The Celtics saw their Vegas Summer League play come to a close on Sunday after they fell to the Trailblazers 95-80. It was a game where the Celtics seemed to be outmatched from the opening tip, as they only led twice throughout the whole contest. As has been typical of the varsity squad, the summer Celtics hung around through standard scrappy determination. However it was clear by the end of the third quarter that the Blazers were simply too talented.
That’s not exactly a surprise, as the Blazers had forged an impressive roster (by summer league standards) of players with NBA talent. Wade Baldwin IV, John Jenkins, Georgios Papagiannis, Archie Goodwin, Caleb Swanigan, Zach Collins, and Anfernee Simons were all drafted in the first round. Jake Layman is a second round pick who would occasionally sneak into the regular Blazers’ rotation over the past two years. KJ McDaniels was also a second round pick and he has played over 2000 NBA minutes, some of them important. That’s a lot of pedigree for one summer league squad.
Comparatively, the Celtics fielded exactly one player on Sunday whom was drafted. This was due to first round pick Robert Williams sitting with an injury and former second round picks Jabari Bird and Semi Ojeleye’s DNP status due to rest. Instead, the Celtics fielded their 2016 #16 overall pick Guerschon Yabusele as the roster’s sole drafted representative. This reads as alarming to some parts of Celtics Nation, as Yabusele is the Celtics lone first round pick on the roster who has not cracked the rotation yet. The fact that the Celtics chose to rest Jabari Bird, a current restricted free agent who isn’t even on the Celtics current roster, over an almost lottery pick was going to give some people anxiety.
Perhaps this has contributed to the increased rumblings about what Yabusele’s role will be with the team going forward. The Celtics are slated to have a crowded roster heading into this season. Barring an exceptional instance of the Sacramento Kings doing Kings things, Marcus Smart seems destined to be back in Boston for at least one more year on his qualifying offer. Jabari Bird’s impressive end to the season and Summer League has Green Teamers baying for the Celtics to match offers he may receive. All of this is coming amidst the Celtics only having a single (non-two way) roster spot open and a (vaguely) possible tax cut down looming in preparation for the repeater tax in 2022-2023.
Fans are looking for possible cuts or inefficient spending and many are turning their spotlight on Yabusele. The Celtics will have a decision before November of this year on whether or not to pick up Yabu’s team option for the 2019-2020 season. That will have many asking the same question: “should the Celtics commit a roster spot and salary on championship squad to Guerschon Yabusele?”
As the scout in Keith’s piece mentioned, Yabu developed bad habits as a star in China. The NBA demands that Yabusele box out and rotate, two things that he has really struggled with early in his career. He finished the season behind the rest of the Celtics bigs and Semi in contested rebound percentage, clocking in just behind Smart at a 30.8 contested rebound percentage per NBA.com. Watching every one of Yabusele’s rebounds from the 2017-18 season, it’s miraculous that it was that high. Many of Yabu’s defensive rebounds came off of free throw misses or in an uncontested setting. This play highlights why that might be, as Yabusele fails to put a body on the corner crasher, but retrieves the ball due to a lucky carom.
This news has been published by title Boston Celtics Rookie Jabari Bird Remains Around Team: \'I Want To Be Here As Long As Possible\'
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