Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens will have a tough decision coming in the next week, as they will have to choose which player should get the final roster spot for the Boston Celtics.
Now at the end of the 2019-20 preseason, the Boston Celtics appear to have three really good players hoping to make one roster spot.
All three ballers possess different skill sets, and will bring their own uniqueness to the team dynamic. Whatever you think the Celtics need, one of these three will have it.
Watching the fun-sized Tremont Waters buzz around the court and make plays with his quickness despite his stature will bring fond memories of a former 5-9 MVP candidate who once donned the green and white of the Boston Celtics.
While Isaiah Thomas and Waters may be similar in build, the latter is not the scorching hot flamethrower Thomas was. Waters makes an impact through savvy playmaking while being a defensive pest.
Waters averaged 10.5 points and was the leading assist man for the Celtics at four a game throughout the preseason. Those numbers translate to 23 and nine PER 36 minutes, according to RealGM.
Unfortunately, the LSU product will never truly be a lockdown defender due to his size, but he does have a knack for racking up steals rather quickly (six total through 65 preseason minutes.)
The path for Waters being awarded the spot makes the most sense from a traditional roster building standpoint. A lack of quality front court depth stands as the team’s biggest weakness by far, but playmaking guards is a clearcut number two.
One injury to any of the aforementioned point guards could put the Boston Celtics in a tough position. As it stands, Waters is currently on a two-way contract and can spend 45 days with the team sprinkled in at any point during the season.
Perhaps that would be enough time to cover any injury hiccups along the way. If you are worried about the Celtics collection of playmakers, Waters is your guy.
It was a bit shocking when an undrafted kid from DePaul was granted one of Boston’s two, two-way contracts in mid-July. Since, however, Max Strus has proven his soft touch from beyond the arc will translate nicely in the NBA.
After shooting 36% from three at DePaul — averaging 20 points a game mind you –, Strus shot the ball well during the summer league and in preseason (45% from 3).
Outside of an excellent shot, Strus has also proven to be an impressive cutter and gives solid effort on the defensive end.
The 23-year-old was recently upgraded to a two-year partially guaranteed deal that would net him close to the amount of money he would have made on a two-way deal if he is waived.
There is a bit of an unspoken rule between agent and NBA executives to not take money away from a player once it’s promised.
I have no inside knowledge on the situation, but based on the fact he was given a two-way deal so early in the summer, it’s possible the Celtics are guaranteeing Strus some financial security should he be cut from the team.
Based on the recent on court performance of Javonte Green and Waters, it feels like Strus is on the outside looking in.
Following a summer league where he showed flashes of whats to come, Javonte Green was had a refreshing preseason performance with the Celtics.
From other worldly athleticism to impressive on-ball defense, Green looks like he’s ready to contribute for an NBA roster at the ripe age of 26.
If Javonte Green gets the 15th spot that I think he’s won, he’ll have gone:
Big South Conference
Spanish 3rd Division
Italian 2nd Division
Hell of a path
— Ryan Bernardoni (@dangercart) October 16, 2019
Green’s journey to get to this point may give him the inside track over the other two candidates.
Gerald Green and PJ Tucker of the Houston Rockets are two examples of NBA players who got better playing overseas before returning to the NBA later in their careers as key rotation pieces on an NBA roster.
Green may be next up in that group. He’s already shown his ability to guard the ball well, and attacks the rim with aggression and athleticism similar to fellow Boston Celtics wing, Jaylen Brown.
Perhaps the most surprising part of his game is the ability to snag rebounds like someone half a foot taller than he is. At 6-4, Green averaged ten boards PER 36 minutes in the preseason, including a nine rebound performance in the final game vs the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With an already stacked wing rotation, it could be hard for Green to see consistent playing time. Some might argue giving him a two-way contract and getting time playing with the Maine Red Claws may benefit him more than spending most nights sitting on the bench.
With all his prior basketball experience, coupled with his relatively young age, Green has proven to be too good for the Celtics to let walkaway and be scooped up by another team.
With the conclusion of the preseason, Green should be the frontrunner to secure the last roster spot for the Boston Celtics.