Will THE REAL Gordon Hayward Please Stand Up?

Celtics fans were disappointed about a great many things last season. One of the major issues was Gordon Hayward not fulfilling the promise we believed he initially had returning from a devastating leg injury on opening night, 2017. So much has happened since that fateful night in Cleveland, Ohio. The Celtics and the NBA as a whole is different. What remains is Hayward is still in Boston and while there’s been little talk related to his rehab. Many assume he is an afterthought, a shell of his former self. Maybe that’s true. But there is hope. It’s been 737 days since Hayward’s injury, 512 since his second surgery. Unlike last season, Hayward could dedicate a whole summer to rehabilitating his basketball skills and rebuild the strength in his injured leg.

We compare his injury to what Paul George experienced in 2014. While both instances are traumatic and acted as huge setbacks for both individuals and their respective teams, George had the benefit for an off-season to rehab. His injury occurred in August, two months before the initial season began. Hayward falling two months later changed the trajectory and rendered the comparison a little murky.

The Celtics last season made the gamble that it was worth losing games early on to rebuild Hayward because at full strength nobody could beat them. The bet did not pay off. If Danny Ainge and Co. could do it over, they’d probably hold Hayward out until after the All-Star break. But hindsight is always 20/20. Hayward was noticeably a step slower than his teammates and competition and worse, he came off as incapable next to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. An awful lot is riding on the Celtics ability to play their three star forwards simultaneously. You can’t hinder yourself by secluding one of them to a reserve role. Brown played good soldier last year and performed well. But the Celtics are better when he starts and is empowered.

Brad Stevens will once again walk the tightrope he fell off of a year prior in trying to bring Hayward back to speed, while not discouraging or taking away from his younger stars. Outside of coaching divas like Kyrie Irving, the one aspect of Stevens’ coaching that needs tweaking is how he manages egos and maintains trust. It’s no secret Brown chaffed at seeing his minutes reduced. And it’s not unknown teammates behind the curtain didn’t understand why the limping Hayward was given such a long leash compared to them.

What does the future hold for Hayward? Hard to say. Only way we’ll find out is by watching the Celtics play every other day and decide for ourselves.

Water Rising and Maximum Strus-Drive

One feather Danny Ainge certainly can put under his cap throughout all the turmoil of these last twelve or so months, he’s excelled at finding diamonds in the rough. All through Summer League I watched cast-offs soar above expectations and make me wonder how they flew so below everyone else’s radar?

You may think I’m speaking from hyperbole, but I am not. Tremont Waters is a real steal for where the C’s snagged him late in the 2nd round. I know Carsen Edwards collected the most style points in Summer League, but Waters feel for the game is unmatched between the two. Excelling at scoring off the dribble, Waters made a living leading LSU to a 28-7 mark. Breaking the record for total assists for a freshman at LSU (198) previously held by Ben Simmons. Waters is extremely crafty and doesn’t let his diminutive 5’9 stature stop him. In fact, there’s an argument to be made he can cut the mustard on the defensive side to go along with his mechanics on offense. Waters alertness is goes fairly unsung. His uncanny ability to invade the passing lanes shouldn’t be ignored. Waters concluded his 2019 Summer League run leading the team in minutes per game as well as averaging 11.2 points, a team high 4.8 assists, and 2.0 steals

The Celtics next two-way contract player is DePaul product Max Strus. Where Waters exceeds at getting to the basket, Strus doesn’t possess a quick first step and relies on his jump shot for production. At times Strus looks prolific. Moving extremely well off the ball he can get to his spots on the floor. Strus is a relatively solid defender and above-average rebounder, nearing 6 per game at DePaul. What Strus will need to work on during his frequent stints in the G-League is his sometimes spotty shot selection, and his history of foot injuries leaves doubt he’ll hold his own on defense for very long.

I still think Strus can carve himself a niche role on this Celtics team running off screens set by Grant Williams on the third unit. Given mediocre teams during his collegiate career Strus earned the reputation as being somewhat of a bad team player. However, this potentially is overblown and means very little.

Strus’ name wasn’t called on draft night and the Celtics picked him up soon after in time for SL. He averaged 9.8 points per game and shot 45 percent from three for the Celtics.

Fall vs Green vs Gates

Boston has an unspectacular battle brewing for the final roster spot. With the only two-way contracts already occupied by LSU’s Tremont Waters and DePaul’s Max Strus, the likes of 7-7 Tacko Fall, Summer League standout Javonte Green, and Kaiser Gates, formerly of the Windy City Bulls are dueling for the final spot on the roster.

To start, Fall is the most impressive player the Celtics have under their umbrella. At times Fall comes off as a diamond in the ruff. Guards attempted to take him head on one-on-one during Summer League and Fall held his own. His 8’6 wingspan is hell for opposing ball-handlers. On paper his measurements are not only impressive, but eye-popping. Unlike most lengthy players, Fall isn’t slender. At 300 pounds he is anything but overweight. Credit needs to be given to Fall for putting himself in the best shape. However, Fall relies far too much on his height to propel him. Rebounds come too easy and Fall needs to learn to pass out instead of pogo-sticking the ball back up in the air. His awareness could use quite a bit of polish. At times he is liable to draw blocking fouls.  

Fall concluded his 2019 Summer League run participating in all five games with the Celtics and averaging 7.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and shooting a team-high 77 percent from the field. The biggest red flag for Fall is his career 43 percentage from the free throw line his four-years at UCF. Fall attempted just 6 free throws in his five games during Summer League making 2. But you can bet on NBA teams purposely fouling him to stifle any offensive momentum the Celtics might have.

Fall is a fan favorite here in Boston before even playing an actual game. The Celtics can use him in situational spots such as guarding the inbounds pass. Stevens could really use an ace up his sleeve with this roster. Perhaps that said ace is Fall.

Fellow Summer League standout Javonte Green is on the older side, turning 26 this past July. Unlike Fall, you know what you’re getting with Green. He’s a dependable downhill runner able to soar above the rim at a moments notice. Green’s defense is in doubt, but his speed helps him compensate. Leading EuroCup in 2018-19 in total steals with 38. Green shot a respectable 36 percent from three-point land on 2.4 attempts per game. However, we only seen Green play his role as a dunker during Summer League. It’s questionable how his skills from EuroCup translates to the pro game.

During his five game Summer League season Green averaged  10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.8 steals. He is the most dependable, safe option for Boston for the final roster spot. He’d inspire the least amount of joy, nor would he draw vitriol from the fan base. But Green can play and with a ton of questions surrounding the Celtics backcourt outside of Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart, Green fills a need unlike Fall.

The final candidate is Xavier’s Kaiser Gates. Gates went undrafted in 2018 and spent last season with Chicago’s G League affiliate, the  Windy City Bulls. He averaged 12.7 points and 6.4 rebounds, making 37.5 percent of his 3-pointers on 7.3 attempts. Gates is a potential three-and-D guy off the bench. He is rather unspectacular. His lone season in the G-League didn’t inspire much confidence from me. Shooting a lowly 40 percent from the field. He did, however, notch a great 37 percentage from deep attempting over 7 a game. Rallying up 12 points and 6 rebounds, Gates potentially is a more defensive Gerald Green.

Celtics training camp starts October 1st.

Brad, Do Not Start Enes Kanter

Back in 2015 the Celtics got my hopes up by acquiring veteran center David Lee from the champion Warriors. Not too long ago Lee averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds and was an All-Star. Unfortunately, Lee’s best days were behind him. The landscape of the NBA was shaken by the success of small-ball thanks in large part to his usurper Draymond Green. Traditional back to the basket centers like Lee have fallen to the wayside as the game became more athletic and faster.

On opening night the plucky Celtics sent out Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Tyler Zeller and Lee to start. Lee would play 30 games, averaging over 15 minutes per game. Lee posted career lows as a Celtic in true shooting, p.e.r, and win shares per 48. A subplot of his time was how visibly the Celtics played better with Kelly Olynyk. Lee posts a negative net rating of an even 4. The much maligned Olynyk notched a respectable positive 6.8 net rating. Olynyk was far from a leaper. He’s a clumsy, 7 footer. But he could pass and shoot from three. Turns out, that’s all the Celtics needed to turn the season around after a sluggish start. Olynyk’s 40.5 3P% mark was 14th best in the entire league. If he started the entire year the 48-win Celtics possibly win more than 50. Of all the coulda woulda and shouldas that defined these last couple of years, starting Lee over Olynyk haunts me more than any other them.

Today, history seems to be once again on repeat with the acquisition of free agent Enes Kanter after Ainge decided Al Horford was to pricy to keep around for his advanced age. Its debatable if Ainge made the crucial harsh, but correct call not to pay Horford. While he’s the life force of the offense, Horford shown signs of slowing down last year and made it known throughout his career he doesn’t wish to play center. In Philadelphia Horford will get his wish. But the Sixers themselves are presented with a quandary. Is Horford worth having around if you can’t close games with him at the 5? While playing at power forward reserves his energy it drastically alters the spacing and their scoring.

While Horford’s departure signals the closing of the Celtics window of contention, there are avenues for them to return to such status. For now, talk should be how do they stifle the bleeding until then? The answer seems to be Daniel Theis. Solid, dependable, while not flashy or spectacular at any one thing he can defend well enough and shoot reasonably well from deep. An upside to starting Theis is potentially upping his shot attempts from downtown to something like 3.5 will warrant league average or slightly above results.

More than a year removed from an Achilles injury, Theis lost a significant step, but still is strong on his feet and isn’t easily pushed around. His stroke hasn’t suffered either. All and all, Theis was a solid plus-7.4 in net rating and the Celtics are at his mercy.

It would be a mistake to start Kanter opening night. He gave a valiant effort in the playoffs, but we have a large enough sample size to deem his contributions mostly empty calories. On some nights he’ll outright mimicking a turnstile and is bowled over at times despite his impressive stature. Kanter is a tough son of a gun and deserves all the credit for playing in the playoffs on a bad shoulder. His attitude is what I want in a player. His skill set… not so much.

Eventually Stevens will have to learn Kanter doesn’t solve their issues and there is no return to old fashioned basketball. Either take a flier on a leaper like Robert Williams, or start Theis. Whatever you do, don’t start Kanter. That all being said, Brad is starting Kanter.

Celtics Summer League Game 2 Notes

The Summer League Celtics continued to impress dominating the Cleveland Cavaliers, 89-72. From the opening tip the Celtics were the aggressors and never let their foot off the gas pedal. The tone setter was LSU guard Tremont Waters put on an absolute show to start dishing out a crazy between the legs pass to Chinanu Onuaku for a dunk and showing off his off the dribble step-back moves compensating for his 5 foot, 9 inch stature and acting as an absolute pest on defense.

Waters finished with 11 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals.

Tacko Fall continues to make his case he is deserving of a roster spot on the professional Celtics squad. The 7 foot, 7 inch  descendent from Dakar scored 12 points towering over his competition snagging only two rebounds but putting the ball back in the basket so effortlessly. I was taken aback by his right-block shimmy hook shot, surprisingly Falls has above-average touch around the rim. On defense Falls resembles the Berlin Wall. The Cavaliers tried posting him up and the guards tried to maneuver around him only to pass out.

I know it’s Summer League but Fall is incredibly fun to watch and more importantly resembles a real NBA player. Which is more than I can say for Guerschon Yabusele who made just one field goal in the contest. He deserves credit for playing through a dislocated pinky finger. You can’t say Yabusele does not want to make it. I am doubting he athletically can.

Carsen Edwards notched 14 points off of ten shots getting the most of his production from around the basket showcasing his supreme ability to finish around the basket. His dribbling is excellent and out of this draft class the Celtics have brought in Edwards looks the most ready for showtime.

Robert Williams played another solid game scoring 10 points and dribbling down the floor for a transition attempt. I honestly didn’t know he could dribble for this long. He ultimately failed to finish the possession, but yet another eye opener.

Lastly, Grant Williams began the night slow converting on just one of his four field goal. Williams has a real scorers mentality and is a plus-41 in his first two Summer League games. Williams effectively used his on a bigger player to force a shot clock violation.

Williams scores 5 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and a block.

Celtics Summer League Game 1 Notes

It’s been a while since we were treated to some good Celtics basketball. After a season of raunchy below-par fast food watching the Summer League Celtics was like eating dinner at the Capital Grill. Carsen Edwards looked electric. Showing no hesitancy letting his shots fly, creating separation to enact his step back jumper on more than one occasion. Scoring 20 points it doesn’t even matter it took 17 attempts (5 of 17 from three) for Edwards to have the effect he did in the Celtics 96-82 drubbing of the Philadelphia 76ers. Edwards quick hands earned him three steals on the defensive side. He’s someone Stevens definitely will find use for in the regular season.

Elsewhere, Grant Williams also turned some heads. Posting up a solid 12 points and 6 rebounds in 19 minutes Williams teased the ability to make the corner three and held his own in one-on-one defensive situations. Never once did he appear disengaged and his motor impressed me a great deal. Like Edwards Williams wasn’t afraid out there in his first game and showed noticeable aggression on the inside. I doubt Stevens will have trouble finding a role for the 14th pick out of Tennessee if he keeps this up.

It seems like ages since we last seen Robert Williams play and while nothing in particular catches the eye in the box score; 9 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks – Williams is six pounds lighter and moves better than before. I have high hopes he’ll learn to guard on the perimeter. He is able to stick with the play and get his arms out to contest without resorting to volleyball blocking. While he missed all of his jump shots the mere fact he let them loose shows a willingness the Celtics absolutely need him to have. Depending on Daniel Theis’ health Williams could see himself as the Celtics second string center or even their starter.

23-year old Tacko Falls received a standing ovation when subbing in for action. Standing at 7 foot, 7 inches in shoes Falls at 300 pounds is a specimen that needs every bit of his physical gifts to compensate for him ultimately being slow. In ten minutes Falls scores 6 points, a standing dunk early on is a highlight that’ll make Celtics fans happy. Snagging four boards Falls ridiculously long wingspan of 8’0” there is a strong argument to make Falls can carve himself a role as a situational crunch time personnel. He’d be amazing contesting inbound passes and quite frankly he has more to offer than Guerschon Yabusele.

Which brings me to the Dancing Bear.

I love Yabu. He really does come off as a great guy and teammate. But I can’t help but notice his skills have diminished since the last time he participated in Summer League. Despite starting Yabusele did not register a single point. His first attempt was stuffed at the rim setting the tone perfectly for the slog of a night he was in for. His line highlight was a nice bounce pass assists to Tremont Waters in traffic for a layup in the first quarter. Everything else involving Yabusele was ugly.

I sincerely hope he turns it around. If not I think the roster Danny Ainge has here should convince him to bump the Frenchman from his fifteenth man position and hand it over to the aforementioned Falls.

What About Daniel?

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Celtics-Kemba Walker dance is to reach its climax on Sunday at 6 o’clock when free agency officially kicks off. Walker expects to be offered a 4-year, $141 million offer the Celtics can clear up cap space by renouncing all their free agents. They are expected to give disgruntled reserve guard Terry Rozier the $4.2 million qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent and subsequently will be rescinded once Walker is inked on Sunday.

The question “how would Boston ever recover from losing Kyrie Irving” is answered in the signing of Walker. Squashing worries after a turmoil ridden off-season would leave the Celtics with little to nothing offensively and force them to be overly reliant on The Jays and cross their fingers extra tight Gordon Hayward can return to his Utah Jazz self. Signing Kemba essentially takes the pressure off of Hayward he otherwise would have been burdened with having used up all of his sympathy recovering from a traumatic injury nearly two-years ago. Instead of Hayward having to be that go-to No. 1 or 2 option he can slide smoothly as the third-option and work his way back up the ladder.

The only real drawback to signing the three-time All-Star, 2018-19 All-NBA Third Teamer Walker is the Celtics have very little cash on hand to find a starting center because Al Horford is sadly departing Boston along with Kyrie. Left only with a $4.8 million room exception Boston will have to take fliers on older, injury prone or potential headcases to fill out their vacant fifth spot in the starting lineup.

Daniel Theis is my preferred option. He already knows the system having spent two-years under Stevens as a third string center behind Horford and Aron Baynes. Though only attempting 499 field goal attempts he averages 54/35/74 splits scoring nearly 14 points and 10 rebounds according to his per 36. He was sneakily good in the pick-and-roll as the roll-man scoring 1.30 points per possession and hitting the 86th percentile.

While Theis is doomed to be consumed by the Anthony Davis’ and Joel Embiid’s of the world he holds up against more mortal competition and is not a pushover despite his 6-8 height. His first season in Boston he posted an impressive 3.4 defensive box plus/minus and since fallen to 1.5. Still good. You worry what it’ll look like if Theis is promoted from third stringer to starter on a contending team. But he is the only feasible option that is cheap enough to bring aboard that can reasonably defend and score at a decent enough clip.

Nikola Vucevic vs Kemba Walker

Like it or not it was the right thing for the Celtics to step away from Al Horford. The price likely will be too high and he is coming off a season where we’ve seen a decline in his defensive play despite his durability since joining Boston in 2016. It is tough to say goodbye to the guy who can be credited as the sole reason why your offensive didn’t dwell in mediocrity having limited sources of offense during his stint in Boston.

If you ever wanted to see how the Celtics would look with one dynamic scorer you could very well point to the 2015-16 team as the test case. Isaiah Thomas battled for every basket, his main partner in the pick-and-roll was the clumsy Kelly Olynyk and it wasn’t until the arrival of Horford did Thomas reach the apex of his game. What can we expect if the Celtics throw all of their cap space at Kemba Walker? They’ll have chump change left to find a starting center. They honestly wouldn’t have enough for Ersan Ilyasova.

Walker is an All-Star, always the bridesmaid of the All-NBA Team discussions making his first and only All-NBA Team this year enjoying career highs in points (25.6), assists (5.9) and rebounds (4.4). But the argument for why it be considered a step down joining Boston against signing a 5-year max with meandering Charlotte is playing with the likes of Cody Zeller is far more worthwhile than seeing if you can have any success with Robert Williams as your pick-and-roll partner.

Potentially, Boston could sign Vucevic to a contract that won’t hamper their ability to find a suitable scoring guard because Orlando arguably would be wise to step away if the price becomes too high and let the young kids like Aaron Gordon, Mohammad Bamba and Jonathan Isaac play with more free reign even if that means taking a step backwards. We’ve already seen how many wins the Vucevic-led Magic are worth. Orlando can do better than 42 wins annually.

The Celtics need some kind of replacement for Horford’s lost production on offense, which Vucevic can fill better, while defensively he is a gigantic bag of uncertainty.

Look at the following players the Celtics will rely on heavily next year to carry them in the post-Kyrie era and how they shot the ball with and without Al Horford:

TS% w/ Al Horford 57.1
TS% w/o Horford 51.4

TS% w/ Horford 57.8
TS% w/o Horford 52.8

TS% w/ Horford 61.2
TS% w/o Horford 51.9

TS% w/ Horford 63.5
TS% w/o Horford 53.5

Ainge and Stevens know how important shooting and space is. You cannot even hope to replace what Horford brought to the team defensively as a primary defender on Giannis and Joel Embiid. No matter what the Celtics are left with the option to cross their fingers and hope Jaylen can hold his own and that the Sixers never find the shooting they need to make teams pay for doubling Embiid.

Hey. Maybe that’ll happen.

I love Kemba. I fell hard for him watching his heroics at UConn. He’s done so much with no help from the organization. But he isn’t leaving Charlotte for anybody. Dallas is arguably worse than his current situation because all they have is Luka Doncic. Boston is more talented, better coached and better ran as an organization except they can’t improve at one of the key positions in the league. Ironically, center is the most marginalized position in this hyper charged pace-and-space and Boston won’t be able to find fill it if they sign Walker.

Kemba Linked To Celtics

Danny Ainge and company are back to their old tricks filling the media with various rumors to throw teams off the scent. During the draft the scuttlebutt was the Celtics are clearing cap space to re-sign Terry Rozier and Nikola Vucevic. Today Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Boston emerging as a “stealth suitor” for All-Star Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker, age 29.

Obviously Walker is a fantastic play hamstrung by general manager’s Michael Jordan’s unwillingness to pay the luxury tax coupled with saddling the roster with bad contracts. Walker on Boston next to The Jays and potentially a rejuvenated Gordon Hayward is all but guaranteed to help Boston achieve 50-wins and fun for the top of the east that’s currently uncertain.

With all that said it doesn’t make sense for Boston to commit to Walker when they are so thin on the bench and vulnerable at center. Signing Walker pushes one of Brown or Hayward out of the starting rotation and into the role of sixth man. But Ainge will have little money to work with to find a sufficient seventh and eighth man.

In all honesty, I’d rather re-sign Rozier if the price turns out to be a boon for the Celtics and pigeonhole him into the starting lineup next to Smart, have Hayward come off the bench and give the money to Vucevic (or Horford if that window isn’t shut. We’ll have a more well rounded team and Rozier is notoriously known for being a better starter than a reserve. Averaging a 13-5-5 in his fourteen games starting he is nowhere near an All-Star, but he is cheap and serviceable for what the team currently is.

Recapping Celtics Draft Night

Boston Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge sent all the signs to the public he is resigned to this era of competitive Celtics basketball coming to a premature, ugly close. For presumably a shellshocked organization in despair at their recent string of bad luck over the course of many months Ainge kicked off the rebuild in decent fashion.

Indiana University guard Romeo Langford fell in their laps at 14 and while I believed Kentucky’s Tyler Herro was all but assured a green and white jersey the Miami Heat beat Boston to the punch and snagged him. Langford was a five-star recruit leaving high school. Suffered a broken thumb and his shooting suffered. Shooting a miserable 28.9 percent from deep. But he is pretty lethal near the basket. Almost at James Harden levels. 60.4 percent on layup attempts. Langford has an act for getting to the free throw line. .491 free throw rate totally to 194 attempts, 7th in the Big 10 conference.

The Ringers’ Kevin O’Connor compares Langford to Larry Hughes. Now before you let your vague memory of Hughes being a sorry excuse for a running mate on LeBron’s ‘07 Cavaliers and the fact every team that ditched him (Philly, 2001; Cleveland, 2009; Chicago, 2009) all got better. Early 2000s Hughes served as Gilbert Arenas No. 2 and made an All-Defensive team in 2005. Langford turning into Hughes at 14 is so much better than Larry Hughes being Larry Hughes where he was taken (Over Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce).

Langford’s body is an impressive 6-6, 215 pound and 6’11 wingspan he possesses the knowhow to compete on defense and can rebound quite a bit. A lot’s been made about Langford’s shooting woes, keep in mind the Celtics have turned plenty of non-shooters into average offensive threat, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown come to mind.

Langford turns 20 days prior to the beginning of the 2019-20 season. This pick possibly symbolizes two things: the departure of noted saboteur Terry Rozier and the dashing of dreams anybody had of Ainge offering Brooklyn Nets starting guard D’Angelo Russell. Apparently the Celtics front office is prioritizing cap space they currently have $25 million but can see an extra $9 million if they simply let Rozier walk in restricted free agency to another teams qualifying offer.

What will Ainge do with that space? No clue. But it’ll take us all by surprise. *Hears Shams say Ainge is prioritizing Nikola Vucevic and Terry Rozier* Ah. Never mind.

WE HAVE A DEAL! That coward named Daniel finally grew the balls to make a deal.

Big Australian Dick Aron Baynes moves to Phoenix for the Milwaukee Bucks 2020 top-7 protected first they sent over for Eric Bledsoe nearly two-years ago. On the off chance Giannis is hit by a truck and the Bucks pick doesn’t convey it’s unprotected in 2021.

First off, I will miss Baynes. Great teammate. Wonderful complimentary player. Never afraid to get dunked on and be a viral meme. No matter how many times Joel Embiid “Son’d” Baynes in the 2018 playoffs he always got back up and played shutdown defense on the next Shaq. Baynes fit the mentality of Boston like a glove. We’ll miss him. On the bright side the Suns have bought out Baynes and he is free to sign with any contender he wants. See haters, Ainge does care about his players and doesn’t view them as cattle he’ll shuffle to the slaughter once they are no longer useful to him.

Next the Celtics selected at No. 24 Washington guard Matisse Thybulle, also known as Marcus Smart Jr… Oh – he’s been traded to Philly. Damn! All that time I spent pretending to know what I am talking about wasted!

Thybulle to the Sixers in desperate need of capital to re-sign Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler in less than two weeks, for pick 33 which became Purdue 6-1 guard Carsen Edwards. Edwards fails to meet six feet without shoes and managed to almost single-handedly knock off the eventual champion Virginia Cavaliers. Scoring 42, nailing 10 threes in a nail-bitter in the Elite 8.

All that is great but Edwards will need to work his game as a passer if he is survive in this league or else he risks becoming another college sensation, eventual professional flameout like Jimmer.

There is hope Edwards can develop as a defender despite his relatively puny stature. Sporting a 6’6 wingspan Edwards potentially can cut the mustard next to Marcus Smart.

One thing is for sure he’ll electrify Summer League and if that is a barometer for how he’ll do in the NBA he’ll be in China in about two-years.

Next is Big Daddy Grant Williams. Ah. I am quite fond of this man. I preferred him to his older teammate Admiral Schofield of Tennessee.

Fans of the “Thick, Jacked Frame” labels will love Williams. At 241 pounds Williams shows no hesitation inside and is willing to take the charge and draw contact. Averaging a block-and-a-half his three-years at Tennessee even if his 6’9.75 wingspan is underwhelming.

Williams averaged 6.4 free throw attempts during his three-seasons and shot 75.8 percent of his attempts. He’ll likely see the floor as a power forward as he is only 6-7 and too small to play small-ball five unless he is Draymond Green. Hmmmm…

Williams Age 20: 18.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.2 ast, 1.1 Spg, 1.5 bpg, 56.4 fg%
Draymond Age 20: 12.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 4.1 ast, 1.8 spg, 1.1 blk, 42.6 fg%

Hey. A guy can dream. Right?