Picture this: Jonas Jerebko is joining a class with Shaquille O’Neal.

On Tuesday it was announced the Celtics forward bought the Renegades, an eSports team, which, for those unfamiliar, is essentially the major leagues of video games. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

O’Neal as well as former Celtic Rick Fox already have thrown their hat into the eSports ring, and though it won’t take Jerebko away from the court, it certainly is a 180 from how he spends his winter months.

Per ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Jerebko was going to buy the Renegades at the start of the calendar year but wanted to “seize the opportunity” to purchase the team immediately when he noticed there were four expiring contracts.

With his purchase, the 29-year-old also took on a “Call of Duty” team called Ground Zero and put that squad under the Renegades umbrella. Ground Zero will compete as part of the organization in the Call of Duty World League Championship at the beginning of September. Long term, Jerebko would like to continue to help the team grow and field a previously defunct “League of Legends,” “Halo” and “Overwatch” team as part of the Renegades.

The writing was on the wall for Jerebko to spring at this.

He first learned of the team while playing in the NBA summer league, when he met then-owner Christopher “Montecristo” Mykles, from whom he bought the team. He’s also been a team representative in the National Basketball Players Association and as such is familiar with negotiations and rights of players.

But there is a pretty high risk in investing in such a venture. The world of gaming is wildly disorganized, something that Jerebko is aware of but looking to change.

“The Call of Duty players we were negotiating with were under contract last year and weren’t getting paid for three to five months,” he said. “That’s not going to happen with me. You get a paycheck on time.

“There are some guys in this industry asking to do six-month contracts,” Jerebko said. “There isn’t stability in that.”

As a result, Jerebko will look to sign players for one year with an option for an additional year.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

R.J. Hunter

R.J. Hunter

R.J. Hunter should not be in the position he is in.

The incessant griping about the Celtics’ lack of perimeter shooting is justified, with there being few — if any — options both in the starting lineup and off the bench for reliable 3-point shooting.

However, Hunter, a first-round pick in 2015, is known for his shot, so this should be his wheelhouse. Instead, he’s on the fringe of making the final 15-man roster.

“It’s just spurts where it’s like, ‘Bro, what I am I doing wrong?’ ” Hunter said, speaking to MassLive.com on Saturday at the Basketball Hall of Fame. “And it’s nothing. You’re just on a really good team.”

Hunter brings up a good point. On most any other NBA team, Hunter would have been a much more heavily utilized asset, not the eight minutes per game player he was in his 36 NBA games last season. Conversely, the 22-year-old didn’t do himself many favors when given the opportunity from Brad Stevens to play.

The shooting guard shot a pedestrian 30.2 percent from 3, while putting together a 36.7 percent field goal percentage, totaling a 2.7 points per game total over the course of the season. As a result of the underwhelming performances, he found himself in the D-League for eight games during the middle of the season. While there he shot slightly worse from 3-point range than in the NBA, with a 29.6 percent mark, but ultimately averaged 13.8 points per game.

“At that point, it was just so completely mental,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, my ego got in the way of me making shots. It was almost like for me, whatever I do, I’m in the D-League, and if I don’t do well, it looks worse. And that’s just the wrong attitude to have instead of just going in there. When you have that mentality, now I’m rushing shots. I’m not finishing shots. I’m not really putting in preparation like I have to on every shot. That’s part of growing up, though — you’re in the league, and you’re caught up in it.”

And now with the slow going to enter the league, he finds himself in a precarious position that is simultaneously a life lesson on the business of basketball: competing against a friend.

Almost immediately when he came to the Celtics, Hunter befriended James Young and has grown close with him. Also struggling to earn a spot on the 15-man roster, Young conceivably could be the biggest roadblock in Hunter starting the season with the Celtics, and vice versa.

“It was awkward at first, because we clicked,” Hunter said. “It was like, ‘Oh, you like the same things I like.’ And then we just became homies, because we were always on the bench, or we were always working out together. We always shot together after practice. I think we both know what’s at stake, and we’re grown enough to put that aside. We all have our dreams and aspirations, but it’s bigger than just me against him. I think we both kind of know that.

“It’s weird with me and James. We’ve always competed for that spot since I touched down in Boston. It’s like ‘All right, it’s going to be me or you.’ Like, that’s such my homie. That’s the crazy thing about it. It’s part of the business, though.”

If Hunter can find his way and return to the form that saw him shoot a career 35.5 percent from 3 and 42.6 percent from the field in his three seasons in college at Georgia State, he could become a valuable asset off the bench.

What sets Hunter apart is the optimism that he can hit from deep, and the two people he needs to impress most — Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge — he has.

“Danny just told me a lot of the things he likes,” Hunter said. “‘You have long arms, great touch, great feel, if you really want to put your mind to this, you could be as good as you want to be.’ That’s coming from DA. Come on. What else do I need to hear? The same with Brad, Brad’s always been good about complimenting my game. … Just what they said about what future I have and how good I can be, it was super uplifting.”

Hunter has been busy this offseason, watching tape with ridiculous amounts of detail and narrowing down what he needs to improve. It starts with the basics, with his footwork being periodically off last season.

“Every close-out I’ve had, my feet were either too spaced or I’m not ready to slide and compete,” he said. “Footwork, that’s the control of your body, so it starts there. Working on that is just building my foundation.”

Time will tell for the second-year pro, with camp now less than a month away, but after a disappointing rookie campaign, things can only go up.

“I trust my game more than ever, I trust myself more than ever,” he said. “I saw so much I can implement, given a chance. I’m really excited about that.”

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca joined Dennis & Callahan with Minihane during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Tuesday and discussed the team’s attempt to lure Kevin Durant to Boston. To hear the interview, visit the D&C audio on demand page.

The Celtics were one of the finalists to land the 2014 MVP, and several players and front office members met with Durant in early July. Durant ultimately chose to join the Warriors, but Pagliuca said he believes his team was very close to grabbing him. 

“We put on a great presentation,” Pagliuca said. “The players did a fantastic job and Tom Brady helped us, I think we were very compelling. … We always hope for the best, and we prepare for otherwise, but I thought we had a really good shot at him.”

The Celtics got an assist at the meeting from Brady, form whom Durant has plenty of respect.

“He made a very compelling case how it’s so special to be able to play in Boston, the No. 1 sports town in America,” Pagliuca said. “Winning a championship in Boston is like nothing else, he made a very compelling presentation that I think really impressed Durant.”

Added Pagliuca: “Those are always very personal decisions by a player, so we really can’t get into their heads. But he would have been a great fit here for sure, and we were excited to have him up here. He’s a class act, I just got back from the Rio Olympics and he carried himself extremely well down there and won games with the team. We look forward to competing against him, he’s very close with Avery Bradley and I think we’re going to bother him defensively. We were one of the only teams to beat both Golden State and Cleveland on their own court last year. We were excited to play them.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.

Grousbeck on what it takes to bring star free agents to Boston: “I always felt like we could get them here if we made it a place where they thought they had a chance to win a ring. We want to be back in that contending position of winning a ring, we were wearing our rings in there when we were pitching Durant and his dad. Rings are really important, there’s tons of money in the NBA, you can get money in any city, but you can only get a ring in a couple of opportunities, a couple of places. We want to be one of those places, and then we’ll continue to attract people like [Hawks free agent center] Al Horford. He wants to come here because of the fans, because of the tradition, he wants to be part of the next Celtics championship. We’ve got to find some more people like that.”

Grousbeck on what coach Brad Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge have done with the team: “They have selected players that seem to fit a role, these young guys getting better, everybody’s hungry. And Al, he is a couple years older, but he’s a four-time All-Star and he’s still got a lot of juice, a lot to give left. It will be a great year, and we’ll build from there with these Brooklyn picks.”

Pagliuca on how the team will respond if players follow NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s lead and sit through the national anthem: “Our players are very respectful and we’re very respectful, we’ll cross any kind of bridge when we come to it. We’re really happy with our team and how they purport themselves. I think we have a great group of young individuals.”

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier

It’s been nearly two months since Kevin Durant opted to sign with the Golden State Warriors over a slew of other bidders — the Celtics being one of them.

The Celtics brought the cavalry, including players Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk and Marcus Smart as well as President Danny Ainge and co-owner Steve Pagliuca. Tom Brady was also in attendance.

Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley

It’s been nearly two months since Kevin Durant opted to sign with the Golden State Warriors over a slew of other bidders — the Celtics being one of them.

The Celtics brought the cavalry, including players Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk and Marcus Smart as well as President Danny Ainge and co-owner Steve Pagliuca. Tom Brady was also in attendance.

But there was one glaringly obvious absence.

The longest-tenured member of the Celtics Avery Bradley was not in attendance, and, addressing it for the first time, there was a reason behind his absence. The pair both played at the University of Texas and interface frequently as a result of it, the guard thought it was best to stay out of it.

“I didn’t do that much,” the 25-year-old told the Boston Globe at a court makeover in Belmont. “Me and Kevin are like brothers, so we talk all the time. So I’m not going to talk to him about that, you know what I mean? I was more asking him how he’s doing.

“I was actually with him a week before all that stuff went down at a camp in Austin, so I really wasn’t that much involved.”

Though he stayed largely away from the Durant luring process, the All-Star’s decision did not seem to turn the head of Bradley as wildly as it did the rest of the basketball world.

“You know what, I can’t really say,” he said. “All I can say is that I’m happy for him, and I feel like he’s part of a great organization. And I wish the best for him. Kevin’s a really good guy and an even better player.”

Even with Bradley’s silence, it was not the product of a disdain for the Celtics or a perpetuation of the notion that the city is a black hole for NBA free agents.

In fact, with the addition of free agent Al Horford, it is more of a tell-tale sign that the team and the city — who’s longest-tenured player is just 25 years old — are becoming a more enticing location of top NBA talent in the offseason.

“To be honest, even though some people would say this is a tough place to come to obviously, I think if I were a player I would want to come here,” Bradley said. “With all the history and fans, that alone would make me want to come here. I can’t speak for all the other guys in the NBA, but I wasn’t surprised at all that (Horford) would want to come here. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of an organization like this with a coach like we have, and the type of guys that we have? Seeing how we are just growing every single year, improving every single year, I feel like every player would want to be a part of a process like this.”

The addition of Horford on paper should revolutionize the Celtics frontcourt, making them much more of a scoring and rebounding threat. The biggest factor the 30-year-old will bring, however, will be his defense, something the Celtics have already excelled at as of late.

“He knows what it takes to be a great defender, and I know he talks well,” Bradley said of Horford. “I can tell for how disciplined the [Hawks are]. I’m just happy to have him behind me, talking and helping me defend some of the best players in the NBA.”

Bradley’s defense last season got recognition across the league, going so far as resulting in a place on the NBA’s first-team All-Defense squad. And like fellow shooting guard Marcus Smart, he believes the defense will stay solid, and even continue to improve and bring himself some more accolades. 

With that in mind, there is still quite a bit of room for Bradley to grow.

“Yeah I mean of course, that’s my goal to be defensive player of the year,” Bradley said. I feel like it’s possible for me if I go out there with the right mindset. The only thing I wanted to change in the past was being a little bit more disciplined on the defensive end. Last year I was definitely disciplined. I didn’t reach as much; I was trying to be solid to help our team. But this year is going to be a mix of both because I feel like I’m capable of being even better because I got a chance to learn from my mistakes in the past and now I know exactly what I need to do.”

And for any concerns from Bradley’s hamstring injury he sustained during Game 1 and the rest of the Celtics playoff matchup against the Hawks last season? He’s good to go.

“I was trying to fight through it, but [the Celtics staff] helped me make the smartest decision for myself and the team,” Bradley said. “That’s what I did. Now, I’m healthy, and I feel great.”

Bradley noted the injury felt better as early as a week after the Celtics’ elimination.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder

Phil Jackson has made a lot of mistakes as president of the Knicks, with a list going on and on from botched trades to swing-and-miss free agent signings and draft picks to regretful decisions in choosing coaches.

This has all lead the Knicks to an abysmal 49 combined wins over the two full seasons he’s been in charge.

That said, there is certainly a lot of regrets he could choose from — and his biggest gaffe involves one of today’s most prominent members of the Celtics.

Speaking to Today’s Fastbreak’s Charley Rosen, Jackson discussed when he could’ve had Jae Crowder, but instead took a chance with a draft pick instead.

“I don’t consider hiring [then-head coach Derek Fisher] a mistake because he worked hard and got the guys to stay as positive as possible while the losses piled up,” Jackson said. “I think the biggest mistake I made was actually this…One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics. In talking with Boston, I was given the option of taking that pick or else taking Jae Crowder. I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo, so I took the pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early. While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us, he still has the potential to be a valuable player. Even so, I should have taken Crowder.

The 70-year-old added: “Anyway, for all of us, making mistakes are part of the learning process.”

The Knicks president does bring up a valuable point, however, that Crowder would have been in a tough spot to find playing time behind Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony. However from a production standpoint, Crowder would have been more valuable coming off the bench behind Anthony than Early has ever been in his NBA career.

After Jackson passed on Crowder, the small forward made his way to Boston via the Rajon Rondo trade that the troubled point guard to the Mavs during the 2014-15 season. Crowder finagled his way into the Celtics starting lineup during the 2015-16 season, starting every game he appeared in, and he’ll likely do the same this season.

To put it in perspective, Jackson ended up with someone who has spent quite a bit of time in the D-League and even played in the summer league this summer. He was also sidelined for most of the second half of 2016 after being shot in the knee outside of a strip club.

In that timeframe, Crowder became a quasi-star in Boston, playing in 73 games alone in 2015-16 (to Early’s 56 career NBA games) and averaged 14.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game over 31.6 minutes per game.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder

Phil Jackson has made a lot of mistakes as president of the Knicks, with a list going on and on from botched trades to swing-and-miss free agent signings and draft picks to regretful decisions in choosing coaches.

This has all lead the Knicks to an abysmal 49 combined wins over the two full seasons he’s been in charge.

That said, there is certainly a lot of regrets he could choose from — and his biggest gaffe involves one of today’s most prominent members of the Celtics.

Speaking to Today’s Fastbreak’s Charley Rosen, Jackson discussed when he could’ve had Jae Crowder, but instead took a chance with a draft pick instead.

“I don’t consider hiring [then-head coach Derek Fisher] a mistake because he worked hard and got the guys to stay as positive as possible while the losses piled up,” Jackson said. “I think the biggest mistake I made was actually this…One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics. In talking with Boston, I was given the option of taking that pick or else taking Jae Crowder. I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo, so I took the pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early. While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us, he still has the potential to be a valuable player. Even so, I should have taken Crowder.

The 70-year-old added: “Anyway, for all of us, making mistakes are part of the learning process.”

The Knicks president does bring up a valuable point, however, that Crowder would have been in a tough spot to find playing time behind Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony. However from a production standpoint, Crowder would have been more valuable coming off the bench behind Anthony than Early has ever been in his NBA career.

After Jackson passed on Crowder, the small forward made his way to Boston via the Rajon Rondo trade that the troubled point guard to the Mavs during the 2014-15 season. Crowder finagled his way into the Celtics starting lineup during the 2015-16 season, starting every game he appeared in, and he’ll likely do the same this season.

To put it in perspective, Jackson ended up with someone who has spent quite a bit of time in the D-League and even played in the summer league this summer. He was also sidelined for most of the second half of 2016 after being shot in the knee outside of a strip club.

In that timeframe, Crowder became a quasi-star in Boston, playing in 73 games alone in 2015-16 (to Early’s 56 career NBA games) and averaged 14.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game over 31.6 minutes per game.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

The tumultuous Colten Iverson era appears it will end before even seeing him in green.

Per The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, the Celtics elected to renounce the rights of the 2013 second round pick and “give him a shot to make a roster elsewhere.”

Taken 53rd overall out of Colorado State by the Pacers and promptly traded to the Celtics, Iverson prolonged the NBA limbo he sat in since being drafted by remaining stiff in contract negations. Each year, he declined a contract with the Celtics that would enable him to be brought to camp to instead play overseas.

In fairness, the likelihood was high the now 27-year-old 7-footer would not make the Celtics roster, subsequently being waived and thus relinquishing the Celtics draft rights on him and placing Iverson in free agency.

However, the move for the Celtics to let him go now was a process that could’ve been circumvented many years ago. Speculation has been prevalent the past three offseasons if he would take a run at the NBA, and if he does (even with age now becoming a factor and his opportunity slipping by the day) it doesn’t appear it will be with the Celtics.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Kelly Olynyk

Kelly Olynyk

How much have the Celtics changed over the past four years?

Think of it this way: entering his fourth year of NBA service, all with the Celtics, center Kelly Olynyk is currently the second-longest tenured member of the team after Avery Bradley.

“That’s pretty crazy. I think from the year I got here, me and Avery are the only people still from that team. We had 15 guys when we came in here, and there’s only two of us surviving,” Olynyk said at his annual trip to Canobie Lake Park with children from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children as part of the Shamrock Foundation on Wednesday. The 25-year-old jokingly added, “So it’s either me or Avery, one of us has got to go.”

The trip was later than usual as a result of the shoulder surgery Olynyk underwent on May 16 due to recurrent subluxations in response to his Feb. 10 collision with Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.

And with Celtics training camp set to begin in a month on Sept. 26, things are looking up in the 7-footer’s recovery

“My shoulder’s doing alright, man. I should be ready to rock,” he said. “It’s good. Still got about a month or so left, which you can put a lot of work in in a month, get it stronger. It’s coming along, motion’s pretty good, need to get it stronger, give it time to heal.

“We’ll get everybody together and just see how not only if it’s ready, but when it’s the best time to ease into it and gradually improve it and kind of roll things out.”

Olynyk has been a consistently valuable asset off the bench since being taken 13th overall by the Mavericks and promptly traded to the Celtics in the 2013 NBA draft. Appearing in 69 games in 2015-16 — starting just 8 — he averaged 10 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game. He also shot 45.5 percent from the field., and for a big man was not afraid to pull the trigger from downtown, averaging three attempts a game with a team-leading 40.5 shooting percent from three.

 

With all that in mind, he’s still got his work cut out for him. The Celtics still have Tyler Zeller and Amir Johnson at their disposal, as well as newly-acquired Al Horford.

Horford does address multiple needs for the Celtics, and for Olynyk, who was on the team’s private plane en route to court then-free agent Kevin Durant when President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge received the call Horford chose them, it will do nothing but help the team improve.

“It was awesome. We were just super happy Al was going to join us. A player of his caliber and of his talent level and of his character is huge. It’s something that we kind of wanted and needed and we’re really looking to him coming to us and him helping us get to where we want to be,” Olynyk said.

“He’s a great player and he’s so good because he can play with a lot of different guys. He’s really skilled, he can make things happen offensively he can play defensively, he can fly around. His length and his ability to guard different spots, and play different spots on the floor, really helps us and our versatility.”

One void that will rear it’s head this season is the loss of sixth man Evan Turner, who departed for the TrailBlazers this offseason. That hasn’t stopped Olynyk from corresponding with his former teammate.

“I did talk to Evan, he came to my camp, actually. Unbelievable guy, it’s too bad that he had to go, but it was good for him, really good for him. It’s tough anytime, the business is different. You’ll see over the years you get close to guys and you have great teammates like Evan and, you know, they’ve got to do what’s best for them.”

For the full interview with Olynyk on Celtics.com, click here.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

Apr 28, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) reacts against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half in game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Smart will look to fill Evan Turner’s role on the Celtics this season. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

One of the biggest questions the Celtics will have to answer at the start of the regular season is this: Who will emerge as the team’s sixth man?

 In a two-year span, Evan Turner (now with the Trail Blazers) flourished as the Celtics’ first option off the bench. He provided scoring and rebounding and was the team’s secondary ball handler. He averaged 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists last season, and his production surely will be missed.

Turner finished fifth in voting for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year and made game-deciding plays, so there’s certainly a void left behind. However, the Celtics have more than a few options off the bench — guys who have the potential to perform on both ends of the floor at a high rate and are very much capable of becoming the team’s newest sixth man next season. 

Here are their best options.

1. Marcus Smart 

Smart is heading into his third NBA season, and expectations are at an all-time high for him. Last season he carved out a role for himself as the team’s second-best backcourt defender (behind Avery Bradley), while also showing flashes of scoring prowess. Most notably there was a 26-point performance against arguably the best point guard in the league — Thunder star Russell Westbrook — as Smart made 9-of-14 shots from the floor, including 3-of-5 from behind the arc, and led the C’s to a 100-85 win at Oklahoma City. 

An impressive showing for the young guard, but what’s often frustrating about Smart’s offense is his lack of consistency — something Westbrook (who finished with 27 points that night) reminded us about Smart after the loss:

“[Smart] had a good game. But there’s 82 games I do this,” Westbrook said.

The following night, Smart finished with four points in 30 minutes against the Rockets — a big drop-off from what was the best scoring night of his career.

Although Smart’s suffocating defense helped limit Westbrook to 25 percent shooting (5-of-20), in order for him to slide into the team’s sixth man role he’s going to have to find consistency on both ends of the floor. If he can build off Game 4 of April’s playoff series against the Hawks — another fantastic performance from Smart — there’s a strong chance that Stevens will see his backup guard reach new heights next season.

Smart, who finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals in that game against the Hawks, delivered in the fourth quarter by scoring eight consecutive points (including back-to-back 3’s), pulling down crucial rebounds and making critical defensive stops against the best player on the floor — Paul Millsap — toward the end of the fourth quarter and in overtime. The C’s tied the series with that win, and Smart finished with a game-high plus-24 rating.

He also earned himself a few All-NBA Defensive Team votes, and it’s only a matter of time before we see Smart on one of the All-Defensive Teams. As an elite defender with a career average of 8.4 points, he’s a lock in Stevens’ rotation. But if can shoot at a higher level, he’ll undoubtedly become the Celtics’ newest sixth man (if he’s not starting).

The ceiling still is very high for Smart and maybe this upcoming season ought to be the year we see him make humongous strides.

2.  Jaylen Brown

At 19, Brown was one of the youngest players selected in the 2016 NBA draft and already is considered to be one of the most unpopular first-round picks in recent Celtics history. With that in mind, Brown entered summer league with a chip on his shoulder and proved to his naysayers how valuable he can be for the C’s in his rookie season.

Brown, who was projected to be drafted outside of the top five by most experts, fared well this summer against the two draftees who were selected before him — Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram.

2016 summer league stats 

Ben Simmons: 10.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists

Brandon Ingram: 12.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists

Jaylen Brown: 16.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists

Brown displayed athleticism, quickness and the ability to initiate contact and get to the free throw line. He scored 20-plus points in back-to-back games and got to the charity stripe 36 times in three games — easily his most impressive stat of the summer. His ability to attack the hoop certainly is what he does best.

However, if he’s going to become a vital piece for the Celtics next season, it’s going to be his one-on-one defense that’ll get him there. Brown finished with a combined seven steals in his last two summer games against the Cavaliers and Blazers. He applies his quickness and great footwork on the defensive end by staying in front of his opponent and clogging the passing lanes.

So, what’s his biggest flaw?

Shooting.

Brown is not an effective shooter and is going to have to develop a jump shot during his rookie season. As Jae Crowder’s backup, Brown is expected to be a nice spark off the bench, and if he happens to develop a jumper to complement his speed and aggressive defense, it could be enough for him to become the sixth man for the C’s.

3. Terry Rozier

As he heads toward his second NBA season, Rozier has every reason to feel good about himself.

After playing meaningful minutes in the playoff series against the Hawks, he followed that up by becoming the Celtics’ best player this summer — averaging a team-high 20 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

Although NBA summer league stats don’t always (OK, almost never) translate the same in the regular season, Rozier’s confidence definitely is one thing he will carry into the 2016-17 season. He’s a secondary facilitator — a role that was very important for Turner and the Celtics last season. Rozier also is an above-average defender — an attribute that will keep him on the floor.

He also proved he can score at the rim and has improved on his outside touch — something the Celtics are always looking for. If Rozier is able to make the leap and put together an over-the-top performance in preseason, he’ll have a shot at becoming Stevens’ first option off the bench.

4. Gerald Green

The Celtics’ 2005 first-round pick returns to Boston, where his NBA journey began at 18 years old. The former dunk champion will look to rekindle his production of two years ago when he was able to put together the best season of his nine-year career.

Green has suited up for seven NBA teams since he last played for Boston, making stops with the Timberwolves, Rockets, Mavericks, Nets, Pacers, Suns and Heat (while also playing two years in Russia).

An NBA Sixth Man of the Year candidate in 2014 with Phoenix, Green shot 44.5 percent from the floor, including a career-high 40 percent clip from deep. He eventually became a starter for the Suns the following season before playing for the Heat in 2015-16 — when he only averaged eight points in 22.6 minutes a night. By the the start of the postseason, he was behind Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson on the depth chart and his playing time dipped to 9.2 minutes a night.

After finishing last season as one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league, the Celtics hope Green can recapture the outside touch he had in Phoenix. He’s a 36.1 percent career shooter from behind the arc but is going to have his work cut out for himself in trying to jump in front of Smart, Rozier and Brown — three candidates who are eager to become the team’s sixth man for the 2016-17 season.

Blog Author: 
Josue Pavon