Four Newest Signees Bring Variety of Skills to C’s
BOSTON – Tacko Fall, Javonte Green, Max Strus and Tremont Waters each made an impact on the Boston Celtics’ 2019 Summer League squad – enough so that the organization couldn’t part ways with any of them after the summer session came to an end.
The team announced Thursday that it will be holding onto all four players for the foreseeable future, as it signed each onto its roster in some form.
For those fans who didn’t catch all of the Summer League action, or simply just want to know more background info on Boston’s newest signees, we’ve put together player capsules on each of them.
Despite going undrafted in June, Tacko Fall was the most publicized figure throughout all of the Summer League. Fans flocked to Thomas & Mack Center to see the 7-foot-6 wonder, who towered above every player he competed with or against.
Though, it soon became clear that Fall was more than just a freakishly tall athlete; he displayed skill and agility that complemented his size, which made him into a top priority for the Celtics to hang onto.
The 23-year-old Senegalese big man tallied 7.2 PPG on 77.0 percent shooting in Vegas, while also logging 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. What’s remarkable is that he recorded those numbers while playing only 12.6 minutes per game, thus he averaged 20.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per 36 minutes.
Fall's outstanding shooting efficiency this summer was not a fluke. During four years at the University of Central Florida, he shot 73.96 percent from the field, which is the highest mark in NCAA history by more than six percentage points.
Opposing Summer League defenses didn’t stand a chance whenever Fall received the ball in the low post, where he’d often rise an inch or two for a comically easy dunk. And no one dared to take him one-on-one on the other end of the court, where he often punished those who tried with an emphatic swat of the ball.
Javonte Green was a name that most Celtics fans probably didn’t recognize when Boston’s 2019 Summer League roster was first released, but that changed once the 6-foot-5 wing began punishing rims in Vegas.
Green was an energetic force for the Celtics on both sides of the ball, unleashing mighty slam dunks on the offensive end, while hampering opposing scorers on the defensive side of the ball.
“He’s special,” Morrison told the Boston Globe of Green, who averaged 10.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game, all while shooting 50.0 percent from the field during the summer session. “Getting out in transition, he’s a beast. If you can get him downhill with a little momentum, he can get to the rim on two dribbles, and obviously defensively he’s been disrupting people with his defense all week. Obviously we’ve been preaching to him to win people over with his defense and they can stay for his offense.”
The 26-year-old joins the Celtics with a few seasons of professional experience already under his belt. After starring at Radford University from 2011 to 2015, Green journeyed overseas and played four seasons across three different leagues. He secured LEB Oro league MVP honors during his first pro season, after averaging 18.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 2.2 SPG for Marin Peixegalego.
Another undrafted free agent whom the Celtics quickly pounced upon this summer was Max Strus. The DePaul product proved why during four games of Summer League action, as he poured in 39 points over 72 minutes of playing time.
Strus was one of the top 3-point threats in the nation this past collegiate season, finishing 11th in long-distance makes (113 in 35 games) in all of Division I, while ranking third in the Big East in scoring at 20.9 PPG. The Hickory Hills, Illinois native dropped in 30-plus points on six occasions, including a career-high 43-point effort March 3 against St. John’s.
Strus has shown that he is by no means a one-dimensional player, as he also made a significant mark on the defensive end throughout his college career, and also during the recent NBA summer session. That combination of skills is what enticed the Celtics to sign him to a two-way contract, which will allow him to split time between the C’s and their G League affiliate Maine Red Claws.
“I think he’s probably going to be a steal if he’s healthy,” Morrison said of Strus. “I think he’s going to get out there and be a potential 3-and-D guy in the NBA.”
So, we’ve got a massive post presence in Fall, an athletic, experienced vet in Green, and a 3-and-D stud in Strus. That brings us to the flashy playmaker of the group – Tremont Waters.
The 51st overall pick of this year’s draft was one of the first players who made a positive impression on Morrison as the summer squad assembled for its first few practices. The coach noted how much heart the 5-foot-11 guard had from the get-go, as well his strong ability to run the point.
“I thought people would have a knock on him that he’s smaller and maybe that’s why he didn’t get drafted higher or whatever the case may be,” Morrison said after the third practice of the summer. “But I’m a sucker for guys that make good reads, make the right read depending on what the defense gives you and that’s his specialty, so he’s had some nifty passed out there already, he makes good reads, and he’s shown a little bit of a shooting ability that maybe we weren’t expecting.”
Waters’ adept ability to find the open man is what allowed him to become one of the most prolific passers in LSU history. He dished out 5.9 APG to go along with 15.6 PPG during his two seasons in Baton Rouge, and even broke former No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons’ freshman assist record in 2017-18 when he dished out 198 total dimes.
The 21-year-old was also the most productive passer on Boston’s summer squad, as he averaged a team-leading 4.8 APG to go along with 11.2 PPG and 2.0 SPG over 24.4 minutes of action.