Three Players From The EuroLeague The Celtics Could Sign

(Image: News 4 San Antonio)

By Matt Esposito

Well, in theory any team could sign these players. Perhaps I’m projecting some positive energy upon my beloved Celtics. Or maybe I’m catering to a specific fan base in a strategic attempt to grow my journalistic profile. Getting paid to watch basketball then write my thoughts on it is the dream, and I’m inching closer. Sue me. 

A pair of former NBAers are also inching closer to playing stateside, and I’m not talking about the G-League. I could play the role of spoiler and drop those names now, but I’ll lure you in by holding off. This leaves one player to hint about, however, and all I’ll say is that he’s a sub-six-foot, Argentine point guard who is drawing tons of NBA interest. Okay, now you’ve been officially hooked, journalism style. Read on.

Tyler Dorsey

This former second-round draft pick played in the NBA for three years before being pushed out of the League. A 6-foot-5 guard with mediocre length and athleticism, Dorsey has been forced to pursue his comeback with EuroLeague powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he started alongside fellow NBA flameouts such as Dragan Bender and Ante Zizic. Before his departure to Israel, however, Dorsey was starting games for the pre-Morant Memphis Grizzlies and averaging a line of 14.6/3.2/4.3 while hitting on 34.3 percent of his three-pointers.

Yet, Dorsey found himself without an NBA home. The Grizzlies exchanged Dorsey for that Morant fella and De’Anthony Melton; two moves that worked out in their favor. NBA teams likely passed on Dorsey due to his poor defensive performances and sneakiness as a scorer. So, what about Dorsey piques my interest?

In plainest terms, Dorsey can score the ball. His catch-and-shoot ability passes both the eye and numbers test. He sank 40 percent of catch-and-shoot threes while in Memphis, and his stroke simply looks nice. Dorsey can also create triples off of the bounce, a coveted skill in today’s game. Boston needs a bench guard/wing who can generate offense for himself and cash in on open looks. The Celtics’ offense can stagnate with Brad Wanamaker manning the second unit, and while Dorsey may not pan out, it would be wise to spend a minimum contract on someone with a higher ceiling. Plus, Dorsey has shown improvement at finishing at the rim, something that used to plague him.

What’s more, Dorsey is an underrated passer. Brad Stevens does not want to bring in a ball-stopper, and Dorsey can keep it moving and find shooters on kickouts after attacking closeouts. He’ll also hit open men during transition, something Wanamaker struggles with. With a buyout clause in his contract, Dorsey is prepping for a return. A versatile microwave scorer who nailed 39.4 percent of his triples last year, he could be just what Boston needs. If Dorsey were to sign in Boston, expect his defensive effort to improve as he plays for his NBA life.

Facundo Campazzo

Facundo Campazzo would do more for the Celtics than be an immediate contender for most fun name in team history. I’ll dig into his playing style in a bit, but to hold you over, here is a list of his accomplishments from Wikipedia.

“Most Spectacular Player” sounds like an award someone made up because the other awards simply weren’t good enough. But the tape shows why he earned this title. Until I get my acceptance letter from Hogwarts, Campazzo’s passing is the best proof we have that wizards exist. Hoops nerds search for Facundo passing highlights the way White Nationalists type “Tucker Carlson OWNS _______” into YouTube. And here’s why…

Facu has spent the last seven years in Spain’s top league. There, he has averaged a line of 9.8/4.5/2.3, which may not seem overly impressive at first glance. But the European game is different from the American one. Teammates play in shifts that are similar to hockey, limiting the gaudy stats we are accustomed to in the States. If you have doubts, find comfort in the fact that Marc Stein believes Campazzo is closer than ever to signing with an NBA team.

Although he’s a tough defensive player, he has athletic and physical limitations. Moreover, Facu is streaky from deep, and it shows in his year-by-year percentages. Yet, he has made 48 out of 100 postseason three-point attempts since 2015.

For the Celtics, Campazzo would have the opportunity to play a substantial role. Boston may look to manage Kemba Walker’s minutes due to his knee concerns. Campazzo could come in and orchestrate the second unit, creating easy looks for projected bench players like Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Marcus Smart and Bobby Timelord. There will likely be a bidding war for Campazzo, and the C’s should toss their hat into the ring.

Derrick Williams

Please, do not be that person who reads Derrick Williams and then immediately thinks, “Dude busted out of the league lol, I’ll pass.” To do so would be foolish, especially when considering how he has developed as a player in Europe. While Williams did not end up excelling to the degree we associate with a top-two draft pick, he has altered his game to earn another NBA chance.

Williams may actually be a good enough perimeter shooter. Throughout his NBA tenure, he averaged 30 percent from deep on two attempts per game. Barf. But during his last two full seasons overseas (2017–2019), Williams sank 35.3 percent of the 226 attempts he let fly. Before that, in China, Williams hit 33.9 percent of his triples on just over four attempts. The eye test confirms that he would likely convert just below league average from beyond the arc if he were to return to the Association.

And if opposing teams ever think highly enough of Williams to closeout on him, well, this can happen…

Now, do the Celtics have room for a forward (possibly small-ball five) that won’t wow you from deep? No. Fortunately for Williams, he does more than that. It is not a stretch to say that if Williams were brought to Boston, he would be the best athlete on the team. Yes, I am aware the Celtics have a Jaylen Brown. At 6-foot-9 with dominant, pain-inducing explosiveness, however, Williams jumps (pun intended) off the screen in a way that suggests he could give Brown a run for his money.

Toss in his roughly 7-foot-1 wingspan and Stevens could get freaky with some lineups that feature Williams at the center spot. Plus, the NBA has shifted into a league where Williams would no longer be shunned as a tweener. Rather, Williams could terrorize slower centers as a pick-and-roll lob threat on offense, and defensively, his bulk/footspeed combo makes him a prime candidate for anchoring small-ball defenses. A high-IQ player coming out of college, Williams could earn playing time by giving max defensive effort.

Final Thoughts

I’m unsure if Williams has a buyout clause, but the other two aforementioned players do. Smart money would suggest Williams’ agent worked one into his contract. So, how would I rank these players in order of importance to the Celtics offseason?

I’m of the belief that the Celtics may have their bench scoring solutions on the roster already. Expect Langford to play more minutes next year, and do so with a positive impact. Additionally, Grant Williams should be able to both take and hit more three-pointers. To boot, Boston is primed to add a ready-now scorer like Desmond Bane or Saddiq Bey with one of their two-dozen draft picks. This places Dorsey at the bottom of my list.

Next up is Campazzo. There’s a good chance that some other club is willing to shell out more money for him than what Boston is capable of offering. Still, should they get him, the addition could move the needle. With staggered second units that perpetually feature two of Boston’s core four (Hayward, Brown, Kemba and Tatum), Campazzo could wreak havoc. This postseason, Boston showed how they need a handler to initiate offense when a star is sitting. Facu is that guy.

Still, you can’t teach height. Or athleticism. Williams’ ability to switch against pick-and-rolls would have been much appreciated during the Heat series, as the Celtics struggled mightily defending Bam Adebayo. I’d be comfortable extending Tremont Waters and then luring Williams to Boston as a do-it-all hybrid who brings toughness and a jolt of competitiveness to the squad.

Published by Matt Esposito

Founder/Writer for Theplaygrounder.com and contributor to Red’s Army Twitter: @Mattesposito_

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