John Karalis-Special to MBR Radio from RedsArmy.com: To quote Dionte Christmas, Summer League is an audition. Every guy in here is trying to live a dream.
But the NBA is an exclusive club. Nearly 300 guys were here in Las Vegas competing for FAR less than 300 spots in the NBA. They’re lucky if there are 30 spots open for them at this point. So that means they’d better have current passports, or be willing to accept an assignment to the D-League.
The Celtics are one of few teams that actually own their D-League affiliate, which makes the Red Claws a unique learning opportunity for players, and the Celtics, alike.
“There’s a lot of ways you can use it,” said former Maine Red Claws coach, and current Celtics Director of Player Personnel Austin Ainge. “We’re excited to experiment and see what the best way [is to make it work].”
One advantage the Celtics will have is the ability to mirror in Maine what the Celtics are doing in Boston, while getting players the work they need.
“It does help to have our system, our coaches, that type of thing... a little continuity,” Ainge said. “It’s hard to come in and play if you haven’t played in a month. So it’s good to have guys go down stay fresh, because even if you work hard in practice, it’s just different.”
D-League assignments depend on a lot of things. Injuries to starters in Boston could mean the Celtics need bodies to have full practices. That’s one reason why neither E’Twaun Moore nor JaJuan Johnson spent any time in Maine last year.
But this is a different year, and this is a different team. And with last year’s rules changes, the Celtics could cut a few of the camp invitees from this summer and stash them in Maine for a while to get some steady work in with their system to see how they develop. It’s one of the competitive advantages created by owning the Red Claws.