BOSTON – One of the many roles Development League teams must play is to help with the growth of the NBA team’s draft picks.
We’re only two games into the D-League season, but that truth seems to be playing out with the Boston Celtics and their D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.
The Red Claws (2-0) opened the season with a back-to-back set of games, winning both courtesy of strong performances from a pair of its draft picks last June.
Abdel Nader, selected by Boston with the 58th overall pick in last June’s NBA draft, is the Red Claws’ top scorer at 27.5 points per game to go along with 4.5 assists and 3.0 steals.
Do not be shocked if at some point this season, the 6-foot-8 small forward gets a call-up with the Celtics.
Nader was among the top players on Boston’s summer league teams (Salt Lake City and Las Vegas) when he averaged 10.0 points per game while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 44.0 percent on 3s.
Demetrius Jackson, selected by Boston with the 45th overall pick, had a strong summer run as well which played a major role in Boston signing him to a four-year deal in which the first year is fully guaranteed and years 2-4 each partially guaranteed.
The reason he’s in the D-League is because as the Celtics roster stands now, there’s just not going to be many opportunities for him to get on the floor.
But when that opportunity has presented itself, Jackson showed that he was indeed up to the challenge.
The 6-foot-1 guard has appeared in two games for the Celtics, averaging 5.0 points per game while shooting 75 percent (3-for-4) from the field in just 7.4 minutes per game.
So it’s no surprise that he has been a highly effective scorer with the Red Claws.
In two games, Jackson is the team’s second-leading scorer at 25.5 points per game behind Nader. The 22-year-old is shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 45.5 percent on 3's while dishing out 5.5 assists.
The Red Claws’ next game is Tuesday at Rio Grande Valley and the next home game for them will be Friday against the Long Island Nets.