During the NBA Draft Iverson waited his turn while fellow MWC players Anthony Bennett, Tony Snell, and Jamaal Franklin all were drafted. Just when uncertainty started to creep in whether or not he would be drafted, the Boston Celtics traded the Indianapolis Pacers for the rights to the 53rd pick and made it official with the selection of the Mountain West's Newcomer of the Year. After a quick moment to celebrate achieving a life-long dream, it was time to head to Boston and start taking the steps to making the final roster.
After a couple days of press conferences and general rookie processes, Iverson left for the first summer league session in Orlando, Florida with the Celtics' first round draft pick Kelly Olynyk and other players trying to make the roster. The Celtics squad had a week and a half of practices and four games to prove themselves in front of assistant coach Jay Larranaga and new head coach Brad Stevens. Only four games to show the people holding his future in their hands that he can be a contribution to the organization. And Iverson definitely showed them what he is all about.
Reading Kevin O' Connor's Celtics Blog, one word continuously came up about Iverson's play, energy. Whether it be setting a hard screen to open up teammates, physically boxing out opponents, or assuring no one scored in the paint, Iverson constantly showed a willingness to give 110% every second on the floor, just like at Colorado State. The things he did well do not exactly show up in the stat line, he only averaged 3.3 points on and 5.3 rebounds a game, but teammates and coaches praised how big a presence he was outside the statistics. He was not the scoring virtuoso Olynyk was, he lead the summer league with 19.5 points a game, but that was not what he was asked to do. He did what he has done his entire career, play with high energy and do what he can to help the team win.
Iverson's main competition for the backup center spot is former first round pick Fab Melo who has yet to live up to his first round potential. It may be a little too early to tell, but it seems Iverson already has the upper hand on Melo. Everything Melo struggles with; help defense, boxing out, pick and rolls, is one of Iverson's strengths. Melo does have a more refined offensive game from his year in the D-League, but it is not a significant advantage.
There is still time left for players to battle it out for a spot in the season's roster, so expect more news on Colton Iverson and the Celtics' position battle to come in the near future. One thing is certain though, if he continues to show the drive and determination he displayed at Colorado State, nothing can stop him.
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