It seems like the NBA free agency still isn't quite over yet for most fans, but training camp is right around the corner and the Celtics still have more questions than answers about the shape of the current roster. One thing for certain is the Celtics do have one roster spot open and it looks like it is going to be a five-player battle to determine who earns the spot.
Chris Babb, Damen Bell-Holter, Deshawn Simms and Kammron Taylor were all training camp invitees coming to the Celtics to fight for a spot on this young team. All of these players are great assets the Celtics can get at a cheap price, but the debate and good quality play on the floor during preseason will answer one of many questions for the Celtics heading into the regular season.
Chris Babb wasn't drafted in this year's NBA draft and is one of the four players invited to Celtics camp. The strong position Babb can play would be the shooting guard position, but has the capability to defend against point guards and small forwards if necessary. Babb stands at 6'5", and his size gives him a huge advantage at defending the wingers on the baselines, which he does very well.
Babb transferred from Penn State to Iowa State as a sophomore and let Iowa State into the 3rd round in the NCAA Tournament last year. Babb played for the Phoenix Suns in this summer's Summer League where he averaged 5 points and 1.9 rebounds per game and shot an amazing 57.1 percent from the floor. The only downfall for Babb is that there are already too many shooting guards on the Celtics currently, so he will have to be flexible for Brad Stevens to be able to make the final roster spot.
Damen Bell-Holter is the Celtics' only big man invited to camp to compete for the spot. Bell-Holter had an impressive senior season at Oral Roberts University where he averaged 15.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game striking the attention of Brad Stevens. Bell-Holter stands at 6'9" and uses his big size effectively in creating space in the post and finishing all of his shots under the basket. He also runs the floor very well and finishes strong on the fast breaks.
The chances of Bell-Holter of making the team is favorable because the Celtics do not have any solid centers other than Kelly Olynyk. The odds against him are the fact that he hasn't played in a conference that was very competitive or recognized in the Southland Conference. The inexperience against even the Division one college teams may play a factor to Bell-Holter come preseason.
The only training camp invitee for the Celtics with some professional basketball experience is DeShawn Sims. Sims is still a young player at 25 years old and a former Michigan Wolverine. Sims had bounced around the world since being undrafted in 2010. Sims had played in the NBA's Development League as well as in leagues in Europe and Asia prior to coming to Celtics camp.
Sims had an great senior season at Michigan where he averaged 16.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He has the ability to stretch the floor, which is the kind of offense Rajon Rondo likes to play and has been improving on his jump shot every year. Sims thrived in the D-League in the 2010-11 season where he averaged 20.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Those impressive numbers earned him the D-League's Rookie of the Year and All-Star in the same season. Unfortunately for Sims is that the Celtics are already loaded with young talented forwards currently and could hinder his chances at making the team in October. If he doesn't make the team now, there will be a good chance he will have another shot in the near future.
Former Wisconsin Badger Kammron Taylor was the last, but not least, training camp invitee and possibly has the biggest opportunity to prove to the Celtics that he deserves to be here. The point guard depth for the Celtics is currently very thin and Taylor has played point guard his entire basketball career, which plays heavily in his favor.
Taylor put up great numbers during his senior season at Wisconsin where he averaged 13.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He went undrafted in 2007 and had played overseas since the draft. Taylor played for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the last Summer League where he averaged 10 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Kammron Taylor will still have a lot of work to do to impress Brad Stevens, but expect the Celtics to examine him very closely with the lack of point guards on their current roster besides Rajon Rondo.
All of these players have had great college careers and have a huge opportunity to show that they can be a part of a rebuilding process for the Celtics. It's hard to tell how they will perform in training camp and in preseason games, but I 100% guarantee you it will be a battle to the end. Who will wear Celtics green once the regular season begins? Stay tuned in October to see who makes the final spot on the 15-man roster for the Boston Celtics.