When the Celtics selected French forward Guerschon Yabusele with the No. 16 pick in last month’s draft, it came as a surprise — and it didn’t sit well with some Celtics fans who were hoping the team would draft a more recognizable name.
Yabusele didn’t help his cause in the Celtics’ summer league opener on Monday, tallying just five points and six rebounds and looking uncomfortable on the court. But on Tuesday he showed why the C’s considered him worthy of a mid-first-round pick.
Starting at center, the 6-foot-8, 240-pounder scored on Boston’s first possession, catching the ball at the 3-point line, driving right and then finishing with a nifty left-handed reverse against second-year Jazz center Tibor Pleis, who at 7-foot-3 stands almost a half-foot taller than Yabusele.
Yabusele finished with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting and eight rebounds in 24 1/2 minutes. He also had an impressive block (one of two) in which he showed his quickness by chasing down a Jazz guard.
He was one of four Celtics in double figures as Boston posted an 89-82 victory.
— Leading Boston offensively was third-year shooting guard James Young, who totaled 17 points on 4-of-9 shooting. All four of his baskets came from behind the 3-point line, and he went 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. The Kentucky product also grabbed five rebounds and two steals in almost 28 minutes. The Celtics may have a roster spot available for Young once the regular season starts, and if the 20-year-old can continue knocking down outside shots, he may lock up a spot on the bench once again.
“It was just a team win,” Young said following the game. “I went out there and played basketball and played aggressive, but overall it was just a great team win. We went out there and played great defense, great offense and moved the ball around, and came out with the win.”
— Terry Rozier had another well-rounded game for Boston. After recording 18 points, six rebounds and five assists in a win over the 76ers on Monday, the second-year point guard finished Tuesday’s victory with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes. He also used his aggressiveness to get to the line, taking nine free throws. Rozier saw an increase in minutes near the end of last season, and with versatile small forward Evan Turner signing with the Trail Blazers, C’s coach Brad Stevens may have to rely more on Rozier for playmaking.
— Marcus Thornton was the fourth Celtic to score in double digits, finishing the game with 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting. The 2015 second-round draft pick averaged 13.6 points and shot 45.7 percent from the field with the Maine Red Claws last season.
— Jaylen Brown, the third overall pick in this year’s draft, sat out Tuesday’s game with an hyperextended knee. The injury isn’t considered to be serious and the small forward is expected to return to the floor on Thursday. R.J. Hunter (sore right wrist) also missed the game as a precaution.
The Celtics next take on the Spurs on Thursday in the final game of the Utah Summer League.
The Celtics did not pull off the major trade many fans were hoping for prior to last month’s draft, but they still might have a chance to make a splash. According to a report from the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, the C’s have been continuing their attempts to improve their lineup by landing a big-name player — namely Bulls guard Jimmy Butler or 76ers center Jahlil Okafor.
The report notes that the C’s may have hurt their chances with their surprising selection of Jaylen Brown at No. 3.
Wrote Bulpett: Sources tell us the C’s are still holding the line on their offers from prior to the draft. They will make trades if teams come around to their price.
Jimmy Butler and Jahlil Okafor are said to be still available, but getting them now won’t be as easy as on draft night when Chicago and Philadelphia, respectively, both coveted the No. 3 overall pick so they could take Providence’s Kris Dunn.
The Celtics helped their cause with the acquisition of free agent forward/center Al Horford but clearly need to do more to compete with the best in the East.
The Warriors are looking to fill out their roster with low-cost options as they have to make changes following their huge financial commitment to free agent Kevin Durant. It remains to be seen if Ray Allen will be one such addition.
According to an ESPN report, Allen is considering making a comeback after sitting out the last two seasons, and his representatives reached out to Golden State to see if there was a possibility he could join the Bay Area powerhouse. However, the Warriors were not sure if they would have interest.
The report also states that Allen would consider joining the Cavaliers, Spurs and Clippers if he decides to go through with a comeback attempt. Although he is known as a player who kept himself in top shape throughout his 18-year playing career, Allen turns 40 on July 20 and has not played in the league since averaging 9.6 points for the Heat in 2013-14.
A 10-time All-Star, Allen won his first title in 2008 with the Celtics. He left as a free agent in 2012 for the Heat and won another ring the ensuing season, hitting a huge, game-tying 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Spurs to keep his team alive. Miami went on to win that game in overtime and secure the title in Game 7.
Allen, who also played for the Bucks and SuperSonics, averaged 18.9 points in his career, hitting 40 percent of his 3-pointers.
Despite the Celtics’ best effort, even sending Tom Brady to the Hamptons to meet with him, Durant announced on the Players’ Tribune Monday morning that he will sign with the Warriors.
Here is what he wrote: This has been by far the most challenging few weeks in my professional life. I understood cognitively that I was facing a crossroads in my evolution as a player and as a man, and that it came with exceptionally difficult choices. What I didn’t truly understand, however, was the range of emotions I would feel during this process.
The primary mandate I had for myself in making this decision was to have it based on the potential for my growth as a player — as that has always steered me in the right direction. But I am also at a point in my life where it is of equal importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth. With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors.
I’m from Washington, D.C. originally, but Oklahoma City truly raised me. It taught me so much about family as well as what it means to be a man. There are no words to express what the organization and the community mean to me, and what they will represent in my life and in my heart forever. The memories and friendships are something that go far beyond the game. Those invaluable relationships are what made this deliberation so challenging.
It really pains me to know that I will disappoint so many people with this choice, but I believe I am doing what I feel is the right thing at this point in my life and my playing career.
I will miss Oklahoma City, and the role I have had in building this remarkable team. I will forever cherish the relationships within the organization — the friends and teammates that I went to war with on the court for nine years, and all the fans and people of the community. They have always had my back unconditionally, and I cannot be more grateful for what they have meant to my family and to me.