3 thoughts from Boston’s first Summer League game as Celtics lost 88-78

The Boston Celtics kicked off the Las Vegas Summer League in a losing effort to the Miami Heat on Saturday afternoon. It was a star-studded affair, with Jayson Tatum, Tyler Herro, and many others in attendance, but the Summer Celtics ultimately couldn’t grab a win. Miami’s Mychal Mulder stole the show, leading all scorers with 23 points.

The Celtics will have a few more games in Las Vegas to showcase their young players and try out a few more who may be vying for a coveted roster spot. You can check out the full Boston Celtics Summer League schedule here.

With one contest in the book, let’s recap what we might have learned. Here are three thoughts on our first look at the Summer Celtics.

Mfiondu Kabengele might be for real

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Miami Heat center Bryson Williams (58) shoots against Boston Celtics center Mfiondu Kabengele (28) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Boston is in search of another big to add to the club’s frontcourt rotation. Perhaps they’ll use one of the club’s many TPEs. Maybe they’ll sign an old friend in Aron Baynes. Or maybe they have a quality big playing this summer in Las Vegas.

Mfiondu Kabengele certainly looked like a man gunning for a spot on the regular-season roster. Against Miami in the club’s first Summer League game, the Canada-native did not disappoint. Kabengele finished with 14 points, six rebounds, and three assists in 24 minutes of playing time.

Boston’s Summer League front court looked promising. While Kabenegele’s combination of athleticism and touch really impressed, Trevion Williams was also able to impact the game at a high level.

JD Davison is worth watching

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics guard Juhann Begarin (45) dribbles ahead of Miami Heat center Orlando Robinson (59) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Miami Heat forward Haywood Highsmith (24) defends against Boston Celtics guard Juhann Begarin (45) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics center Mfiondu Kabengele (28) shoots over Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic (5) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics center Mfiondu Kabengele (28) dunks against the Miami Heat during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics guard JD Davison (20) looks to shoot against the Miami Heat during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics guard Juhann Begarin (45) shoots against the Miami Heat during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Miami Heat guard Jamaree Bouyea (52) looks to tip away a pass intended for Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser (30) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics center Trevion Williams (50) is pictured during an NBA Summer League game against the Miami Heat at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics center Trevion Williams (50) shoots against Miami Heat guard Marcus Garrett (0) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser (30) dribbles ahead of Miami Heat guard Jamaree Bouyea (52) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics guard Brodric Thomas (97) dribbles against Miami Heat guard Marcus Garrett (0) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Boston Celtics guard Juhann Begarin (45) shoots against Miami Heat guard Mychal Mulder (12) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Boston’s lone draft pick from the 2022 NBA draft has rightfully earned a bit of buzz in Vegas. JD Davison certainly looked a little raw in the first bit of action for the Summer Celtics, to be expected given his player profile.

He finished the game with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Davison was making his presence known as best he could, and he did a lot of handling the ball for Boston. He came up limping after a lay-up in the tail end of the fourth quarter, although he appeared to avoid any real injury.

Right before the opening tip, Davison signed a two-way contract with the team. He told reporters after the game that he was still in the hunt for a full regular season deal.

Sam Hauser needs to sharpen his leadership chops

July 9, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Miami Heat guard Kyle Allman Jr. (50) is tripped up by Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser (30) during an NBA Summer League game at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Among the many names and faces suited up for Boston in Las Vegas, Sam Hauser might stand out. He’s the elder statesman of the Summer Celtics, and has a guaranteed deal for next year. Against the Heat, he was a bit of an orchid.

By some measures, Hauser has little to prove. Summer League really isn’t a showcase for players already under contract. There’s other guys wearing green in Vegas with more on the line.

At the same time though, both head coach Ime Udoka and president of basketball operations Brad Stevens were in attendance on Saturday. Hauser’s reluctance to really inject himself into the game was pretty clear. Yes, he has training camp and beyond to really get going. But with the Celtics trailing all game long, it felt as if Boston would have benefited from a touch of veteran poise.

With Payton Pritchard looking atit would seem Hauser needs everything he can to really stand out as a role player with a somewhat limited bag off the bench.

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