The next time the Boston Celtics will hit the court in any iteration will be early next month when NBA Summer League action tips off in Las Vegas. All 30 NBA teams will take part in the 10-day, 75-game event, with each club playing in five games apiece.
Although a champion will be crowned at the event, summer league isn’t about wins and losses. Getting a look at hundreds of prospects and developing young players is the name of the game here.
For a group like the Celtics, who aren’t in the title conversation but find themselves doling out a whole heap of cash to just a handful of players, summer league is especially important.
Identifying capable players who can fill spots on the cheap could help the team round out its roster in a major way. Boston’s decision-makers will also get more intel on their internal prospects, which will aid them in deciding if those players should be part of the franchise’s long-term plans.
Finally, the Celtics will get their first real look at a certain Euro draft stash. Is he a star in the making? Is he even worthy of a roster spot? His summer-league efforts could go a long way toward answering those questions.
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Yam Madar Is the Headliner for the Celtics
He has been labeled the Euro Stephen Curry, but Israeli point-man Yam Madar remains an unknown quantity as relates to NBA basketball. And after losing an arbitration case with his current club, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Madar won’t be joining the Celtics at all next season unless he and the Beantowners team up on a contract buyout.
Per The Athletic’s Jared Weiss and others, he will be part of Boston’s summer league squad, however. Madar’s participation in Vegas should go a long way toward revealing whether or not he’ll be worth the cost of freeing him from Hapoel.
This much is certain — Madar has been balling out in Israel over the last two years.
In 2020, he was selected as the IPL’s Most Improved Player as a 19-year-old. The honor came after he put up 10.1 points and 3.4 assists per contest during the ’19-20 campaign. Madar elevated his game again the following season, averaging 16.5 points, 5.1 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game.
He also connected on 40.6% of his three-point shots.
Other Celtics Expected to Suit up for Summer League
According to Weiss, Romeo Langford, Payton Pritchard, Aaron Nesmith and Carsen Edwards are all expected to join Madar at summer league. Last season, Pritchard and Nesmith both spent time in the Celtics’ rotation; strong showings in Vegas could help them keep or increase their roles in ’21-22 under first-year coach Ime Udoka.
Meanwhile, Langford and Edwards are looking to prove that they can do more than they have been able to show thus far in their NBA careers. In particular, Langford still has a lot to prove as a former lottery pick. Injuries and COVID-19 have kept him off the floor for extended periods, but time waits for no man.
His games played and minutes have been sparse, but the former freshman standout at Indiana is already entering his third year in the Association. He needs to use his time in summer league to show that he’s still that guy. And he’ll likely be given a featured role to do just that.
Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters would likely join the Celtics’ summer squad in the event that they put pen to paper on their third and final two-way contracts. However, Weiss reports that Waters has been working out away from Boston and is exploring other opportunities.
Finally, Weiss is reporting that Rob and Grant Williams won’t be part of the summer league festivities.
As for Fall, his road to a roster spot is a crowded one with Al Horford and Moses Brown joining the Cs frontcourt.
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