Key Celtics Stories To Watch At The Start Of The Summer League – NBC Boston
Forsberg: Key Celtics storylines to watch early in Summer League originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics are back on the court on Sunday as the Summer Cs kick off a 10-day trip to Las Vegas NBA Summer League with a tilt against the Atlanta Hawks (4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Boston).
Here are eight things we’ll have an eye on as the younger Celtics warm us up for the 2021-22 season:
Editor’s Note: Our Celtics vs. Hawks coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET Sunday. You can watch on NBC Sports Boston, the NBC Sports Boston live stream, or the MyTeams app.
It’s probably unfair to expect too much from the 2020 Yam Madar hideout, but we’ve watched enough grainy YouTube highlights from the 20-year-old playmaker to be completely intrigued by this international man of mystery.
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Madar doesn’t need to live up to the “Israeli Steph Curry” hype, but can he lead an attack with confidence and use his length to be an impact defender? After saying he plans to join the Celtics this season, can Madar show enough to really force Boston to wear him as a depth option behind Marcus Smart, Payton Pritchard and Kris Dunn?
Madar has performed with an obvious flair overseas and we can’t wait to see if he can bring it to a Vegas stage.
Health concerns and the pandemic have denied Romeo Langford’s summer reps for the past two seasons. We all know what Langford is capable of defensively thanks to his regular season reps, but Vegas is the chance to show off his offensive potential.
We’d love to see the Summer Cs put the ball back into Langford’s hands and let him facilitate the offense at times. Former Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge used to gush at Langford’s pick-and-roll potential, and with his perimeter shooting underway, Langford must find other ways to ‘have a more constant impact on the offense.
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“I feel like I really haven’t shown about everything I’m really capable of,” Langford said last week. as if I had shown that I was capable of playing defensively and pretty well.
“So it’s just an addition of what I’m able to do, and knowing I’ve been injured my entire career every summer, and now this is my first summer where I’m not injured and I’m able to being healthy and not having surgery and stuff like that, being able to play all season, I feel like it’s more of my rookie year just because of the setbacks and things that happened in my career so far.
Aaron Three Blacksmith
Aaron Nesmith’s infectious energy has helped him carve out a stable role at the end of the 2020-21 season. Now we can’t wait to see if he can harness some of that vigor and play with even more consistency in his second campaign.
The Celtics desperately need to shoot Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and Nesmith should look quite good next season when he is on the pitch with the Jays. Shooting 37% as a rookie was an encouraging sight, but he can get even trickier at creating open looks beyond the arc for himself.
Nesmith made his mark last year by regularly smashing the offensive glass and playing with searing energy. Can he keep that intensity but play with more control this season?
After a strong rookie season, the next step for Payton Pritchard is to be able to execute an offense with confidence. He’ll knock down shots and show deep reach, and he can probe a defense with confidence without picking up his dribble. But can he get good shots from his teammates and be more of a distributor this season?
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Pritchard’s attendance rate was only 13.3% last season, ranking in the 23rd percentile among all combo guards, according to data from Cleaning the Glass. His shot is vital, but as Marcus Smart rises to the point of playmaker, the Celtics need someone who can confidently lead the second-team attack.
More than an offense
We all know Carsen Edwards is capable of the occasional offensive breakout and that being able to knock down shots in a more consistent way is important to maintain his place in the squad. But we’d just love to see him impact the game in another way during Boston’s summer stay.
Edwards played sparingly in 68 NBA appearances. Shooting 30.2% beyond the arc did not help his cause. But we have to see something else that justifies keeping him on the roster again for the 2021-22 season.
Celtics second-round pick Juhann Begarin was a late addition to the summer squad. The 18-year-old Frenchman is obviously pretty raw and will certainly spend the next season perfecting his game abroad.
But can he show some flashes of potential in the Summer League? His YouTube clips are super intriguing and he has an obvious athleticism. But the Summer League will show how much Begarin needs to develop to be ready for the NBA scene.
The Hauser hype
Each NBA team is looking for its own Duncan Robinson. At 6-foot-8 with a soft touch of shooting, the undrafted Hauser has a chance to be a summer darling after joining the Celtics on a 2-way deal. He shot 41.7% on six 3-point-per-game attempts last season at Virginia (and 44.5% in three seasons at Marquette).
The Celtics haven’t been able to consistently lean on their two-way guys in recent years, but Hauser’s shot could be a real luxury.
Prez Brad at work
The Celtics have 15 players in their roster, but that shouldn’t stop new president of basketball operations Brad Stevens from tinkering around. Whether it’s the quest for more flexibility or trying to fill in some of the shortcomings in the 2021-22 roster (power depth forward?), We can’t wait to see if Stevens makes any further moves. with all his NBA GM brothers in Vegas this week.