Coming into last season, the Boston Celtics had been to three of the previous five Eastern Conference finals. They had lost at that stage each time, however, and hadn’t made it to the Finals since 2010. They finally broke through last season, taking down the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat en route.
After taking a 2-1 lead on the Golden State Warriors in the Finals, it appeared they might win a record-setting 18th championship. Instead, their inability to take care of the ball caught up with them, and they lost the next three games to suffer a heartbreaking defeat.
As impressive as the Celtics were at times last season, it was clear down the stretch of the Finals that they needed to improve their depth. Brad Stevens saw things the same way and solved that issue by signing Danilo Gallinari and trading for Malcolm Brogdon shortly after free agency began.
The Celtics now project to be one of the deepest teams in the league, and their rotation is largely set. They also didn’t have a first-round pick this year, all of which means this won’t be the most interesting or exciting Summer League situation. Still, there are some players to watch for both the present and future. Here’s everything you need to know:
Celtics Summer League schedule
All games on NBA TV, ESPN and ESPN 2 can be live streamed on fuboTV (try for free).
Saturday, July 9: Celtics vs. Miami Heat, 5:30 p.m. ET — NBA TV
Monday, July 11: Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 8 p.m. ET — NBA TV
Tuesday, July 12: Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors, 8 p.m. ET — ESPN2
Thursday, July 14: Celtics vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 3:30 p.m. ET — NBA TV
2021: No. 45 overall
2019: No. 57 overall
2022: No. 53 overall
2019: No. 27 overall
Players to watch
Sam Hauser: Amid the flurry of moves the Celtics have made this summer, signing Hauser to a three-year deal probably went unnoticed by most casual observers. He will be the best and most important player on the Summer Celtics, however. An elite shooter who made 43.3 percent of his nine attempts per game in the G League, the team has high hopes that he can develop into a rotation player this season. Giving him a long-term guaranteed deal (even at a low annual salary) was a sign of their faith.
Juhann Begarin: A late second-round pick last year, Begarin was a draft-and-stash player who spent last season in his native France. Still only 19 years old, he will likely wind up back overseas again, especially given the Celtics’ newfound depth. Still, he’s a player to watch this summer, if only to check in on his progress. He is an exceptional athlete and if his game develops he could one day give the Celtics some extra depth on the wing.
JD Davison: The Celtics traded their first-round pick this year to the San Antonio Spurs in the Derrick White trade, and were left with one solitary second-round selection in the draft. They used it to take Davison out of Alabama. The 19-year-old is quite raw, but is another terrific athlete who stressed multiple times in a recent interview that he wants to be “a dog” on the court. He’s going to be a long-term project, but it will be fun to see what he can do in his debut.
Trevion Williams/Mfiondu Kabengele: We’re going to bunch these two together because they’re both big men who will be fighting for a chance to earn one of the Celtics’ final roster spots. After trading Daniel Theis to the Indiana Pacers in the Malcolm Brogdon trade, the Celtics need some more frontcourt depth and the only true big on the roster behind Robert Williams III and Al Horford is Luke Kornet. The most likely outcome is that they sign a veteran at some point, but both Williams and Kabengele have a real opportunity here.