With the recent excitement of the NBA Draft and the chaos of free agency starting this week, it is hard to believe that we are just days away from seeing some actual basketball again, as the Orlando Summer League kicks off again for 2014. The annual event will feature 10 teams, including the Boston Celtics, and is our first chance to see some of this year’s top draft picks in action.
The Celtics’ Summer League team is headlined by this year’s No. 6 overall pick, Marcus Smart, and last year’s Summer League sensation, Kelly Olynyk. The full schedule for the week-long event can be found on NBA.com.
The Orlando Magic will host the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League at the team’s practice court at the Amway Center from July 5-11, 2014. The 25-game, seven-day event will feature the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers.
Along with Smart and Olynyk on the Celtics’ squad are some intriguing names; let’s take a look at the full roster.
O.D. Anosike – PF
Anosike is a former two-time NCAA rebounding leader who played four years at Siena from 2009-13. The 6’8”, 240 pound big man has most recently been playing for Strasbourg IG in the LNB Pro A in France. He went undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Chris Babb – SG
After a stint in the D-League, Chris Babb made his NBA debut for the Celtics last season, playing in 14 games. He averaged 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds playing 9.4 minutes per game and was praised for his activity and shooting ability.
Babb was with the Celtics last season in the Summer League where he impressed the coaching staff, which led to his eventual signing. He is currently signed to a non-guaranteed deal and will be fighting for a place on the Celtics’ roster.
Dairis Bertans – SG
Latvian shooting guard Dairis Bertans is a 24-year-old currently playing for Bilbao Basket in the ACB. Nicknamed “The Latvian Rocket,” Bertans is a speedy guard with good shooting ability who has experience playing for the Latvian men’s national team.
Colton Iverson – C
In last year’s NBA draft, the Celtics made a move to acquire the 53rd pick and selected big man Colton Iverson. He spent the summer with the Celtics but after falling just short of making the roster, he moved to play in Turkey for his first professional season.
Iverson is back in an attempt to make the roster for a second time and his hard screens, rebounding and toughness could provide depth to the Celtics’ roster at the center position.
Edwin Jackson – SG
An intriguing addition to the Summer League squad, Jackson is a 6’3” shooting guard out of France who currently plays with ASVEL Basket in the LNB Pro A. Jackson is an athletic shooting guard with great shooting ability and has experience playing with the French national team. Is a flyer to find a role in the NBA as a shooter.
Chris Johnson – SG/SF
In one of last season’s few success stories for the Celtics, Chris Johnson was called up from the D-League in a second attempt to make the NBA and became a regular part of Coach Brad Stevens’ rotation. Playing in 40 games, Johnson averaged 6.3 points and 2.4 rebounds while knocking down 1.1 3-pointers a game.
The energetic defender is signed to an non-guaranteed deal and is likely to be kept around for the regular season for depth on the wings.
Mike Moser – SF
A 6’8” small forward, 23-year-old Mike Moser split his college career between UNLV and Oregon before going undrafted last week. He averaged 13.2 points and 7.7 rebounds last season and is a capable shooter from 3-point range.
Kelly Olynyk – PF/C
Last season’s No. 13 pick, Kelly Olynyk showed great strides through his first NBA season and finished with averaged of 8.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists over his 70 games. Olynyk was named to the All-Rookie Second Team and had some huge games towards the end of the season.
He was simply dominant in last season’s Summer League in Orlando and I would expect much of the same as the Celtics look to see how much their young big man has grown.
Phil Pressey – PG
After going undrafted in 2013, Phil Pressey caught on with the Celtics in Summer League last year and impressed enough to earn himself a place on the roster. Pressey ended up playing in 75 games for the Celtics last season, averaging 2.8 points and 3.2 assists and has an non-guaranteed deal with the team for this upcoming season.
He will be looking to impress in Orlando to keep his place on the roster.
Marcus Smart – PG/SG
No doubt the player who will generate the most excitement for Celtics’ fans in Orlando is the sixth pick in the 2014 draft, former Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart. Coming in as one of the most NBA-ready prospects in the entire draft, this will be the first chance to see Smart go up against other NBA players and an opportunity to see whether Stevens views him as a point or shooting guard to start his career.
With his attacking offensive game, elite defense and aggression on both ends, Smart will be a handful for any Summer League team.
James Young – SG/SF
The 17th pick in the 2014 draft, James Young is a talented scorer and shooter with the size to play at either wing position. At just 18 years old he is still extremely raw and this will be the first chance to see exactly how far away he is from contributing against NBA-level defenders. Will he be able to shoot and score in Summer League the same way he did in college?
The Celtics’ schedule opens on July 5 against the Miami Heat and includes games against the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic. A final opponent is to be determined based on results for the final championship day of the event.