The Boston Celtics play the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night at the T.D. Garden, and we already know two members of the team’s frontcourt who won’t be playing in the absence of Robert Williams III, who is set to return from arthroscopic knee surgery recovery in January.
One is Grant Williams, who was suspended one game by the league for “recklessly making contact with and directing inappropriate language toward a game official,” per a league press release. The incident occurred during a 120-102 loss to the Chicago Bulls this past Monday.
The other is Mfiondu Kabengele, a former first-round pick from the 2019 NBA draft who caught on during the Summer League — coincidentally coached by interim head coach Joe Mazzulla — and earned a two-way deal during training camp.
Mfiondu will reportedly be in Maine, as his assignment with the Boston Celtics G-League affiliate has already begun (h/t Celtics Wire’s Justin Quinn):
The Boston Celtics are giving Noah Vonleh extended looks in the froncourt
So far, Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla has been perfectly content to give Noah Vonleh extended looks as both the first big off the bench and the emergency fill-in starter after Al Horford sat out against the Orlando Magic last Saturday in the third game of the 2022-23 season.
While Vonleh played just 14 minutes that night, he has been getting significant second unit minutes, topping out at 20 when the Cs battled the Philadelphia 76ers opening night on October 18.
It makes sense to play Vonleh as much as possible right now to figure out if he is worth keeping beyond the trigger dates in his nonguaranteed contract. If he isn’t, the team can preserve Mfiondu Kabengele’s service time on his two-way contract for as long as possible.