Celtics

Celtics' fun-lovin' Guerschon Yabusele is serious about making an impact

Celtics' fun-lovin' Guerschon Yabusele is serious about making an impact

LAS VEGAS -- The Kangol hat and matching suede sweatsuit; joking around with his teammates which often leads into a locker room of laughter. The music bumping out of his headphones with an occasional dance move thrown in that instantly brings a smile to the faces of his teammates. 

The fun-loving ways of Boston’s Guerschon Yabusele tend to mask the basketball skills that made him a first-round pick of the Celtics in 2016. 

Yabusele will get an opportunity to dramatically change the narrative as to who he is by simply doing what he’s supposed to do — play great basketball.

His efforts along those lines begins this weekend when the Celtics open up summer league play against Philadelphia on Saturday. (Note: all Celtics summer league games can be seen on NBC Sports Boston. Click here for the full schedule.)

The most experienced player on Boston’s summer league team, Yabusele is well aware that he will be counted on to provide more leadership to this group than he was tasked with as one of the younger Celtics the past couple of seasons. 

In many ways, the 23-year-old’s summer will be a trial run of sorts as to what will be expected of him this season. 

Al Horford signing with Philadelphia and Aron Baynes being traded to Phoenix left a huge hole in the frontcourt for Boston. 

While they have added some talent, it will still take the new additions a little bit of time to figure out their roles and how that fits in with the grand scheme of the Celtics system. 

Having been on the team a couple years already, Yabusele does indeed have a head start of sorts on them along those lines. 

But even with a new opportunity to have a more increased role, Yabusele maintains he’s not approaching this season any different than previous ones. 

“The two years I’ve been here, I didn’t know if I was playing or not,” Yabusele told NBC Sports Boston. “I had to stay ready every game. It’s gonna be the same. Same routine, do everything I know how to do on the court.”

Indeed, minutes for Yabusele were few and far between last season as he appeared in just 41 games and averaged 2.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and shot 45.5 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from 3-point range in 6.1 minutes per game.

Celtics assistant coach Scott Morrison will be coaching the summer league team this season. 

And while it remains to be seen what exactly Yabusele will do with the group, his experience in the NBA should bode well for him this summer. 

“There’s some new stuff that we’re doing that’s new for everybody,” Morrison said. “But when you have that NBA experience, usually you can pick things up quicker which he is doing. Hopefully he’ll get out there and flex his muscles a bit, pun intended … punish some switches. Teams want to switch on him at the 4 (power forward), put somebody under the rim and score, draw some help; he’s always been a good cutter, good passer, so try to put him in position where he can showcase off his strengths for the team but also work on some of the things he didn’t get a chance to work on all season as more of a role player. 

Morrison added, “When he’s on the court for us this summer league, he’ll be one of our main guys.”

And we have seen how impactful summer league can be for young players who are thrust into more prominent roles than the one they had during the NBA season. 

We saw how a strong summer league a couple years ago for Terry Rozier, did wonders for his confidence and set the tone for his emergence as a player in the NBA.

Rozier, who spent most of his Celtics career as a backup, agreed to a three-year, $58 million contract from the Charlotte Hornets. 

There’s too much time between now and when the season starts to project how much this summer will impact Yabusele’s future. 

But the one thing we do know is this: Even with more pressure to perform on his shoulders heading into this season, Yabusele maintains he’ll still be the fun-loving, Kangol-hat wearing, jovial teammate. 

“You still gonna see that,” Yabusele said, smiling. “I’m the same guy, same person. I’m still gonna come in with a smile.”

Those who are close to him such as the Celtics coaches and teammates, know that the work he puts in isn’t all fun and games. 

But the upbeat, happy-go-lucky demeanor he carries all the time, makes the work needed to get better, far more enjoyable. 

“I have fun at what I’m doing,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier. If you go to work everyday and you’re not happy, it’s going to be harder. But if you keep going in, have fun, smiling, it makes it easier to do your job.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Celtics-Bucks simulation: Jayson Tatum vs. Giannis does not disappoint

Celtics-Bucks simulation: Jayson Tatum vs. Giannis does not disappoint

The NBA season has been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning we may have to wait a while to watch the Boston Celtics again.

As a way to make up for the loss of Celtics action, we'll be using the NBA 2K20 video game to simulate each game on the schedule until they finally return.

PREVIOUS FIVE SIMULATIONS

The Celtics were supposed to be taking on the first-place Milwaukee Bucks in a must-see matchup Sunday. Here's how our simulation of that game went:

CELTICS STATS

The Celtics needed all of their stars to be firing on all cylinders for this game vs. the Bucks, and they did. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were the stars, tallying 34 and 29 points respectively. Tatum earned a double-double with 11 rebounds, as did Kemba Walker who notched a whopping 16 assists to go with his 23 points.

Gordon Hayward (12) and Marcus Smart (11) also scored in double figures for the C's.

BUCKS STATS

Giannis was... well, he was Giannis in this sim. The Bucks superstar torched the C's for 40 points, 18 rebounds, and seven assists. He also swatted away four shots.

Still, he didn't get enough from his supporting cast to finish the job. Eric Bledsoe was solid with 25 points, but Khris Middleton and the rest of the squad didn't do enough to give Milwaukee the edge they needed when it came down to the wire.

TEAM STATS

The Bucks actually topped the C's in most categories, but it didn't matter in the end. Boston was far more efficient from 3-point range and took care of the ball better late to pull off the thrilling victory over their Eastern Conference foe.

FINAL SCORE: Celtics 128, Bucks 123

We're up to 11 -- yes, ELEVEN -- straight wins for the NBA 2K Celtics. This was the most impressive one yet as it came against their No. 1 Eastern Conference foe. The simulation C's will look to keep it going Wednesday vs. the Indiana Pacers.

Classic Celtics: Watch C's outlast Suns in epic 1976 NBA Finals Game 5

Classic Celtics: Watch C's outlast Suns in epic 1976 NBA Finals Game 5

When it's referred to as "the greatest game ever played," it's probably worth re-watching.

NBC Sports Boston's "Classic Celtics" series -- which featured Larry Bird's dominant performance in Game 6 of the 1986 NBA Finals on Friday -- is back this Sunday with a gem from the archives: Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns.

With the series knotted at 2-2, the Celtics and Suns battled through three overtimes that featured several controversial calls before C's emerged with a thrilling 128-126 win at the Boston Garden.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

Buoyed that victory, the Celtics went on to win Game 6 and secure what would be the last NBA championship for the iconic core of John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Jo Jo White, Paul Silas and head coach Tommy Heinsohn.

Our re-broadcast of Celtics-Suns airs Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, and Heinsohn will join Brian Scalabrine to provide color commentary throughout the game. 

Here's how to watch:

When: Sunday, April 5, 7 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Boston
Streaming: NBCSportsBoston.com and in the MyTeams app

Listen and subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast: