We knew Tacko Fall would have some competition for the Celtics’ 15th and final roster spot, but now it’s beginning to become a little more clear of who he’ll be up against.
Boston reportedly signed forward Kaiser Gates to a training camp contract Thursday, making him the 19th player under contract heading into training camp. That leaves one more (preseason) roster spot to open fill before camp begins in less than one month.
But with so many Celtics fans clamoring for Fall to make the team, it appears Gates may have some rooting against him before he even steps foot on the Auerbach Center floor. So this should beg the question — who is Kaiser Gates?
The 22-year-old forward played three seasons at Xavier before going undrafted in 2018. He joined the Windy City Bulls, Chicago’s G League affiliate, after playing summer league with Chicago and posted better offensive numbers than he did during any of his three years in the Big East.
In 50 games, Gates averaged 12.7 points and 6.4 rebounds on 40.9 percent shooting (37.5 percent 3-pt). No, those shooting numbers may not jump off the screen, but that’s actually one of the stronger aspects of his game.
At 6-foot-8, the Alpharetta, Ga. native moves well for his size. He can stretch the floor, fitting the modern NBA game, and showed a preference towards the deep-ball in college. But Gates improved his work on the glass in 2018, using his NBA-frame and athletic ability to fine tune the overlooked portions of his game.
He’s shown plenty of upside during his brief professional career, improving a skillset that many felt could have used another year at Xavier. Despite starting just nine G League games, Gates had 10 games of 20-plus points and 12 double-doubles over the 50-game span. He showcased an ability to score off the dribble as well, something that never fully came to fruition during his collegiate career. All in all, he’s trending in the right direction, and certainly could be a valuable piece in Maine if he ends up on the Red Claws roster come the regular season.
Gates joins Javonte Green, who also signed a training camp deal with Boston, and two-way guard Tremont Waters as those competing for the Celtics’ final roster spot.