Georges-Hunt takes a (long) shot at making the Celtics' roster


Georges-Hunt takes a (long) shot at making the Celtics' roster

We've been taking a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We conclude today with Marcus Georges-Hunt

BOSTON -- Who is Marcus Georges-Hunt?
Many within Celtics Nation sprinted to Google or whatever your search engine of choice is, to find out as much as they could about the former Georgia Tech standout, who signed a training camp deal with the Boston Celtics. 

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Here’s the skinny:
Georges-Hunt is a 6-foot-5 college combo guard who has shown an ability to play -- and play well -- whatever position where he's needed in order for his team to be successful.
But there’s little hope that the undrafted Georges-Hunt will see a similar career trajectory as a professional.
But, hey, he has a training camp invite (after playing on Brooklyn’s summer league team, where he averaged 2.8 points in four games) which says he’s a player the Celtics deem at least worth taking a closer look at for the Maine Red Claws in training camp.  
The Ceiling for Georges-Hunt: 15-man roster
Georges-Hunt would have to play the absolute best basketball of his life and chances are that still won’t be enough for him to move up the depth chart past the slew of players on the bubble who have guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals such as his (he’ll get $25,000 if he’s cut).
The one thing Georges-Hunt showed in college was a steady level of improvement in most categories. 
A double-digit scorer in each of his four seasons at Georgia Tech, Georges-Hunt’s scoring average went from 10.8 as a freshman to a career-best 16.7 points as a senior.
And in his final season, he connected on 34.2 percent of his 3s, shot 82.3 percent from the free-throw line and dished out 3.3 assists per game -- all career highs.
Georgia Tech moved him to the point guard position on Jan. 9 against Virginia. From that point on, he averaged 17.9 points and 3.8 assists per game.
Georges-Hunt’s versatility is indeed one of his strengths, but the 22-year-old will be hard-pressed to showcase that in camp with a Celtics team that’s extremely deep on the perimeter as well as at the wing position. 
The Floor for Georges-Hunt: D-League or overseas
Georges-Hunt was the last player signed by Boston and in all likelihood he’ll be the first cut. The greatest benefit for him is that being around the Celtics coaching staff and learning their system will benefit him greatly if he’s waived and then decides to sign with the Maine Red Claws. 
That in all likelihood will be the route taken by Georges-Hunt, an All-ACC performer last season.

Can Ben Bentil crack the Celtics' 15-man roster?


Can Ben Bentil crack the Celtics' 15-man roster?

Every weekday until Sept. 7, we'll take a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We continue today with Ben Bentil.

BOSTON – Providence College was one of the better teams in the Big East a year ago and a lot of the credit was doled out to point guard Kris Dunn who was selected with the fifth overall pick in last June’s NBA draft.

But often overlooked in their success was the play of Ben Bentil, the Big East’s top scorer at 21.1 points per game in addition to hauling down 7.7 boards which factored in Boston selecting the 6-foot-8 forward in the second round of last June’s NBA draft.

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In many ways, he finds himself in a familiar predicament to what he experienced when he arrived on the Friars’ campus as a lightly regarded prospect originally from Ghana.

Bentil proved himself a quick learner, a skill that he hopes will bode well in his quest to earn a roster spot with the Boston Celtics which will be difficult to achieve due to the high number of players with fully guaranteed contracts – and him not being one of them . . . yet.

The Ceiling for Bentil: Active roster

Like most second round picks, making the 15-man roster will be an accomplishment in itself. But if he can somehow translate the talent he showed in college to the NBA game, Bentil could position himself to leap frog a player or two and not just make the team but carve out a spot on the team’s active roster.

At 6-foot-8 with a solid 229-pound frame, Bentil has ideal size to play power forward in “small ball” lineups which is something the Celtics used in measured doses last season with a decent amount of success. Bentil showed glimpses of being able to shoot 3s in college and further enhanced his potential from long range by connecting on 14-of-25 3s at the pre-draft scouting combine in Chicago last May.

But in order to impress the Celtics and head coach Brad Stevens, it’ll be Bentil’s defense that will give him the best shot at sticking.

While in college, the Friars did a decent amount of switching defensively which matched Bentil up at times against smaller, quicker players. In his final season at Providence College, Bentil had a defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) of 99.8.

That provides promise that Bentil can do a decent job defensively when opponents go with pick-and-roll sets and he finds himself having to defend a speedy guard.


The Floor for Bentil: D-League or overseas

Bentil has a partially guaranteed contract worth about $250,000 for this season, so he will literally get something of significance from training camp regardless of how things play out. Boston would love to keep him around and watch his game develop, but that may not be possible with the numbers they have on the roster currently.

Bentil doesn’t handle the ball well enough to see any real action at small forward, but his size, strength and scoring ability makes him a legit talent who can play power forward and potentially some center depending on who is on the floor for the opponent. But his versatility may not be enough to counter the experience and depth Boston has this season.

He will come into training camp essentially fighting for the 15th and final roster spot, along with R.J. Hunter, James Young and Marcus George-Hunt.

The odds are heavily stacked against Bentil sticking with the Celtics.

But a year ago this time, he was a long shot to see significant action only to help lead the Friars to the NCAA Tournament, lead the Big East in scoring and be named an honorable mention All-American.

“It’s been an unbelievable journey,” Bentil told earlier.

James Young's days with the Celtics may be numbered


James Young's days with the Celtics may be numbered

Every weekday until Sept. 7, we'll take a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We continue today with James Young.

BOSTON -- Like most one-and-done players who come into the NBA, James Young had a lot to learn about the game after Boston selected him in 2014.  

So it’s no surprise he has had a rocky start to his pro career, one that is very much in limbo right now.

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Boston has 16 players with fully guaranteed contracts this season (including Young), one more than the NBA allows.

Barring a trade, someone is going to be cut loose before the start of the season. The 21-year-old Young is among those potentially on his way out.

But for those who envision his exit a foregone conclusion, that would be a mistake. While he hasn’t had the kind of NBA start many expected, his fate will be decided in the coming months in what should be one of the more competitive training camps we’ve seen in a quite some time. 

The Ceiling for Young: Celtics active roster

It’s hard to say how big a role injuries have played in James Young’s development, but there is no question they've been a significant factor.

It seems he's been playing catchup ever since the Celtics drafted him with the 17th overall pick in 2014, when he was projected by most NBA executives to be a top-10 pick.

This summer was supposed to be an opportunity for him to break out and assert himself and show some of the promise so many teams felt he had in him, prior to his arrival in the NBA.

But he was limited -- just like his two previous summers -- because of minor injuries. Still, he managed to get on the floor for six Summer League games. He averaged 7.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. He shot just 32.8 percent from the field, but connected on 43.4 percent of his 3s.

The long-range shooting was especially important for Young, ksince knocking down shots will go far in his efforts at carving out a role for himself on this roster.

The Floor for Young: Roster spot on another NBA team

While Young has every reason to remain optimistic about his future in the NBA, his time as a Celtic may be coming to a close soon. At 21, Young still has lots of potential as a player. And having seen such little action thus far, he doesn’t have the kind of physical wear and tear that a player in his third NBA season might experience.

But the biggest problem for Young is that while he has improved, he hasn’t done enough for the Celtics to feel, at this point, completely comfortable with where his game is at and where it’s headed.

And when you start looking at the analytics surrounding Young’s game, the picture doesn’t get any prettier.

He's only averaged 6.9 minutes per game, so the sample size in which to measure his play is relatively small. But there’s just too much data indicating Young didn’t make the most of the few minutes he received.

Usage percentage examines the percentage of offensive possessions that a player uses while on the court. Young had a team-low 9.5 usage percentage, which speaks to how, when he did play, he wasn’t very involved in what the Celtics were looking to do offensively.

And that’s a bad, bad sign for a player drafted in large part because of his offensive skills.

In addition, his Pace (possessions per 48 minutes) was 99.00, which was dead last among Boston’s perimeter players.

Based on his past with the Celtics and how things went this summer, it’s safe to say Young will need an impressive camp to just make the team’s 15-man opening night roster. He's had moments when he looked like he belongs out there. But those times have been few and far between, which is why among players with guaranteed contracts for this season, he appears to be the one most likely on his way out.