The Summer Celtics failed to capture the Summer League title Tuesday night in Las Vegas, falling 100-67 to Sacramento in the championship game. However, they won’t allow that fact to overshadow their growth and development over the last two and a half weeks.
Summer League Head Coach Joe Mazzulla and wing Aaron Nesmith were the team’s two representatives who spoke to the media following Tuesday’s defeat. While both admitted that a victory over the Kings would have been the preferred outcome, they each pointed toward the growth they’ve both witnessed and displayed since Summer League practice began Aug. 3.
“Everybody’s progression during Summer League, I thought was great,” a very upbeat Mazzulla said after the game. “I thought we got better, and just because we didn’t get the result that we wanted doesn’t mean that we didn’t get better.”
Added Nesmith, “It’s a humbling experience. We played really well the first four games and kinda blew teams out, and to come into this game and kinda be on the other end of the story, it hurts. It sucks. But it’s just motivation to get right back to the drawing board tomorrow morning and get right back to work.”
Nesmith indicated that he plans to step off the plane in Boston and head straight to the gym to work on his game. The C’s might just give him a few days off, however, after his strong display in Las Vegas.
The second-year wing wrapped up his Summer League stint having averaged 17.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game over five contests. He shot 50.0 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from 3-point range. Most importantly, however, he showcased a more versatile offensive game that translates better to the real NBA action he’ll see in the coming months.
“I did a better job of becoming a more multi-dimensional player, moving the ball, putting the ball on the floor, finding open teammates, taking confident shots,” he said. “That’s what I think I expanded [in Vegas].”
“Obviously his shot, I think, improved,” the coach said. “I think he was making the right read and looked a little bit more comfortable off the dribble. Hopefully he can continue that and bring that confidence and that mindset to Training Camp.”
That hope does not begin or end with Nesmith. The same can be said for Payton Pritchard, Romeo Langford, Carsen Edwards, Bruno Fernando and Sam Hauser, all of whom shined individually at times throughout Boston’s five games.
There is no doubt that momentum has been built for these young players, and they don’t plan on allowing Tuesday’s single result to mar that progress.
“We had a ton of fun, and not every moment is going to be what you want,” Mazzulla said of his takeaway from the experience in Vegas. “Things aren’t going to go the way you want them to all the time, and as I said, just how we handle it and how we grow from it matters more than what happened.”
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