2013 Boston Celtic’s Summer League Preview
I’m a Celtic’s fan so I had to talk about their summer league. The Boston Celtics had quite a few tumultuous weeks to begin the 2013 off-season. One year after Ray Allen departed to Miami, which earned him another ring with the help of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, the rest of the big three would find themselves also relocating. It all began with the trade talks of Doc Rivers being sent to the Los Angeles Clippers, a deal that was once thought to package Kevin Garnett as well. While the deal for Doc went through, Garnett found himself still calling Boston home, although he may not have felt as welcome. Just a few days later, breaking news reported that the Celtics had traded Kevin Garnett and longtime Celtic Paul Peirce to the Brooklyn Nets in hopes of rebuilding an aging Boston team. Many Boston fans were devastated by the news that was breaking up a 2-time World Champion team. However, after the breakup of the Celtics, they began the rebuilding process. A process that is on display during their Summer League basketball games.
The first big thing to look at during the Celtics Summer League is new Celtic’s coach, Brad Stevens. After Doc left for Los Angeles, the Celtics wanted to find a coach that could live up to the legacy that Boston holds, but also wouldn’t demand a salary that wouldn’t be valued during a rebuilding season. Danny Ainge got just that in Stevens, the former coach of the Butler Bulldogs of the NCAA. Stevens was able to take the once unheard of Bulldogs and turn them into a household team after back-to-back NCAA tournament runs; one that ended up just inches short of a last minute miracle that would have had them victorious over the eventual champions, the Duke Blue Devils. With Stevens, there is all the room in the world to grow. If he succeeds, that’ll be great news for the C’s and they’ll have their coach of the future. But if he fails, at least Ainge didn’t have to pay him huge money during a rebuilding season. While Stevens was able to motivate and challenge the players of an unknown Butler team, it’ll be interesting to see if he can garnish the same momentum from a team of NBA players who know they are on a rebuilding team.
The other key factor of the Celtics Summer League is going to be looking at how the newly drafted players adjust to the NBA game. One of the most questionable players in the 2013 draft, Kelly Olynyk, was drafted by the C’s. The near 7-footer has great range and lead the Gonzaga Bulldogs during his time in college. The problem is, some question the competition level in the WCC and Olynyk’s ability to adjust to being a skinnier tall player. The summer league will hopefully give C’s fans an idea of what to expect with their young star.
The 2013 Summer League should answer a lot of question for the Boston Celtics. What became so routine, seeing the Big Three dominate year in and year out, is now just a memory. And one of the most historic franchises in the NBA seems to be in a state of limbo. However, if Stevens and Olynyk can have a solid Summer League performance, it could give the momentum they need to be a competitive team this upcoming season.