With so much focus on the Boston Celtics‘ stellar second half of the season, it’s easy to overlook what’s going on in the G-League.
But, while Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown have been grabbing the headlines, Chris Clemons has been putting together some incredible numbers for Boston’s G-League affiliate, the Maine Celtics.
In 33 games this season, Clemons is averaging 22.8 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game while shooting 42.1% from deep and 44.5% from the field, per Basketball-Reference. So, it should come as no surprise that the 24-year-old shooting guard has been named the G-League player of the month.
Clemons does have some NBA experience though, having participated in 33 games for the Houston Rockets during the 2019-20 NBA Season, where he averaged 4.9 points per game on 40.1% shooting from the field and 34.6% shooting from three. Of course, that was two seasons ago, and it seems like the young guard has vastly improved every area of his game during his time in the G-League.
Clemons Could Earn Full NBA Deal
If the North Carolina native continues to light up the G-League for the remainder of the season, there’s every reason to believe that he could find himself fielding calls from NBA teams during the off-season.
Shooting guards who can defend and score across all three levels are incredibly valuable in the modern NBA and given the success of other exports from the G-League in recent years, Clemons has a clear blueprint to follow if he wishes to get another shot in the big leagues.
Teams such as the Miami Heat have had huge success when calling up talent from the G-League, with players such as Max Strus earning prominent roles within the team’s rotation. That type of player development has allowed Miami to remain competitive despite their numerous max-contract guys, and also gives the team flexibility in the trade market during the off-season.
The Celtics have also made use of the G-League this season, having signed Luke Kornet and Sam Hauser to full-time deals after the February 14 trade deadline, while also ensuring their two-way roster spots are filled with players who could find their way into the team’s rotation further down the line.
Boston’s Guard Rotation is Set
Unfortunately for Clemons, his route back to the NBA probably doesn’t go through Boston. The Celtics are stacked in the guard position and can call on Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser, and Aaron Nesmith to fit the team’s needs.
As such, Clemons will have to look elsewhere if he wants to re-enter the big leagues, and could possibly find himself back in Houston given their rebuilding status and willingness to give players opportunities to earn their spots.
Still, Clemons has done himself no harm with his performances this season and has proved he deserves another opportunity to cement himself as a viable NBA rotational guard.
However, the route back to the NBA is long and arduous, so it might be another year before we see the Maine Celtics standout facing off against the Celtics in a regular-season game.