Editor’s note: This post is from Jordan Higgs. He is likely to be one of Celtics Town’s initial crop of interns, who are plotting to take over the world one blog post at a time. Due to other obligations I still haven’t watched the entire game. But from what I’ve watched (the second half), well, JARED MOTHER-F%$&ING SULLINGER!!!!!
If you also want to apply for an intern position, email jayking (at) celticstown (dot) com.
Everyone knows that the impressions left from the first Summer League game are season defining, sometimes career defining. Everyone also knows the previous statement is not true; these games are just a great way for players to learn, try new things and make an impression, preferably a good one, on the coaching staff. Without further ado, here are a few thoughts from the Boston Celtics’ first Summer League game, a 73-65 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder:
Jared Sullinger (20 points, six rebounds) undoubtedly was the star of the Prove-Em-Wrong Bowl, out-dueling fellow draftee Perry Jones III in the second half to lead his team to a 73-65 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. In some ways a quiet first half was actually a good thing for Sullinger too. He played within himself and tried to get his teammates involved, only taking over when the game was slipping away. Yes, Sullinger took three triples (he made one) and reminds me of Glen Davis, but he looked really promising. My favorite thing was his ability to finish through contact and make his free throws. Sullinger isn’t likely to finish thunderous dunks above the rim, but if his skill set proves as versatile and consistent as it did on Day 1, Celtics fans are going to be happy with this pick for a long time.
E’twaun Moore is not a point guard. I’ve never thought he was, but this outing really cemented it in my mind. Moore scored 16 points on 16 shots, but if you take away two technical free throws it’s really 14 points on 16 shots. Not the best outing. There were a lot of times when Moore would drive into the lane and elevate, and instead of kicking out to the open man he would take the shot, and miss. Moore salvaged his day with two daggers in the fourth quarter to seal the Celtics victory. Moore is fearless; I’ll give him that. He finished tied for the team lead in assists (4) in addition to shot attempts.
JaJuan Johnson was there. I don’t really have much else to say about JaJuan — his game really put a damper on my ability to jump to wild conclusions. I don’t remember too much about it but the box score (JaJuan is the only person who I didn’t remember the majority of his statistics off the top of my head, so I guess that says something) tells me that he took five shots and only made one. I do remember JaJuan getting knocked all over the place in the post by pretty much anyone the Thunder guarded him with. He did grab eight rebounds, though, which was pretty solid considering the beating he took down low. I’d like to see the Celtics run more pick and pop for him and see how he does with that.
Fab Melo was the most encouraging version of what I expected. He felt like the only real center the Celtics had at their disposal and despite that, he got absolutely shredded in one-on-one defense. He was a very good help defender and had two block shots. He didn’t demand the ball on offense (which is good because E’twaun wouldn’t have given it to him), missed a jump hook and made a 15-footer. I need to see more. He was a very good communicator on defense though, which was a positive sign.
Kris Joseph started the game off very well and then disappeared; he only got 17 minutes of playtime. I remember moments from Kris Joseph and they’re all positive: A few shots, lose balls, tough rebounds, steals. I was most impressed by his ability to pick up man defense so quickly after four years at Syracuse with Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone. I liked Joseph; we’ll see.
I am the president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and only member of the Sean Williams fan club. Williams started the day off very well, grabbing a rebound or making a basket here or there, he was really the biggest standout of the first quarter. He played fantastic defense on Cole Aldrich (not sure whether to credit Williams or blame Aldrich) and showed the ability to bother everyone on the floor with his absurd length. Then at the beginning of the second half Williams’ brain fell out and he took a three, got pulled from the game, and didn’t play again until the final minutes. Is this what Wizards fans felt while watching Javale McGee? Can I just shrug and say “Sean Williams” and everyone will accept it as an occasional brain fart? Either way, if he wants his contract with the Celtics to become guaranteed, he might want to leave the three-point aspirations to Andrew Bynum.
Dionte Christmas was on display for the Celtics after playing overseas for a few different teams, and his professional experience showed. If I were E’Twaun Moore, Christmas (not Santa, presents, reindeer and ornaments, but the player) would terrify me. Dionte is a real SG who scored 10 points on nine shots, led the team in rebounds (10) despite standing just 6’5”, and also had the same number of assists (4) as E’Twaun. The best thing about Dionte is his last name, as we can call every assist he gets a Christmas “gift.” Honestly, I don’t know how E’twaun can compete with that. Christmas is definitely someone to watch this next week (he’ll be playing for the Rockets in Vegas Summer League if nothing changes).
One other thing really stood out to me from the first day of Summer League: Craig Brackins really should have picked another team to play with. He’s got talent, but the Celtics have four young big men they’re trying to develop. I feel sorry for him, especially since he has an awesome Mohawk-thing going on. Hopefully he’ll get a little more playing time on Day 2.
The Celtics play the Nets at 5 p.m. ET for Summer League Day 2. You should tune in, since it’s probably the only chance you’ll have to see Fab Melo block Adam Morrison this summer.