest of shots to make the final roster heading into the season. The standout summer league stars and newest rookies will likely have a place on the team, while the better players will be sent to the D-League, and the remaining players will be cut, scrambling to find work where they can.
With E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson, and Sean Williams leaving town in the deal that brought Courtney Lee to Boston, summer league standout Dionte Christmas will have a chance to prove his worth in camp.
Christmas finished the five-game series averaging 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. He shot 47.9 percent from the field and 45.0 percent from three-point range. It was this performance that earned him a partially guaranteed contract and an invitation to training camp.
In addition to Christmas, Boston's top pick in the 2012 Draft, Jered Sullinger shined averaging 11.2 points and over eight rebounds per game over the five-game schedule. Concerns over his back which caused him to drop deep in the first round enabling Boston to grab him were quickly laid to rest as he impressed early on. His play was a bit sloppy at times but that is certainly expected from any rookie coming in. He can be expected to make a contribution to the Celtics this coming season.
The surprise of the summer league came from the inconsistent play by rookie Fab Melo. He did not do anything wrong, but also did not live up to expectations. Melo, like Sullinger have a wealth of potential, it simply needs to be realized.
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