Celtics' Jordan Mickey named D-League player of the month for December

Celtics rookie power forward Jordan Mickey may not have a place in Boston's crowded frontcourt right now, but he's been lighting up the NBA D-League for Maine, becoming the first Red Claw to be named the D-League player of the month. The former LSU Tiger averaged 19.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.4 blocks per game in December, numbers which are especially impressive in a fast-paced league that generally inflates backcourt players' stats.

He capped off the month with his first triple double, a 13-point, 13-rebound, 10-block performance in a 119-112 win over Texas on New Year's Eve:

Mickey has played in 17 games for the Red Claws, recording 18.1 points, 10.6 boards and 4.7 blocks. Maine is in second place in the Atlantic Division at 11-7, 1.5 games behind the Westchester Knicks, and has won seven of its last 10. The 6'8" rookie has appeared in just three games for the Celtics.

As ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg reports, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has taken notice of Mickey's strong performances, while cautioning that he still has to further develop his game.

"I think he's done a lot of good things," said the coach. "Some things that will really be able to translate, I think. And some things that he just needs to continue to improve upon. He's closer to ready than ever before because of his continued work."

As long as the Celtics' roster remains intact, Mickey will not see meaningful playing time this season. But as the trade deadline draws nearer and the rumor mill inevitably begins to swirl around Danny Ainge and Boston, the possibility of an opening in the frontcourt for a fast-improving youngster may begin to seem less far-fetched.

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Photo credit: Joel Page/Portland Press Herald