Celtics Bring in 24-Year-Old ‘Energetic Shot Blocker’ for Closer Look

Mfiondu Kabengele, who just signed with the Boston Celtics' Summer League team.

Getty Mfiondu Kabengele, who just signed with the Boston Celtics' Summer League team.

The Boston Celtics have a lot to think about this offseason. They have a $17.1 million TPE at their disposal, a $6.3 million MLE to use, and some roster spots they want to fill out. Their goal should be to put the best possible team out there in an attempt to make it back to the NBA Finals.

However, they can’t skip from free agency to the start of the next season. First, they need to get through Summer League. But before that, they need to fill out their Summer League roster – a process that they have already begun.

According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, the Celtics have added former first-round pick Mfiondu Kabengele to their Summer League roster. He joins players such as Jordan Bone, Juhann Begarin, JD Davison, and Trevion Williams.

Kabengele hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2020-21 season when he played 23 games for the LA Clippers and 16 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, as noted by NBC Sports Boston, he found a ton of success in the G League last season.

Kabgenele’s G League Success

In an article detailing Kabengele’s addition to Boston’s Summer League squad, Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston pointed out that the big man enjoyed some success in the G League this past year with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

“Kabengele, a Florida State star, originally was selected in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft by the Brooklyn Nets. The 6-foot-10 forward has played 51 career games between the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers. He played for the G League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers last season, averaging 17.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game,” Leger wrote.

During his two seasons at Florida State, Kabengele was known for his shot-blocking and interior presence. In his final collegiate season, he averaged 13.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game on 50.2% shooting from the field and 36.9% shooting from behind the three-point line.

His athleticism and defensive presence could potentially make him an ideal backup behind Robert Williams if he did happen to stick after Summer League. But of course, he’ll have to prove his worth there first.

Based on the scouting report he received after college, though, he could be an ideal fit.

Kabengele’s Defensive Praised as Prospect

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer ranked Kabengele as the 23rd best prospect in the 2019 NBA Draft class. He was placed one spot behind Orlando Magic big man Bol Bol and one spot ahead of Philadelphia 76ers wing Matisse Thybulle. O’Connor listed Kebengele’s biggest strength as “rim protection” and someone who could thrive on that end of the floor.

“Energetic shot blocker; he has natural timing paired with quick-twitch leaping ability and length. He’s most visibly impactful in help defense situations when chasing down opponents,” O’Connor wrote. “Major potential defending the pick-and-roll; he has improved in college and does a solid job of dropping to defend both his man and the ball handler. His length is a natural deterrent.”

While Kabengele hasn’t been able to stick anywhere in the league yet, if he can prove his worth on defense during Summer League, maybe the Celtics could give him his ticket back into the NBA.

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