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Von Wafer hoping to make final Celtics roster

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The preseason is winding to a close, and according to Scott Souza of the MetroWest Daily News, Celtics swingman Von Wafer hopes that he won’t be one of the last players cut from the team before the first game of the season on Tuesday:

After struggling badly at the start of training camp, former Florida State sharpshooter Von Wafer might have found his game just in time to make the final 15 when the Celtics open against the Heat next Tuesday.

Wafer was one of the bright spots in last night’s 16-minute scrimmage, taking the ball to the basket against Shaquille O’Neal and Kevin Garnett, and knocking down open shots.

“He’s been more aggressive,” Rivers said. “He still has to buy in defensively and into our culture. I think he’ll do that.”

That’s if Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Rivers give him the time.

After a terrible start to the preseason, in which he went scoreless and didn’t make a shot in 25 minutes over the first three games, Wafer has come on strong. He had 14 points (3-for-3 on treys) in 26 minutes against the Raptors on Friday and eight points (2-of-4 on treys) with five rebounds in 24 minutes against the Knicks on Saturday.

Expecting Wafer to play hard on defense and fit into an offensive system is a tall order for the 26-year old Wafer, who has been a fairly one-dimensional gunner throughout his NBA career, and never a terribly efficient one at that. Still, Wafer knows how to put the ball in the basket, and the Celtics could use some extra scoring punch from the bench.

As Souza noted in his article, Wafer has been on seven NBA rosters in the last four years. If Wafer can rediscover his 08-09 shooting form and make some concessions to the way the Celtics play the game, he could provide useful minutes to a team that will likely make a deep playoff run — if not, Wafer could be headed to the D-League or back overseas, which is where Wafer spent the 2009-10 season. Just another reminder of how important one preseason game can be to some players hoping to crack an NBA roster.

Chris Paul, after breaking finger, intends to play in Clippers preseason game tomorrow

Chris Paul
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Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.

The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.

Here’s confirmation.

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:

Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.

Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.

Report: David Lee, Tyler Zeller in line to start for Celtics; Jared Sullinger, Jonas Jerebko out of rotation

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 08: David Lee of Boston Celtics attacks during the friendlies of the NBA Global Games 2015 basketball match between Real Madrid and Boston Celtics at Barclaycard Center on October 8, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.

It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.

That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.

Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.

Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.

I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.

This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.