Success: How the Summer C's Capitalized on Trip to Vegas
LAS VEGAS – One word can be used to describe the Summer Celtics’ 10-day stay in Las Vegas: success.No, the team did not win a title, but all of its top young players showcased their high talent and upside. There’s a reason why Boston entered the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed before falling to the Grizzlies Saturday afternoon, 94-88.
Carsen Edwards Has a Hidden Talent
Boston’s No. 33 overall pick averaged 19.3 points per game through five contests, culminating with a 25-point effort Saturday afternoon. It was his defense, however, that quietly garnered attention.Edwards is built like an NFL running back, and he used his strong build to defend at a high level in Vegas. One coach went as far to suggest that Edwards might be the most ready-made defender among Boston’s rookies. Celtics.com asked Edwards about the talk about his defense, and he said, “What were they saying about me defensively?” After being told that he was compared to a pit-bull, Edwards smiled and said, “Ah, cool.” He wants to be a great defender in addition to being a scorer. He showed that he has the potential to achieve that goal.
Grant Williams Is Just Good
If you were hoping for Grant Williams to score 25 points every night, you’ll be let down. If you’re hoping for him to be very good in many different areas of the game, you should be excited.In five games, Williams maxed out at 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists, but it was his all-around impact that stood out. Williams showcased a very high basketball IQ, an ability to score through contact, a 3-point shot, and an ability to serve as a versatile and smart defender. He is the definition of a glue player who can slide into any role and make teammates better simply with his presence.
Robert Williams is Expanding His Game
Robert Williams capitalized on head coach Scott Morrison running some offense through him. Williams had been known exclusively as a dunker and shot-blocker, but he showed in Vegas that he has the potential to really pass the ball.“His passing and spacing and kind of offensive IQ on the offensive side of the ball has really improved,” Morrison said after the C’s were eliminated. “We’ve just got to get that motor going a little bit more on the pick-and-rolls and he’ll be a real threat.” You’ll still see Williams serving as a screen-and-roller next season, but don’t be surprised if you also see him making some nice passes.
Tremont Waters is Tough as Nails
Many players have used the basketball court as their sanctuary during difficult times. Tremont Waters did so Saturday afternoon.Waters, who lost his father this week, remained with the Celtics and played 32 minutes Saturday afternoon. Not only did he play, but he scored 16 points and dished out three assists, which showed just how mentally tough the 21-year-old is. “I think he thought that was the best way he wanted to deal with it,” Morrison said. “Not that it’s important, but I thought he played great, especially under all of those considerations. He’s got a bright future.”
Tacko Fall is on the Rise
Somehow, Tack Fall went undrafted last month. He showed in Vegas that he was worth a second-round gamble.The 7-foot-6 center played very well for the Celtics, all the while bringing the crowd to its feet as a cult hero. He showcased that he isn’t just a marvel; he really has a chance to be an NBA player. “I think he’s shown that he’s capable and worthy of a spot (in the NBA),” Morrison said. “The knocks against him were the obvious ones: he can’t move, he can’t run, he’s too slow, all those things. I think he had a lot of moments this week where he showed he can keep up with the pace, catch the ball, keep it up and finish.” Surely, the combination of Fall’s size, abilities and popularity have piqued the interest of many teams.
This Was a True Team
As crazy as it sounds, the 2018-19 Celtics could have learned a thing or two from these Summer Celtics. These players never had issues with the roles they were given, or with what was asked of them. This group was the definition of a team.“Great character kids,” Morrison said after their elimination. “They wanted to be coached. They wanted to work hard. They wanted to play together for the most part.” Even when they were down by 16 points during the second quarter Saturday afternoon, those traits carried through. “A lot of teams in that situation probably die and pack it in, and our guys really rose to the challenge,” said Morrison. “Maybe didn’t have their best game overall, but the effort was certainly there in the second half, and that’s all you can ask for.” -- Anyone who watched or cheered for this group can say that they had a whole lot of fun during the last 10 days. These Summer Celtics did everything the right way. They showcased their potential, they won four out of five games, and they truly enjoyed one another. That’s everything Boston’s front office could have hoped for during the Summer Celtics’ stay in Las Vegas. Consider this trip a success.