Summer League takeaways: Davison shows promise in C's loss to Heat


The Boston Celtics are back in action as they opened Summer League with an 88-78 loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday night.

Jayson Tatum, Ime Udoka, Brad Stevens and others were in attendance to support the Summer League squad in Las Vegas. Despite the defeat, a few players made solid first impressions in their unofficial C's debuts. Others will look to have a bounce-back performance in Monday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks, which tips off at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Boston.

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Here are three quick takeaways from the Celtics' Summer League Opener.

JD Davison shows promise

The Celtics started their Saturday by signing Davison, their second-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, to a two-way contract. In his first game with Boston, the Alabama product gave C's fans a glimpse of what he brings to the table.

Davison's athleticism was on full display and while he struggled to make shots (3-for-11 FG), he showed off his playmaking ability. The 6-foot-3 point guard dished out six assists including this pretty lob to Juhann Begarin:

Davison exited the game in the fourth quarter due to cramping, so there shouldn't be anything to worry about injury-wise for the rookie. Overall, it was an encouraging start to his NBA career as he finished with 10 points (2-for-5 from 3), six rebounds, and three blocks to go with those six dimes.


Could Mfiondu Kabengele earn a roster spot?

The Celtics reportedly are looking to add a backup big man to the mix this summer. They could use one of their TPEs, sign one of the few viable options left on the free-agent market, or perhaps they already have their guy in Mfiondu Kabengele.

Kabengele, a 6-foot-10 forward out of Florida State, was signed to the Summer League roster last month. He originally was selected in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft by the Brooklyn Nets and has played in 51 career games between the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 17.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game with the G League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers last season.

Kabengele impressed in his C's summer debut with 14 points (5-7 FG), six rebounds, three assists and a steal. He also was a team-best plus-9.

There's still plenty for Kabengele to clean up heading into Monday's game. The 24-year-old committed four turnovers and five fouls in his 24 minutes on the court. Still, he gave the C's something to think about as their search for a backup big man continues.

Rough start for Sam Hauser

All eyes are on Sam Hauser as he looks to crack Boston's roster after signing a three-year deal with the team last month. It isn't fair to overreact to one Summer League game, but it wasn't a strong start for the 24-year-old.

Hauser, who makes his living from beyond the arc, couldn't find his shot on Saturday night. He shot just 2-for-12 from the field, including 1-for-9 from long range, to finish with seven points.

We can assume Hauser's shooting woes will solve themselves, but the real question for him going forward is whether he can make strides defensively. That will be worth monitoring as Boston continues Summer League action against the Bucks on Monday, followed by the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday and Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday.

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