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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Kemba Walker's first challenge in Boston: Leading this Celtics team back on track

Kemba Walker's first challenge in Boston: Leading this Celtics team back on track

The Kemba Walker Era begins, in earnest, on Wednesday afternoon when the Celtics formally introduce their latest maximum-contract signing at the Auerbach Center.

Walker won’t inherit quite the same burden of expectations that some of Boston’s previous big-ticket splurges did upon their arrival. When Al Horford and Gordon Hayward signed on — the latter’s entry coupled with the offseason acquisition of Kyrie Irving — the Celtics’ ceiling raised a bit and the team was perceived closer to title contention.

Walker arrives to a somewhat flawed roster, one that still doesn’t feel quite set even after a busy summer. There are question marks in the frontcourt with the departure of Horford, Aron Baynes, and Marcus Morris, and the team’s younger players must reassert themselves.

The more immediate pressure on Walker is leadership. As the Celtics attempt to wash the bitter taste of last season out of their mouths, Walker must prove he is the palette cleanser. And while those that have spent time around Walker have gushed about his by-example leadership, his biggest task might essentially be doing what Irving couldn’t last season: Getting the best out of those around him.

Walker is no stranger to being the face of a franchise. That’s been his role the better part of the past eight seasons in Charlotte. In Boston, the three-time All-Star will face a harsher spotlight, but one that will also bathe him in affection if he is to get the most out of his new teammates.

By all accounts, Walker is eager for the challenge. In the goodbye he penned to Charlotte, he was emphatic about a desire to show that he is a winner. In an arena with 17 banners, there’s always a pressure to compete — regardless of the varying heft of expectations — and the quickest path to endearment is simply winning.

What Walker says at Wednesday’s introduction will set the tone for his tenure as the new face of the franchise. That’s a spotlight he should be able and willing to share if Hayward reverts to his old form, or if Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown make the leaps that many have been waiting for. Walker can expedite all of that, both with his play and his words.

Jim Calhoun, Walker’s college coach at the University of Connecticut, was emphatic that Walker would make his teammates better. After the Celtics emerged as frontrunners for Walker last month, Calhoun gushed about the way he could lead.

"I think the big thing is that he makes Tatum, he makes Brown, he helps Gordon Hayward come back. He makes a lot of terrific players be exceptional players,” said Calhoun. "There are very few guys you're going to get in basketball -- not only are they really good, but they make others better both psychologically, winning-wise … He's a special talent who can make other players better.”

Added Calhoun: "He brings special things to his teammates. Trust me, I was always amazed at how much his teammates loved him and followed him.”

Walker will be quizzed Wednesday about his leadership. He’ll be asked for his opinions on his new teammates. There is no reason to think he won’t say all the right things and, soon, he’ll get the chance to prove he means them.

A year ago, Celtics fans were clamoring for nothing short of a trip to the Finals. Now, it feels like most would sacrifice some wins for a spike in likability. Expectations can surge again if the Celtics show potential on the court but, right now, Celtics fans yearn for a team they can simply wrap their arms around (hence the lovefest that enveloped the spunky summer league squad in Vegas).

Walker can start the healing process from last season on Wednesday. After two stars exited, he can emphasize his desire to be here. He can express excitement about the potential of this group, while noting all the things he plans to do to help the Celtics reach it.

Walker formally receives the leadership baton on Wednesday and he needs to be ready to run with it.

 

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Celtics join FaceApp craze with hilarious photos of 'old' players

Celtics join FaceApp craze with hilarious photos of 'old' players

Who needs Uncle Drew, anyway?

If you're on social media, then your feed most likely has been filled with hilarious (and kind of disturbing) FaceApp photos of aged celebrities and athletes. The Celtics decided to get in on the action by using the "old age" filter on a few C's players, and well, here were the results. . .

Jaylen Brown's photo was so good that Jayson Tatum couldn't help but send it along to his 22-year-old teammate.

Of course, we had to properly celebrate #TackoTuesday with a FaceApp photo of our own:

And lastly, just in case you were wondering how Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will look in roughly 30 years from now, it appears he'll resemble... Brett Favre?

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