NBA Summer League 2021 – Celtics-Kings title game preview and how top players find roles when the season turns – .

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NBA Summer League 2021 – Celtics-Kings title game preview and how top players find roles when the season turns – .


The Las Vegas Summer League Championship game on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET on ESPN / ESPN App) will feature the Boston Celtics and Sacramento Kings – both unbeaten heading into the final.
The Boston run was fueled by a pair of sophomores at Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith, a backcourt duo who shone with high play and timely shooting. For Sacramento, rookie Davion Mitchell’s outstanding defensive performance wowed spectators in Las Vegas all week, while Jahmi’us Ramsey showed a steady hand until the title game.

Ahead of the Championship tilt, here’s how these Summer League stars got their teams to this point, along with a forecast of the impact they could have at the start of the regular season.


Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith lead the way for Celtics

Boston made its way to the final game with four very impressive wins. After a close decision against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1, Boston won its next three games by at least 20 points, while scoring at least 100 in each.

Boston’s top summer league player Payton Pritchard is questionable playing in Tuesday night’s championship, as he returned to Oregon to play in the Portland Pro-Am – where he lost 92 and 60 points in consecutive games. In three games in Las Vegas, Pritchard averaged 20.3 points with shooting spreads of 0.514 / 0.577 / 0.889, while averaging nearly nine assists with just four total turnovers.

Aaron Nesmith had one of the best performances of the summer with his 33-point outing against the Denver Nuggets on August 10, when he scored 7 of 9 3 points. While Nesmith will have to carry the load again, the Celtics can also turn to a Summer League vet at Carsen Edwards. Edwards, now in his third year with the Celtics, averaged 19.4 points in the summer of 2019 while making a name for himself. Edwards’ score has dropped to 13.5 points this year, but the 5-foot-11 goaltender is averaging 5.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists.

With Pritchard out of the previous game, Edwards seemed comfortable leading the Celtics’ offense. If Pritchard – who has already returned to Las Vegas – decides to play, Boston should be the favorite to win the title. –Andrew Lopez


Nesmith’s chance to break into Boston’s main rotation

After playing solid rotational minutes for the Celtics as a rookie, with a particularly strong finish over the last two months of last season, Aaron Nesmith continued his momentum towards an outstanding summer league, scoring an effective 18 , 8 points in 25 minutes per game.

Despite missing 11 months of action due to a foot injury he suffered in January 2020 and the delay of the season, the flashes Nesmith have shown as a postponed Las Vegas rookie in a major way, especially with a scintillating 33-point outing in a resounding victory over the Nuggets. He also showed defensive versatility in the Celtics’ heavy switch system, using his length to slow down guards and his solid frame to hold on and clean the glass against frontline players.

After being used primarily as a ground spacer last season, Nesmith has seen vital developmental possessions in Las Vegas, handling the ball in transition or pick-and-roll, attacking fences, exiting screens and being used out of bounds. dribble transfers. Its combination of size, length and versatile shot gives it a niche in which to grow alongside cornerstones Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. That he was also effective in shooting the dribble from a distance and made good decisions as a passer and slasher must be encouraging for the front office, given his trajectory at 21.

Everyone who has worked with Nesmith raves about his character and work ethic, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the game continue to slow down for the Wing. With Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker at the New York Knicks, Nesmith could be asked to play a bigger role as a sophomore. — Jonathan Givony


The Kings stop defense brought them to the brink

Sacramento had to wait to see if it would qualify for the championship game thanks to the NBA’s margin of victory rules separating undefeated teams.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans, however, haven’t won their final games with enough points, sending the Kings to play for the Summer League crown.

The Kings have won every game in double digits, with an 86-70 decision over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. Sacramento also held each team under 75 points.

Sacramento will be without forward Chimezie Metu – averaging 10 points and 6.8 rebounds at the top of the team – who will be serving a one-game suspension for throwing a punch in his victory over the Mavericks.

Still, most eyes will be on first-round pick Davion Mitchell, who said the team didn’t even think about a possible championship spot when the Summer League began.

“We just wanted to win every game. That was our goal, ”Mitchell told ESPN. “We just had the chance to play in the championship. It comes from the way we play. Our identity, being this uncompromising team, this defensive team that plays hard throughout the game. This is where it comes from. “

Mitchell, who helped Baylor win a national championship in the spring, is hoping his team’s defense and individual play will continue until Tuesday night.

“I’m really competitive in everything I do,” Mitchell said. “It just comes from not letting my man score on me and making it difficult for the top player. I want to show that I can keep anyone 1 to 4, 1 to 5. ” — Lopez


Davion Mitchell’s role in the Summer League will likely be different in the regular season, as he currently leads the Kings in minutes, points and assists in six games in Las Vegas and Sacramento. Still, he showed elements that should translate into playing alongside Cornerstones Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox.

Mitchell rose to the challenge of defending the opposing team’s top perimeter scorer every time he was on the pitch, stalking James Bouknight, Corey Kispert and Ziaire Williams in tough possessions while demonstrating his positional versatility. Mitchell’s ability to mirror opponents with his quick feet and go past screens has spoiled the opponent’s offense so far.

Mitchell also set the tone for his teammates with his ball swing into the half court, empowering them to push the ball forward in transition and having no problem operating out of the ball. He apparently had no trouble translating his jumper to the NBA’s longer 3-point line, despite almost all of his dribbling attempts, which will certainly help him.

Leading a squad mostly made up of second-round picks and undrafted players, Mitchell’s contribution to success was evident every time he stepped onto the pitch, which he proved as a winner at all levels, from AAU to high school to university. This is perhaps the most notable thing he offers a Sacramento side that hasn’t made the playoffs for 15 years and probably the reason the Kings decided to pick him at No.9, despite the fact that he had no contact with him during the pre-draft process. – Givony

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