|Celtics Player Preview: James Young||09.22.16 at 3:24 pm ET|
With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.
23 games with D-League’s Maine Red Claws: 28.3 minutes, 15.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals
After a decent rookie season in the D-League, Young had a rough sophomore campaign — one that had Celtics fans questioning his future in the NBA. In 29 games with the Celtics, he managed to only score 29 points, grab 68 rebounds and dish out nine assists. Young still has a ways to go in reaching his full potential as the 21-year-old heads toward his third year in the league. But after seeing rookies like R.J. Hunter and Terry Rozier earn more playing time than Young last season — especially in the postseason — it raises the question: Is there space for Young on the 2016-17 Celtics?
Projected role in 2016-17
Young’s scoring will make or break his chances of making the team this year. If he can hit 3-pointers at a high level throughout the preseason, he will have a spot on the back end of the 15-man roster. The Celtics are always looking to improve on their outside shooting. Young has shown glimpses of stellar 3-point shooting, but he’s going to have to piece it together and soon.
|Celtics waive shooting guard John Holland||08.31.16 at 8:29 pm ET|
The Celtics announced Wednesday afternoon that they waived shooting guard John Holland. Above all else, it was more of a courtesy to the 6-foot-5 Holland, who was very much at the bottom of the C’s totem pole and highly unlikely to make the final roster.
A source told Celticsblog that the 27-year-old has offers in both the United States and Europe.
The swingman form the Bronx played at Boston University, then went overseas before making a return to the United States, signing with the Canton Charge of the D-League last Dec. 23. He signed a non-guaranteed two-year deal with the Celtics in April and appeared in just one game: the second game of the Celtics’ playoff series against the Hawks, in which he played less than a minute.
From a development standpoint, the decision makes plenty of sense. Even with a solid camp, Holland likely still would be deep on the bench had he even made the NBA roster. That, in turn, would steal a roster spot from the likes of Ben Bentil, R.J. Hunter or James Young — individuals the Celtics have invested much more in.
|R.J. Hunter on competing for a roster spot: ‘I trust myself more than ever’||08.30.16 at 11:37 am ET|
R.J. Hunter should not be in the position he is in.
The incessant griping about the Celtics’ lack of perimeter shooting is justified, with there being few — if any — options both in the starting lineup and off the bench for reliable 3-point shooting.
However, Hunter, a first-round pick in 2015, is known for his shot, so this should be his wheelhouse. Instead, he’s on the fringe of making the final 15-man roster.
“It’s just spurts where it’s like, ‘Bro, what I am I doing wrong?’ ” Hunter said, speaking to MassLive.com on Saturday at the Basketball Hall of Fame. “And it’s nothing. You’re just on a really good team.”
Hunter brings up a good point. On most any other NBA team, Hunter would have been a much more heavily utilized asset, not the eight minutes per game player he was in his 36 NBA games last season. Conversely, the 22-year-old didn’t do himself many favors when given the opportunity from Brad Stevens to play.
The shooting guard shot a pedestrian 30.2 percent from 3, while putting together a 36.7 percent field goal percentage, totaling a 2.7 points per game total over the course of the season. As a result of the underwhelming performances, he found himself in the D-League for eight games during the middle of the season. While there he shot slightly worse from 3-point range than in the NBA, with a 29.6 percent mark, but ultimately averaged 13.8 points per game.
“At that point, it was just so completely mental,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, my ego got in the way of me making shots. It was almost like for me, whatever I do, I’m in the D-League, and if I don’t do well, it looks worse. And that’s just the wrong attitude to have instead of just going in there. When you have that mentality, now I’m rushing shots. I’m not finishing shots. I’m not really putting in preparation like I have to on every shot. That’s part of growing up, though — you’re in the league, and you’re caught up in it.”
|Breaking down current Celtics roster: Who makes final 15-man cut?||07.28.16 at 3:30 pm ET|
If all things stay the same for the Celtics by the time training camp begins in late September, there’s going to be some trimming that will need to take place before the regular season tips off.
Here are a few things about roster sizes:
1. A team can carry 20 players on their training camp roster, and often times will sign players to training camp contracts bringing the size of that roster up to or near that number.
2. A team can carry a maximum of 15 players on their regular season roster.
So that creates something of a problem for the Celtics, who, after making the signings of five more players official Wednesday are carrying a roster of 18 players.
So barring a trade or another signing, who would be out and in for the Celtics once the season begins?
Here’s a breakdown of the Celtics roster as it stands currently:
Guards: Avery Bradley, John Holland, R.J. Hunter, Demetrius Jackson, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, James Young.
Forwards: Ben Bentil, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder, Gerald Green, Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson, Jordan Mickey
Centers: Al Horford, Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller
There are plenty of players on this roster would be locks to make the 15-man cut. There are a group of players who could be left in limbo, however, including Bentil, Mickey, Young, Holland, Jackson and Hunter.
There are a few interesting cases here — namely Mickey, Young and Hunter.
|Jordan Mickey, Abdel Nader shine for Celtics in summer lague||07.11.16 at 11:15 am ET|
In a game where the Celtics struggled offensively, some unusual suspects led the scoring for Boston.
Jordan Mickey carried the Celtics in their second game of the Las Vegas Summer League, totaling 18 points and six rebounds in an 87-74 loss to the Suns. The LSU product played in just his second summer game, but looked comfortable out on the court. He managed to convert on extra looks in the post in the fourth quarter to help Boston cut into the Suns lead. Mickey, 22, also excelled on the defensive end, stuffing Phoenix big man Marquese Chriss on a transition layup that riled up the crowd.
— Rookie Abdel Nader came off the bench to provide a spark for the Celtics, scoring 13 points and tying Mickey in rebounds with six. The 22-year-old showed a lot of promise scoring off of the dribble and created scoring opportunities for himself with ease. He has made smart decisions with the ball in his hands, and the No. 58 overall pick of this year’s draft should see an increase in minutes in the future.
“You’ll probably see him in the starting lineup next game,” C’s coach Jamie Young said of Nader following the loss.
— R.J. Hunter dropped 17 points in over 26 minutes, shooting 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point line and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. The most impressive part of Hunter’s game, however, was his tenacity. He got into a tangle with Suns star Devin Booker in the second quarter and stepped up his aggressiveness until he was taken out of the game. The Georgia State product would eventually get a nice block on Booker off the dribble, highlighting the second-year guards hustle. He’ll need to fully utilize that tenacity if he wants to break into Brad Stevens’ rotation this season.
|Guerschon Yabusele, James Young deliver big efforts in Celtics’ summer league win over Jazz||07.06.16 at 1:33 pm ET|
When the Celtics selected French forward Guerschon Yabusele with the No. 16 pick in last month’s draft, it came as a surprise — and it didn’t sit well with some Celtics fans who were hoping the team would draft a more recognizable name.
Yabusele didn’t help his cause in the Celtics’ summer league opener on Monday, tallying just five points and six rebounds and looking uncomfortable on the court. But on Tuesday he showed why the C’s considered him worthy of a mid-first-round pick.
Starting at center, the 6-foot-8, 240-pounder scored on Boston’s first possession, catching the ball at the 3-point line, driving right and then finishing with a nifty left-handed reverse against second-year Jazz center Tibor Pleiss, who at 7-foot-3 stands almost a half-foot taller than Yabusele.
Yabusele finished with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting and eight rebounds in 24 1/2 minutes. He had a memorable stint late in the game when he pursued Jazz point guard Marcus Paige from behind and blocked his layup bid, then ran down the court and got a layup.
He was one of four Celtics in double figures as Boston posted an 89-82 victory.
“Everybody came in and gave us a big lift,” Celtics summer league coach Micah Strawberry said. “Guys made big shots when they were called upon, and it was good to see. It was fun to see the bench cheering each other on, the guys that are out there.”
|Full Court Press: James Young has another chance to impress in summer league, Guerschon Yabusele is a ‘big dancing bear’||07.02.16 at 10:36 pm ET|
James Young is determined to make this summer different.
The 17th overall pick of the Celtics in the 2014 NBA draft has been slowed by injuries in his first two offseasons, as he has tried to make the right impression on Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge in summer league action.
Still just 20 years old, Young is starting to feel a little urgency to make a name for himself as the team has drafted the likes of Jaylen Brown, Demetrius Jackson, Ben Bentil and Guerschon Yabusele. All four of those players will join Young on the Celtics’ 2016 summer league squad, which begins action Monday in Salt Lake City against the Sixers.
Remarkably, Young is the only player on the 14-player roster who will be playing his third straight summer league for the Celtics.
“I barely played the first two I was here both years so why not come back for a third and play a full? So that’s why I’m here just to do, just go out there and play basketball,” Young said Friday. “I’ve just been working on my overall game. Nothing specific, just everything. And everything’s starting to come together. I’m just ready to go out there and just play strong.”
Last year in summer league, Young averaged just 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in five games. He struggled badly from the field, shooting just 27.1 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from beyond the arc. This season, he bounced back and forth between Maine and Boston over 10 times, appearing in three of the Celtics’ six playoff games while averaging 14.8 and 5.6 rebounds in 16 games for the Red Claws.
“The thing about it is you think James has been forever,” said Micah Shrewsberry, who will coach Young and the Celtics summer team in Utah. “Man, he’s still 20 years old. I looked at different rosters the other day. James is still younger than almost everybody on Utah’s roster. He’s a young guy. He’s still learning. He’s been great. We’re trying, with an opportunity like this, for him to be able to use his voice more, something that he doesn’t do during the season when the older guys are doing a lot more talking. He can do that a little bit, he can lead, kind of come out of his shell a little bit. And then get more opportunities to play, show what he can do, have fun with it.”
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