Celtics

You may not see these young Celtics studs in NBA Summer League playoffs

You may not see these young Celtics studs in NBA Summer League playoffs

BOSTON -- After crushing the Memphis Grizzlies 113-87 to cap off the NBA Summer League “regular season” with a perfect 4-0 record, the Celtics go into the playoffs as the top seed.

With only the top eight teams advancing to the playoffs, the Celtics begin their run toward a summer league crown Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET against the very same Memphis Grizzlies.

But here’s where things might get interesting for the Celtics. 

It’s not unusual for teams to hold out some of their key players at this point in the summer to ensure they avoid getting injured and negate the strides they have made this summer. 

Looking up and down Boston's roster, there are plenty of candidates who could be given the rest of the summer off, or short of that, be held out of Saturday’s quarterfinal game. 

ROBERT WILLIAMS III

Coming off his best game of the summer with a 16-point, 16-rebound performance against Memphis, Williams has already had a “load management” game off and responded Thursday with his best effort of the summer. 

He is the only player on the summer league roster who has a shot at potentially being in the Celtics’ starting lineup. 

Williams has played in a total of three games, averaging a near double-double of 11.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while dishing out 2.3 assists with 1.7 blocked shots. 

After he battled knee tendinitis at times last season, it would not be all that surprising if we saw Williams shut down the rest of the summer to keep him as fresh as possible for the start of the season, when he’ll be among a handful of players battling for the vacant starting job at center. 

CARSEN EDWARDS

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has already pointed out how Carsen Edwards, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft, is a player he believes can contribute to the team’s success right away. 

Edwards has been a star from day one for Boston this summer, averaging a team-best 18.0 points in just 23 minutes per game while connecting on 52 percent of his shots. 

There’s very little at this point left for Edwards to prove. 

Edwards was scoring as a starter the first couple of games, while the last two Celtics games have seen him come off the bench and deliver a comparable offensive punch. 

While Edwards hasn’t played nearly well enough to enter the conversation to potentially start, he has done more than enough to validate Stevens’ belief that he’ll be in the rotation and play off the bench this season. 

GRANT WILLIAMS

The No. 22 pick in last month’s NBA draft, Grant Williams has been as good as advertised. 

He was billed as a solid player whose greatest skill appears to be impacting winning, and thus far he has not disappointed. 

Williams has appeared in all four summer league games and ranks as the team’s No. 2 scorer (13.5 points per game) and rebounder (6.8 per game) while shooting a solid 50 percent (18-for-36) from the field.

He too has played well enough to where he’ll be in the scrum to play minutes off the bench this year, showcasing a high basketball IQ in terms of his passing and decision-making out of the post while boasting a 3-point shot that has been better than what we saw in college. 

While Boston may be tempted to shut Williams down, more likely than not he’ll continue playing his usual minutes, which the Celtics will need if they are to continue on their winning ways. 

TREMONT WATERS

Another one of the Celtics’ summer league stars, the 5-foot-11 Waters has been Boston’s best playmaker as well as one of its top defenders. He’s averaging 10.0 points per game along with a team-best 5.3 assists.

Having already agreed to a two-way contract with Boston, there’s little left for him to show the Celtics coaching staff that would impact their views on him as a player. 

That said, there’s still a sense that Waters will continue playing if for no other reason than to keep reminding the C's of just how impactful he can be in games despite his small frame. 

Right now, the Celtics look pretty stacked in the backcourt with Marcus Smart, Carsen Edwards and Brad Wanamaker all vying for minutes, not to mention Gordon Hayward will at times slide over and facilitate the offense, too. 

That all means that Waters’ best shot at staying on the Celtics’ radar while still playing probably will come as a member of the team’s G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. 

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Who deserves the All-Star nod, Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum?

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Celtics Talk Podcast: Who deserves the All-Star nod, Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum?

Kemba Walker and the Boston Celtics got some great news on Thursday as it was announced the star C's guard would be a starter in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.

Now, it's just a matter of which C's -- if any -- will join him.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the two candidates for when the All-Star reserves are announced next Thursday. But which player is more deserving of the honor?

On the latest episode of the "Celtics Talk Podcast," Kyle Draper, A. Sherrod Blakely and Chris Forsberg debated who should get the All-Star nod between Brown and Tatum.

Click here to listen and subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast

Blakely made it clear he'd be stunned if Tatum doesn't get named to the squad.

We know Tatum is going to get in. That would be the shock of all shocks if he does not get voted in by the coaches. The thing I like about what is happening now is Tatum is making it a little bit easier because Jaylen, you know, he's had some bumps and bruises, missed some games, and Tatum has actually played really well in Brown's absence.

Forsberg agrees with Tatum getting a slight edge over Brown.

I've heard a lot of smart basketball people say that they believe Jaylen should be the All-Star for Boston and I'll admit I'm a little surprised. Because for me it's like a slam dunk for Tatum, and that's no disrespect to Jaylen Brown. I just think Tatum's been that good this season.

You can find out what Draper thinks of Blakely and Forsberg's choices in the podcast above (discussion begins at 3:00 mark).

For a 1-on-1 with Kemba Walker, more on the upcoming All-Star Game, and the Celtics' matchup against rookie phenom Zion Williamson on Sunday, check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, which drops weekly as part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

Stevens joins elite company with 300th win

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pelicans, which begins Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 6 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson presents big test for undersized Celtics

Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson presents big test for undersized Celtics

The Boston Celtics are in the midst of a three-game win streak, but their lack of size could land them in some big trouble Sunday vs. the New Orleans Pelicans.

That's because they'll be up against the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Zion Williamson.

After missing most of the season with a knee injury, Williamson has made his presence felt in the first two games of his NBA career. In his debut against the Spurs on Wednesday night, the 19-year-old tallied 22 points and seven rebounds while drilling four 3-pointers.

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In his second game Friday night vs. the Denver Nuggets, Williamson dropped 15 points in 21 minutes (7-for-9 shooting) while bringing down six boards and blocking a shot into another stratosphere.

Watch below:

After the Celtics' win over the Magic on Friday, Kemba Walker said he ran home to watch highlights of Williamson vs. Denver.

The 6-foot-10, 285-pounder presents an obvious challenge for the undersized Celtics, who likely will be without big men Enes Kanter and Robert Williams in New Orleans.

That means it'll probably mostly be up to Daniel Theis and Marcus Smart to keep Williamson in check. Who knows, maybe even Tacko Fall will get some minutes. The 7-foot-5 UCF product does have some experience playing against the former Duke star, as the two met up in last year's NCAA Tournament.

The Pelicans are a lowly 17-29 on the season and 0-2 since Williamson entered the lineup. The C's are on the other end of the spectrum at 30-14

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pelicans, which begins Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 6 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.