BOSTON — He has played only 486 minutes in 74 games for the Boston Celtics since being selected in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft.

Forward Guerschon Yabusele spent one year with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. He’s become a fan favorite for the Maine Red Claws of the G League (The Dancing Bear, as he became known), and has done a lot of sitting and watching from the Celtics’ bench.

There is a need for Yabusele to get on the court and play, so he volunteered to be part of the Celtics’ summer league team that opens its schedule in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Yabusele and second-year center Robert Williams are the only players on the roster who were with the Celtics last season.

“He chose to be here. He came in to work and he’s been great in terms of all our extra sessions and film,” said assistant coach Scott Morrison – former coach of the Red Claws who is running the summer league team. “That’s probably the main thing he can do right now, go out there and try to be focused both on and off the court in Vegas and make sure he shows his best when it comes time to throw the ball up.”

Yabusele played in the summer league in 2016, one month after being drafted No. 16, but had to sit out the summer of 2017 due to an injury. He was back in Las Vegas a year ago, hoping to fine-tune his game to get on the court more with the Celtics in the 2018-19 season.


That didn’t happen, however, as there were too many players ahead of Yabusele on the depth chart. He appeared in half the games, starting one, and averaged 2.3 points and 1.3 rebounds.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” said Yabusele after the final summer team practice at the Auerbach Center Wednesday afternoon. “I’ve been there before. I know what it’s going to be. The team goes there to compete. Players are trying to make the team. Players are trying to get better, trying to get prepared for the new season coming. Just got to be ready.”

The Celtics have undergone major changes already this offseason with Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Terry Rozier and Aron Baynes leaving and Marcus Morris looking for a new team.

There should be minutes available in the frontcourt, and Yabusele would like nothing better than to get a chance in the rotation.

“I try not to worry about (the roster changes),” he said. “I’m just trying to focus on me, try to control what you can control, try to get better, work, get ready for next season and play with a lot of energy.”

Yabusele should get plenty of minutes in Las Vegas as the Celtics try to add experience for the native of France.

“Hopefully he’ll be out there and kind of flex his muscle a little bit, punish some switches,” said Morrison. “If teams want to switch on him at the four, (he can) put somebody under the rim and score, draw some help. He’s always been a good cutter, a good passer.

“We’ll try to put him in a position where he can showcase his strength for the team but also work on some of the things that maybe he didn’t get a chance to work on all season as more of a role player. When he’s on the court for us in the summer league, he’ll be one of our main guys.”

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