The roster won’t have the same star power as the last two seasons, but there is still plenty on the line for young pieces on the Celtics summer league squad this year. There are three NBA bigs on the roster (Robert Williams, Guerschon Yabusele and Semi Ojeleye), along with a pair of two-way wings (Jabari Bird and Kadeem Allen), so this group should be strong from a defensive standpoint. Without Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum to carry the scoring load this year, opportunities will be plentiful for others to make a meaningful impression and help solidify their NBA future.
What exactly should Celtics fans be watching for in Las Vegas while keeping the future in mind? Here are five storylines to keep an eye on:
1. Will Guerschon Yabusele show enough to get his team option picked up in the fall? The lovable Frenchmen will be playing his second summer league stint in Las Vegas (he also played in 2016 before being stashed in China). The power forward did not have many opportunities with the big club last season but he stood out on a few occasions, due to his confident 3-point stroke and passing vision. Summer league head coach Jay Larranaga had some high praise for the youngster this past week when comparing his potential to past Celtic talent.
“I always told Guerschon since he joined us that he reminds me a lot of Kelly Olynyk,” Larranaga said, "In just the way he’s very skilled as a big guy that can play on the perimeter, he’s an excellent passer, he’s an excellent ball mover. So that’s kind of a role model I’ve given for him. I think one of the things Kelly gave to us a lot was just ball movement. Just moving the ball, getting it to the second side, getting it to the third side. Guerschon’s really worked on his shooting and I expect that he’ll demonstrate that in the next couple of weeks. But, play defense, shoot when you’re open, pass when you’re not.”
The 22-year-old is still buried on the depth chart for next season behind the likes of Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Daniel Theis and Aron Baynes, which makes a chance at a thorough evaluation against NBA(ish) talent so crucial in the summer. The Celtics won’t get a chance to utilize him much in a high-usage environment outside of practice and the G-League, so this is a crucial shot for them to figure out whether his development is worth waiting on.