Best and worst of the 2023 Summer League Boston Celtics

Several Players on the Boston Celtics Summer League team teased the coaches and scouts with their potential, with hopes of sticking with the organization (Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images)
Several Players on the Boston Celtics Summer League team teased the coaches and scouts with their potential, with hopes of sticking with the organization (Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images) /

The record wasn’t what the Boston Celtics were hoping for. They finished the NBA Summer League 2-3.

But wins and losses aren’t the only way to measure success in these televised scrimmages. In every game, the players are writing an active resume. They are proving to the Celtics’ front office, coaches and scouts what they can offer the team. The timeline varies, but they’re giving Boston an idea of what they could contribute to the organization.

Players on the Boston Celtics Summer League team teased the coaches and scouts with their potential

Only two players had their place within the Celtics organization secured going into the Summer League. They were joined by a third. Hopefully, they will be joined by a few others.

Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics (Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images) /

Best Story: Jay Scrubb

Yes, the Celtics want this Scrubb. Jay Scrubb is a former JUCO player that was drafted in the second round in 2020, then discarded by two NBA teams before Boston added him to their Summer League roster. He was the Celtics’ most consistent offensive player.

Through the first four games, Scrubb averaged 16.5 points and four rebounds, connecting on more than half of his shots, including better than 47% from deep.

Scrubb was rewarded with a two-way contract, so the next chapter in his career possibly starts with the Maine Celtics. But the 22-year-old might not stay there. The six-foot-five 220-pound guard is physically mature and has two years of pro experience. He could prove to be ready for Boston shortly.

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Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images) /

Biggest disappointment: JD Davison

With a chance to show he’s ready to make the jump from the minors to the majors, JD Davison flopped. We were reminded how he led the Summer League in assists last year at times, but overall he wasn’t dramatically better than last year.

Out of the first four games, Davison shot under 40% three times. He shot 33.3 or worse on three-pointers in four of the five games and had a pedestrian 2.13 assist-to-turnover ratio (34/16).

If Davison played well, he could be on Payton Pritchard’s heels, challenging for minutes as the third point guard. Instead, he will spend most of the year in Maine again, with Dalano Banton (who looked better, though he only played two games) leap-frogging him.

Another year of development awaits Davison. And if he doesn’t make a dramatic improvement after a second year in Maine, Davison’s time with the Boston Celtics could come to an end within a year.

Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Best potential: Jordan Walsh

After making a handful of trades on NBA Draft night, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens actually did make a selection. It’s early, but Jordan Walsh looks like a great pick.

In an NBA Draft preview, four prospects were selected to be great fits for the Celtics. Walsh was one of them. And night after night, he showed why he is.

Obviously, Walsh was inconsistent, but he showed he could become a good shooter, a fierce defender, a 3-and-D wing, a reliable finisher, and occasionally dish a few assists here and there. Walsh is not a finished product right now, so he could split his time between Maine/Boston. There’s no need to rush him.

Because he played so well after leaving Arkansas after one year, it’s worth fantasizing about how high Walsh’s ceiling is. He’s younger than Kobe Brown and Trayce Jackson-Davis. So in time, Walsh could become better than any of the players that were projected as fits for the Boston Celtics.

Boston Celtics Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports /

Best perfect match: Justin Bean

Sometimes people share the name with the town they live in. But how about one’s name being within a state’s nickname? In that regard, it seems Justin Bean was meant to play in Beantown.

The former Utah State forward spent last season with the NBA G League’s Memphis Hustle, putting up 10.2 points on 47.8% shooting, 36.7 from distance. Bean resembled a sharpshooter with the Celtics as he shot 53% from the floor, including 46% from deep. In a league where teams can’t have enough shooting, Bean is worth developing.

Back in 2019, the Celtics had Max Strus with the organization but waived him before the season started. This past June Strus helped the Miami Heat eliminate Boston in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. If the Celtics don’t hold on to Bean, the worst-case scenario is at some point history repeats. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen because the Beantown Celtics let Bean get away.

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Best cameos: Reggie Kissoonlal and Vincent Valerio-Bodon

After Walsh, Reggie Kissoonlal and Vincent Valerio-Bodon were the players I was looking forward to watching since Yam Madar and Juhaan Begarin wouldn’t play in the Summer League.

Kissoonlal and Valerio-Bodon only played in the finale, but they certainly caught the eye. Off the bench they filled the box score: Kissoonlal had 12 points, five rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. Valerio-Bodon chipped in 13 points, six boards, and three dimes, though he also had six turnovers.

It’s unlikely either is ready for prime time, but hopefully Kissoonlal returns to the Maine Celtics with Valerio-Bodon tagging along.