Heading into the 2019 summer league, there was some buzz about the Boston Celtics' third-year big man, Guerschon Yabusele. The 16th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft was expected to be the "main guy" for the summer-league Celtics as their most experienced player.
With the Celtics having an unsettled big-man rotation, Yabusele has an opportunity to take a step ahead in his battle with Robert Williams, Daniel Theis, and Vincent Poirier for a more consistent role off the bench behind Enes Kanter. But in order for that to happen, Yabusele will have to play better than he did in the team's Saturday-night win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
In the contest, Yabusele went 0-for-4 from the field and was only able to grab 4 rebounds in 16 minutes of scoreless action. Despite Yabusele's performance, Celtics summer league coach Scott Morrison wasn't too discouraged with his effort in the opener and thought there was a way that the coaches could help Yabusele.
“He didn’t get that many touches, which I could help with a little bit,” Morrison said per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “The second half, I tried to get him a few more looks, and I feel like maybe he was pressing a bit to make something happen on those touches because he hadn’t gotten many. So Guersch is a great passer, great cutter, good team basketball player, so I just got to remind him to play like that and showcase his strengths, and I’ll try to get him more opportunities where he can be a scorer as well.”
Of course, it didn't help Yabusele's cause that the crowd in the building were more focused on seeing Tacko Fall in action. The undrafted 7-foot-6 rookie from UCF got a lot of attention from the crowd and Morris referenced that being a factor in getting Fall some extra action.
“You’ve got to give the crowd what they want, and what they wanted was more touches for Tacko,” Scott Morrison said per the Celtics official Twitter account. “So we had to get him some more touches.”
Fall finished the game with 6 points, 4 rebounds, and a block in 10 minutes of action, and he certainly had more of a positive impact than Yabusele did when he was on the floor (Fall was a plus-18 in the game, Yabusele was a minus-12). If that continues, the Celtics could have a decision to make on Yabusele, whose $3.1 million team option has already been exercised for the 2019-2020 season.
Yabusele's next chance to step up will be on Monday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on NBC Sports Boston.
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