The Boston Celtics have some choices to make in the next week or so. Excluding the two players who are on two-way contracts – Mfiondu Kabengele and JD Davison – the Celtics have 18 players on their training camp roster and must cut it down to 15 or possibly 14 before opening night.
The Celtics have 12 players on guaranteed contracts and one on a partially guaranteed contract with Luke Kornet, though Kornet is expected to make the team. Noah Vonleh, Jake Layman, Justin Jackson, Brodric Thomas, and Luka Samanic are among the candidates viable for a spot. MassLive’s Brian Robb believes that Jackson’s second-half performance against the Charlotte Hornets may have been good enough
“Jackson was hitting everything, knocking down three consecutive 3s in one stretch in the third quarter on his way to a 4-of-8 outing from beyond the arc.
“When all was said and done, Jackson finished with 16 points in 23 minutes while adding a nice hustle block on a fast break in the second half.”
Robb went on to say that Jackson’s performance was good enough to make him an appealing option to the Celtics for one of their last roster spots.
“However, Jackson’s impressive second half against the Hornets could leave a lasting mark. The team is likely to carry 15 players with Danilo Gallinari and Rob Williams sidelined through 2022 and Jackson looks like one appealing option to round out the team’s depth chart.”
Jackon started his career with the Dallas Mavericks in 2017 and won a championship with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021.
Noah Vonleh Has ‘Inside Track’ to Make Roster
Jackson was not the only one who left a strong impression when the Celtics faced the Hornets on October 7. The Athletic’s Jared Weiss believed Noah Vonleh’s performance gives him the inside track to a spot on the roster.
“(Vonleh) finally showed how his face-up game can be used in an offense that isn’t going to give him clear-outs in the high post. Vonleh had a few athletic finishes off the bounce and showed he can be aggressive to get to spots where he has leverage without turning the ball over.
“That gives him a distinct advantage over Mfiondu Kabengele in earning minutes at the five, especially given how Vonleh’s defensive intensity and positioning looked much better Friday. With Kabengele already on a two-way deal, Vonleh appears to have the inside track on the 14th roster spot.”
Of all the training camp invitees, Vonleh’s the one who’s gotten the most extensive look with the Celtics. With Danilo Gallinari, Robert Williams III, and Luke Kornet all injured, the Celtics will need as much frontcourt depth as possible.
Vonleh started his career with the Hornets in 2014 and last played in the NBA with the Brooklyn Nets in 2021.
Jackson’s Tenure With the Celtics
Jackson’s involvement with the Celtics first started during the 2021-22 season when they signed him to a 10-day hardship exemption.
While Jackson never stayed past the expiration of his contract, the Celtics brought him on to play on their Summer League team this past summer.
In the three games he played for them, he averaged 16.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and three assists while shooting 43.2 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from three, according to NBA.com.
If Jackson does not make the final roster, that doesn’t necessarily rule out Jackson playing for their G-League affiliate, the Maine Celtics, in the near future.