Summer League takeaways: Mfiondu Kabengele shines in C's-Warriors


The Boston Celtics are out to prove that a draft pick is just a number at the NBA Summer League.

Facing a Golden State Warriors squad led by three lottery picks in James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, the Summer Celtics jumped out to a huge early lead and never looked back to earn a 103-92 victory Tuesday night at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas.

The quartet of Justin Jackson (24 points), Juhann Begarin (21 points), Mfiondu Kabengele (20 points) and Brodric Thomas (18 points) combined to score 83 of the Celtics' 103 points, as Boston hit 43.3 percent of its 3-pointers (13 of 30) to improve to 2-1 in Summer League action.

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Jackson (15th overall) is the only first-round pick of that group.

Here are our takeaways from Celtics vs. Warriors, with Boston's final game set for Thursday against the Memphis Grizzlies:

Does Mfiondu Kabengele deserve a roster spot?

Kabengele continues to turn heads in Vegas. The 24-year-old Florida State product posted his second consecutive double-double Tuesday night (20 points, 13 rebounds) and did his best Robert Williams impression by converting several alley-oops.

Kabengele also tallied two blocks while outplaying the more talented Wiseman (six points in 21 minutes) and may have recorded the assist of Summer League on this absurd behind-the-back pass while falling out of bounds.

The 6-foot-10 big man is now averaging 16.3 points, 10 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.3 blocks through three contests. It's a small sample size, but as the Celtics scour the free-agent and trade markets for a backup big man, they should seriously consider whether Kabengele can fill that role internally.

Brodric Thomas shows off his well-rounded game

While Kabengele and Juhann Begarin have dominated highlight reels, Thomas has been the Celtics' most complete player in Vegas.

The 25-year-old guard went 7 of 12 from the floor and made 4 of 7 3-pointers on Tuesday night while adding five rebounds, two assists and two steals with zero turnovers. He's now shooting 63.2 percent (12 of 19) from distance in Vegas -- and he has some explosiveness, as well.

Thomas earned a two-way contract with Boston last season and was one of the handful of current Summer Leaguers who was on the Celtics' roster for their 2022 NBA Finals run. His performance through three games suggests he should be back with the organization in some capacity this season.

Juhann Begarin has one area to clean up

Begarin is incredibly athletic and continued to get to the rim at will Tuesday night. He also hit a pair of 3-pointers after going just 1 of 4 against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night. But the 19-year-old France native committed a team-high five turnovers, as well, with his offensive aggressiveness occasionally getting him into trouble.

That's to be expected from a player as young and as raw as Begarin, and the upside is clearly there. If he wants to carve out a spot on this roster, he should focus on taking better care of the ball while maintaining his tenacity on offense.

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