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Celtics Draftee Guerschon Yabusele Shining in the D-League

Celtics 1st round pick Guerschon Yabusele is shining for the Maine Red Claws

2016 NBA Draft Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Heading into the 2016 NBA Draft, Guerschon Yabusele was overlooked in regards to his stance among the best international prospect in that year’s draft. In the lead-up to that NBA Draft, a multitude of the top NBA Draft sites had Yabusele listed as a mid-2nd round prospect. While Yabusele’s offensive versatility and solid frame intrigued most scouts, there was concern about defensive struggles and relative inexperience. However, Danny Ainge and the Celtics looked past those concerns and drafted Yabusele with the 16th overall pick.

After the draft, Yabusele joined the Celtics for the NBA Summer League. Within his time in Vegas, Yabusele played some solid ball as he averaged 8.3 points and 6 rebounds on 49% from the field. That time in Summer League was capped off by Yabusele putting up 13 points, 8 boardsa nd 2 blocks against the Jazz.

Despite that solid play during Summer League, the Celtics really didn’t have any room for Yabusele in their rotation. Due to that, Yabusele decided to sign in China with the Shanghai Sharks.

In China, Yabusele dominated against much weaker competition as averaged 20.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.4 steals while leading Shanghai to the playoffs. Unfortunately for Yabusele, he injured his ankle, and resulted in Yabusele to miss Shanghai’s playoffs run, and without Yabusele Shanghai was knocked out early.

After Shanghai’s season was over, there was talk Yabusele may come finish rest of the season with the Maine Red Claws in the D-League. That is exactly what happened as Yabusele signed with the Red Claws for the remainder of the regular season and their transition into the playoffs.

From the moment that he first stepped on the court as a D-Leaguer, Yabusele just seemed to be at a level ahead of his competition. During his first two D-League games, the 6’8 Yabusele has averaged 18.5 points and 10 rebounds on 65% from the field and 67% from beyond the arc on 3 perimeter attempts per game.

On the offensive end, Yabusele is a freak of nature. With Yabusele being 6’8” the automatic thought would be he is a guy who grabs rebounds and puts back the offensive boards. Well, Yabusele can do that as well as hang around beyond the arc and shoot threes. Also, Yabusele isn’t afraid to drive to the basket and attack bigger opponents. Putting all this together and the right development could lead to Yabusele being a huge threat on the offensive end.

Defensively, Yabusele has really impressed. He can guard shooters who play beyond the arc or defend big men in the post due to his strong 265-pound frame. Although think his rim protection needs work, Yabusele has shown some improvement on this end of the court since he was drafted last year.

In his debut on Friday against Greensboro, Yabusele lived up to all his hype and his potential and looked like he is NBA ready. He finished his D-League debut with 17 points and 9 rebounds on 4-8 from the field and 9-10 from the charity stripe in only 15 minutes.

Over the course of the game, Yabusele was seen hovering around the net and attacking the glass to get rebounds and even put one back. As well, his athleticism was on full display on the offensive end, as he would run from the top of the arc and collect the rebound and kick it out. If this wasn’t enough Yabusele’s beautiful jumper and pump fake was out for the showing. His first game on the offensive end was a good showing for the Celtics, as Yabusele may be on the roster next season and if he does all that he can be a big part of the rotation.

On the defensive end, Yabusele was huge on the defensive rebounds for the Red Claws As well, Yabusele showed a ton of athleticism and interested energy which sparked the Red Claws on D, and came up with a couple big stops which Yabusele had a big hand.

With the Maine Red Claws set to begin the playoffs against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Guerschon Yabusele should play a big role in the team’s potential journey to the NBA D-League Finals.