Bubble watch: Battle for the last Celtics roster spots
Bubble watch: Battle for the last roster spots
During the CSN broadcast of the Boston Celtics’ Green & White scrimmage last week, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said that there were a handful of players who were in the fight for the last couple of roster spots.
He didn’t say who the players were, but there’s no need to call Columbo or Jessica Fletcher to solve this mystery.
Barring a trade or some other roster-altering shake-up, here’s a look at the five Celtics whose status is anything but secure and how they fared in the team’s first preseason game earlier this week.
Contract status: In second year of four-year, $5 million contract (Year 3 guaranteed only if he’s on the roster after July 1, 2017 and Year 4 is team option).
Versus Sixers: Two points (1-for-4 shooting); three rebounds, one turnover.
Summary: He’s in a tough spot right now. The Celtics love his potential but there’s no room for him to see meaningful minutes in the short term, not with Al Horford, Amir Johnson, Tyler Zeller and Jonas Jerebko all ahead of him. Still, the only way I see them cutting him loose is if they decide to keep 14 players instead of 15. Otherwise, Mickey should be able to hold down one of the 15 roster spots.
Contract status: In third year of three-year, $5.25 million contract (team option for fourth year)
Versus Sixers: Seven points (3-for-3 shooting); one rebound; one turnover.
Summary: Of the players on the bubble, Young has been the biggest surprise thus far. The fact that this is his third go-around with the Celtics has helped. But more than anything else, Young is playing within himself, not trying to do too much but at the same time do enough to where the coaches feel comfortable enough to put him in a game and trust he can be effective. It seemed heading into camp that his departure seemed inevitable. But if he continues along the path we’ve seen thus far, he will make it very hard for the Celtics to let him go.
Contract status: Signed four-year, $5.7 million contract (Year 2 partially guaranteed; Years 3 and 4 become fully guaranteed if he’s not waived prior to June 30, 2018 and June 30, 2019)
Versus Sixers: Zero points (0-for-1 shooting).
Summary: He looked very much like a rookie playing in his first game as his anxiousness got the better of him for most of his first stint with the Celtics regulars. Although he was overly aggressive most of the time he was on the floor, you have to love the energy and the ability he has to pick players up full-court. He has a multi-year deal with only this season being fully guaranteed. Like Mickey, Jackson’s fate will hinge heavily on whether Boston decides to keep 14 players instead of the league maximum 15 to start the season.
Contract status: Second year of two-year, $2.35 million contract (Team options on third and fourth seasons).
Versus Sixers: Zero points (0-for-2 shooting); two turnovers.
Summary: The first scrimmage was not one of Hunter’s more shining moments as an NBA player. The two shots he missed were either lightly contested or wide open 3s, the kind of shots a highly regarded shot-maker should knock down. He’s doing some decent things defensively and away from the ball, but not enough to mask his struggles shooting the ball. He is without question one of the players whose future with the Celtics more likely than not -- for now at least -- is in doubt. But hey, it’s a long training camp with lots of days left, which provides legitimate hope that Hunter can get on track and work his way into solidifying a roster spot.
Contract status: Three-year, $2.5 million (Year 1 partially guaranteed; Years 2 and 3 fully guaranteed if he’s not waived prior to July 31, 2017 and July 14, 2018.
Versus Sixers: DNP-CD (Did not play – coaches decision)
Summary: Players drafted in the bottom-10 of the second round are longshots just to get to training camp, let alone parlay that into a roster spot. Right now, it’s not looking good for Bentil, the 51st pick in June’s draft, to stick with this team through camp and remain with them during the regular season. He is another victim of Boston’s frontcourt depth, which is also more versatile with the additions of Al Horford and Jaylen Brown. Those two players, along with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk, have made it extremely difficult to justify keeping a roster spot for a young, versatile big man like Bentil.