The Boston Celtics sent 14 young players to Salt Lake City and Las Vegas for the NBA Summer League. The C's ultimately finished with a 5-3 record in the exhibition and we got a glimpse of the young talent Boston picked up in recent years. Grades for those who spent over an average of 10 minutes on the court in 3+ contests.
We'll start with the oldest:
CJ Fair: C-
Fair saw a good amount of playing time for the C's this summer. He supplied decent scoring off the bench, but his shooting percentages were less than impressive. In Utah, from the floor Fair shot a strong 54.2%, but a measly 16.7% from three. That field goal percentage plummeted in Vegas, though, as Fair shot 31.4% from the floor in five games. His production was solid, scoring over 10 points in four of his eight games, matched with a lot of energy on the boards, which brings him from a high D to a low C.
Jonathan Holmes: A
The forward out of Texas performed well in the minutes he was given. He earned the starting spot in seven of the eight games the C's played and made the most of it. Averaging 10 points/game and five rebounds/game, Holmes put together a great campaign. The former Longhorn also shot the ball well, finishing at 44.4% from the field, and 44.6% from three. One of the most impressive parts of his statline was his PER (30.2), which was good for third place among players in the Summer League. To put that into perspective, the best PER in the NBA this past season was Anthony Davis at 30.8. To be fair, it was a tiny sample size for Holmes, but if he isn't on an NBA roster this upcoming season, it's not because he doesn't belong in the NBA.
Royce O'Neale: F
It seems a bit harsh to give O'neale an F, but I can't justify putting him in the D range. As a starter for the summer squad in six of the eight games, O'neale averaged 3.4 PPG/3.2 RPG/1.5 APG. He also heaved up 12 three point attempts and nailed just two of them. Combine that with an under 35% field goal percentage and you can understand why the small forward didn't find his way into the D range.
Malcolm Miller: B
Miller worked his way into the B's with his ability from behind the arc. The sharpshooter from Holy Cross nailed five for six from deep while also shooting over 50% from the field. That didn't translate to a ton of scoring for the 6-7 forward, but he came in as a solid catch-and-shoot threat for Boston. That was proven especially in 101-69 devastation of the Miami Heat where Miller shot 4-for-4 and tallied 13 points. The only downside to Miller was his lack of contribution in other statistical categories. In the eight games he played, he grabbed nine rebounds and only recorded one assist.
RJ Hunter: C+
Hunter took some time to get started. Drafted by the C's as a known threat from outside, the two-guard out of Georgia State wasn't gun shy in his first few appearances in green and white. That didn't mean he was finding the bottom of the net, though. In Utah, it took him two complete games to get hot, during which time he went 0-for-6 from deep. The last game in Utah, though, Hunter threw up 12 points from behind the arc (on 4-for-4 shooting), and coupled it with a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. The 28th pick then went on to shoot just over 30% through the rest of the Summer League.
Marcus Thornton: Full summer: C Against Miami: A-
It feels like we saw two different players from Thornton this summer. In seven of the eight games, Thornton was complacent. He would get a few minutes off the bench and score a handful of points, maybe forcing a turnover. But then he had his coming out party. In a 21 point outburst against Miami, Thornton controlled each aspect of his game. He went 2-for-2 from outside and 9-for-9 from the charity stripe. The guard exploded for a great outing, even recording two steals.
Jordan Mickey: A+
There's a reason Mickey was just given the biggest contract ever guaranteed to a second round pick. His athleticism, shot-blocking and scoring ability were all on display for Boston fans to fall in love with during the Summer League. In five of the eight games he competed in, the 6-8 forward scored more than 10 points, even picking up three double-doubles. Mickey also continued to stuff the stat sheet with his defensive prowess as he averaged 2.4 blocks/game. One of the (few) downsides for Mickey was foul trouble. He fouled out once and finished with five fouls a handful of times. Otherwise, Boston clearly hit gold with their pick of Jordan Mickey in the early second round.
Marcus Smart: B+
Smart played fantastically through the first three games of the Summer League. Strong outings offensively, but not the best shooting percentages. The 2014 number six pick shot 35.6% from the field through five games and under 30% from three. Defensively, though, Smart was lethal. At least two steals in each of his five games to put him at 2.4 steals/game in the exhibition. He wasn't able to play in the last three games, though, as he left Vegas with two dislocated fingers, sidelining him for the next couple weeks.
Terry Rozier: B+/A-
Please note: This grade is given generously. Rozier did have a strong summer performance, numerous games he scored in double digits and he was a solid contributor on both ends of the floor. But, he was inconsistent at times. Aside from his clutch three in the first round of the Vegas playoffs, he only scored six points against the Spurs on a 1-for-12 night from the floor. When Rozier was on, he was filthy, but in the three games he couldn't get hot, he could hardly locate the bottom of the net, he looked sluggish on the floor, and he was quiet offensively. All in all, Rozier showed a lot of potential for what we can expect to come from the 16th pick in this years draft.
James Young: C+
Young, going into his second season in the NBA bounced between the Celtics and the D-League last year. We saw glimpses of his talent throughout the season, especially with Maine, but he still can't quite find his shot as shown in the Summer League. Young put up decent numbers in the scoring column, but off of rough nights shooting. From the field, he shot 27.1% and under 25% from deep. It wasn't until the final contest for the Celtics that Young was able to have a good game, in which he put up 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and added three assists and a steal. Aside from that, though, Young needs to regain his confidence to secure his spot on the Celtics roster this upcoming season.
Overall, the team had a good summer in Utah and Vegas. After a slow start, they jumped ahead and had compelling performances that will have Celtics fans excited about the up and coming young core that the C's are cultivating.
Photo Credit: NBA.com Bart Young, Melissa Majchrzak, Jack Arent. Topher Lane is on Twitter, @Topher_L