Guerschon Yabusele Should be Stashed Overseas Next Year

Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Guerschon Yabusele greets NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number sixteen overall pick to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Guerschon Yabusele greets NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number sixteen overall pick to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The best option for Guerschon Yabusele’s development is to stash him overseas for another year

It came with a little surprise that Guerschon Yabusele was going to participate in Summer League this year. The 16th overall pick this year was seen as a probable draft-and-stash option for the Boston Celtics, however they’re not so sure anymore.

The Celtics have decided that rookie Ante Zizic will benefit more playing in Croatia for at least one more season. Although, the verdict is still out on Yabusele. According to Brian Robb, Boston is still weighing their options when it comes to Yabusele, and his strong Summer League performance is making it a tough choice.

Through the Celtics first three games, Yabusele has put together strong showings. He finished the Utah Summer League averaging 8.7 points, seven rebounds – team-high, fourth best in Utah – and 1.3 steals per game on 40.9 percent shooting in 24.7 minutes.

After surprisingly being selected in the first round, no one expected a raw talent like Yabusele to put together terrific numbers in Summer League. Although, he has quietly been very efficient and a big contributor to the Celtics 3-0 start.

He’s as swift as you can be at 6’7″ and 260 pounds. Yabusele has one of the bigger frames you’ll see, but he’s extremely quick and agile for a power forward. In fact, Yabusele has been able to take his defenders off the dribble and finish with an emphatic dunk more than once.

For a player who was seen as a spot-up shooter and not much else on offense, he’s proved that to be completely false. In fact, he has only attempted four threes in the first three games – going 0-for-4. He’s been a great pick-and-roll player and doesn’t have a problem finishing through a defender or going around one.

His ability to run the floor and drive down the lane is something rare from a big body like Yabusele. Players could take a charge, however they’ll feel it the next day and will definitely think twice about getting in the way of the moving freight train that is Yabusele.

Even with his versatile scoring, Yabusele’s biggest impact has been on the glass. Despite finishing fifth in rebounds last season as a team, it’s hard to say Boston was a good rebounding team. The rebounding numbers are somewhat inflated since the Celtics played at the fifth fastest pace in the NBA, which leads to more rebounding opportunities. It’s a big reason why they ranked 25th in defensive rebounding percentage, despite putting up impressive total rebounding numbers.

Yes, the addition of Al Horford should help in that area, but they’re also expected to lose their leading rebounder from last season in Jared Sullinger. That alone could be why Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens are contemplating keeping Yabusele with them this season. Horford gives the team a consistent rebounder, but they’ll continue to struggle rebounding as a team.

Yabusele put together three very good rebounding games. In fact, he was the only player on the Celtics who out-rebounded Terry Rozier. Also, he’s a rare player who impacts the offensive glass as often as on the defensive side.

Yabusele brought down nine offensive rebounds compared to his 12 defensive boards. In only three games, that’s a ridiculous amount of offensive rebounds. The top three rebounders in Utah – Trey Lyles, Kyle Anderson and Ben Simmons – only brought down a combined 11 offensive boards in eight games. It shows how dominant Yabusele has been, especially when considering the he faced all three.

With the ability to use his athleticism to get put-back dunks or draw fouls, the Celtics have to be licking their lips when imagining the type of rebounder he can develop into.

Of course, it’s only been three Summer League games but it’s very impressive nonetheless. His play over the next three games and into the Las Vegas Summer League Tournament will also play a factor in his future. However, the smart thing for the Celtics to do is to stash him in France for another season, no matter how he plays in Vegas.

Despite his great showing, there’s no room for him on the current roster. Al Horford is set to see over 30 minutes a night, Kelly Olynyk and Amir Johnson will each likely reach their 20 minutes they saw last season, which leaves the remainder of minutes for Jonas Jerebko and Jordan Mickey. It’s hard to imagine that Yabusele will be able to crack the rotation unless an injury takes place. Even then it’s not certain.

Although, after this season, Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko will hit the market as unrestricted free agents and Kelly Olynyk will be a restricted free agent. With Johnson and Jerebko unlikely to return, and Olynyk’s future depending on how much money he commands, there will be a lot of minutes open for Yabusele and Zizic – even if they sign another max contract big man.

More from Hardwood Houdini

When it comes down to it, Yabusele could experience the NBA lifestyle and be up-and-down between Boston and Maine, but that wouldn’t help his development. He’s still a raw player who doesn’t have a great post-up game and needs to work on his outside shot.

Playing in France where he saw 28.7 minutes per game last season and working on his game would help his development the most. Also, Yabusele will know his strengths and weaknesses after playing in Summer League this year, therefore he will be able to focus on his free-throw shooting and outside shot.

There is also the possibility that Danny Ainge really isn’t done making moves and is able to trade away part of their crowded front court. Although, with that seeming unlikely, Yabusele seeing consistent minutes will make him more ready for Summer League and the NBA next season.

Next: Impact of Dwyane Wade Signing With Chicago Bulls

He’s been more impressive than I imagined, however there’s currently no minutes for him with the Celtics. Danny Ainge needs to stick to his original plan and keep an eye on him in France.