Chris Babb Signs with Celtics: Call-Up Breakdown

An NBA D-League prospect doesn't need to score 20 points or grab 10 rebounds or dish out 10 assists to attract attention from the next level. NBA teams are mining the minor league not for potential stars but for role players, and no one is a better example of that than Chris Babb, who the Celtics signed to a 10-day contract on Friday.

Babb never averaged more than 9.3 points per game in college (at Penn State and Iowa State). He never shot better than 41% from the field or 39% from three. In 33 games with the Maine Red Claws this season, he's averaging 12.0 points per game on 38% shooting. But at a stout 6-5, 225 pounds, he has two above-average skills to hang his hat on: outside shooting and perimeter defense, making him a "3-and-D" target similar to the Celtics' last Call-Up, RGV's Chris Johnson.

And like Johnson, Babb has proven to be a heady player who understands the new-age view of shot selection that's sweeping through the game. He's taken 33 shots from mid-range all season, which accounts for 10% of his total shot attempts; in fact, 69% of his shots this season have come from beyond the arc, making his effective field-goal percentage a much more palatable 50.3% (see shot chart on right). He's also shown a better-than-expected floor game, with a sparkling 2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio that ranks sixth in the league.

The Celtics are grabbing Babb while he's hot, as he's shooting 41% from deep in February while launching seven treys a night. And they're surely aware of this fact, consider that they've kept him at arm's length since September, when he participating in Boston's training camp before suiting up in green during the preseason.

“Chris Babb has been one of the best workers, has had one of the best attitudes and been one of the best teammates since day one,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters after Babb scored 12 points in a preseason game. “[His performance] is not at all a surprise to me.”

Boston tabbed him as one of its affiliate players, giving them four months to evaluate his play in nearby Portland, Maine. He's now the seventh prospect this month to be called up by his NBADL team's NBA affiliate.