With the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft, rumors were swirling viciously about the next big name star headed to the Celtics. The list of potential stars coming to the C’s got unmistakably out of control. Not a day passed without some rumor du jour, whether it involved Jimmy Butler, Jahil Okafor, Demarcus Cousins, Blake Griffin or whoever the NBA Twitter army decided would be a good fit with the Celts. Whether any of it was actually true or not, we’ll probably never know, but certainly one name that seemed to be involved in many of the rumors was Celtics guard RJ Hunter.
Hunter, going into his second year, had a season that he might like to forget. While the opportunity rarely presented itself (Hunter only played in 36 games) he did little with those few minutes on the parquet–shooting a measly 36.7% from the field while not showing many of the flashes of hope that the Celtics thought they might be getting when he was selected as the 28th pick in the 2015 draft.
Now word in camp is that Hunter is battling for a roster spot. There have been rumblings that the final roster spot is down to Hunter, James Young, and Ben Bentil. Adam Himmelsbach at the Boston Globe noted this week that Hunter is truly motivated to win that last spot and he has been working out in the off-season with newly acquired Al Horford.
My opinion is that Hunter wins that last roster spot. Young is still so raw and unprepared for the pace of the NBA. Bentil is a solid player but probably still needs a bit more seasoning before he’s ready to get any serious minutes. I loved Hunter’s game out of Georgia State and the Celtics could really use his shooting prowess but if he can’t figure it out this year, it is likely that he gets packaged at some point during the year. I’m still convinced that Trader Danny isn’t done, and while I’d like to see Hunter stick around, he could be better suited to play for another team where he might be able to get some more minutes.
In the meantime, it wasn’t all a wash for Hunter last year–kid has a sweet stroke, so he hopefully he can get to prove himself with the Celts this year.
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