BOSTON (CBS) — CBSBoston.com’s Brian Robb is in Orlando this week to cover the Boston Celtics in the NBA’s Summer League, and joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Wednesday to break down Boston’s play so far.
Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart and the Celtics kicked off their summer fun with an 85-77 win over Heat, but followed that up by getting trounced by the Pacers 96-77 on Monday.
Robb says Olynyk has looked impressive in his second summer league, scoring 35 points and pulling down 14 rebounds in the C’s first two contests, and Phil Pressey has shown that he can lead a team at the point.
As for sixth overall selection Marcus Smart, he’s been a beast on the defensive end but has struggled on offense.
“It hasn’t been very pretty on the offensive end for the Celtics,” said Robb. “Marcus Smart has come in as advertised on the offensive end; he had five steals and could body up on the floor, but he’s shooting just 21 percent from the field and has made one three-pointer. His shot needs work and that’ll take a couple of years to develop.”
Smart has had a few electric plays for the Celtics though. In one sequence against Indiana he blocked a shot on the defensive end and finished on the other with a dunk (watch here).
“Plays like that are what the team is looking for,” said Robb. “Seeing him on the floor with someone like Avery Bradley should be fun to watch. Those guys together could ball-pressure guards up the floor, wreak havoc and cause steals. He has the handle to get out in transition and is an unselfish guy in that respect. One of the criticisms at Oklahoma State was that he took too many shots, and throughout the summer league so far he mentioned he has to reel that back because he has more help at the NBA level. When he plays point guard, that bodes well to making him a complete all-around guard.”
Robb also touched on two other players on the C’s summer squad: Chris Johnson and Colton Iverson. Both are currently fighting for a roster spot, and neither were very impressive in Boston’s first two games.
“[Johnson] is a hustle guy, so even when he’s not making his shot he’s working hard on both ends of the floor. He’s had a couple of nice blocks defensively and has been working hard on that end of the floor, but he’s a guy who if hes not making his jump shot he doesn’t bring much else for you on the offensive end,” said Robb. “His spot isn’t guaranteed; he’s signed for three more years at minimum money each year, but all those years at not guaranteed. The team can wait it out this summer to see how he looks, see how he looks in training camp to make their decision.
“But he’s a guy I’d keep an eye on this week. He needs to make a good showing to make sure he has a spot on the team next year.”
The seven-foot Iverson, a second round pick last year, played last season in Turkey to further develop his game.
“When they faced the Pacers on Monday he only played about (12) minutes and got owned underneath,” Robb said of the big-man. “Like Chris Johnson he’s a hard worker, doing his best down there, but he’s not a great interior presence right now.
“The issue is the Celtics don’t have many of options, so if they go the young rebuilding route in free agency and are kind of empty on that front… he’ll be brought into training camp and have a chance to make the team. But for a guy who went overseason to Turkey to refine his game, his first two games have not been much to write home about and I’d be worrying about sticking if I were him.”
MORE CELTICS COVERAGE FROM CBS BOSTON
- Kelly Olynyk Debating Offseason Surgery, Potentially Complicating Busy Summer For Danny Ainge
- Danny Ainge Reminisces About A Time When The NBA Allowed Players To Be Physical
- Luck At The Lottery? Ainge Jokes That Isaiah Thomas Is Celtics’ Leprechaun
- Ainge: Celtics Have Plenty Of Opportunities This Summer, But No Guarantees