Mfiondu Kabengele, 2-way player

Jimbodandy

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Can't remember where I saw it but a recent interview with Ime made it sound like he prioritized getting back-up wing help more than another big. With Kabengele signed as injury insurance, C's seem comfortable for now with Kornet as the back-up big (agree that he's fine as our Theis replacement/10mpg guy). I like Boogie but might make more sense to focus on someone like Jeremy Lamb as a wing who would be fine in spot minutes. Of course, given their luxury tax issues, C's might be judicious about signing even a minimum deal.
Fwiw, I think that they're likely to stand pat until something better comes available either as a trade facilitator now, at the trade deadline, or buyout season. It seems clear that they'll pay some tax for someone who might make a difference, but none of the available guys really meet that standard right now.
 

RG33

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I had to look it up to confirm, it's remarkable that Green made just $25M after being drafted in the 1st round in 2005 and playing 12 years in the league. A guy with his physical tools who stuck around for that long, I figured he got one decent contract at some point, but it never happened. Here are the other guys from the 2005 draft who played 10+ years and their career earnings:

10 years:
Ronny Turiaf ($23M), Jason Maxiell ($29M), Francisco Garcia ($31M), Danny Granger ($71M), Martell Webster ($47M)

11 years:
Nate Robinson ($25M), Charlie Villanueva ($52M)

12 years:
Monta Ellis ($106M), Brandon Bass ($39M), Ian Miahinmi ($84M), Deron Williams ($158M), David Lee ($95M)

13 years:
Ersan Ilysasova ($69M), Jarrett Jack ($47M), Channing Frye ($69M)

14 years:
Amir Johnson ($79M), Raymond Felton ($54M), Andrew Bogut ($118M)

15+ years:
Marvin Williams ($124M), CJ Miles ($59M), Lou Williams ($87M), Chris Paul ($331M and counting)

The only guys with double digit years who made the same or less than Green are Ronny Turiaf (a 2nd round pick who had open heart surgery) and Nate Robinson (last seen getting knocked unconscious by a youtuber), both of whom played fewer years than Green.
Great post.

Jarret Jack ($47M), Ray Felton ($54M), and Amir Johnson ($79M) are the biggest “Holy shit, I can’t believe they made that much money!” For me in that list.
 

TripleOT

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Not many NBA players are going to have the same physical tools as Robert Williams, but Kabengele is at least a Robert Williams type, when it comes to running and jumping. If he could be trained to even be half the defensive player of Rob Williams, combined with his ability to step out and shoot the three, the Celtics could have the perfect, affordable backup to the injury prone Robert Williams. And I know that’s a big if, but the defensive framework that exists on the Celtics will help him develop his defensive game.

I would much rather have them invest their time and effort in Kabengele than in someone like Luke Kornet, who is proving, at least to me, that he’s nothing but a 14th man type
 

billy ashley

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Not many NBA players are going to have the same physical tools as Robert Williams, but Kabengele is at least a Robert Williams type, when it comes to running and jumping. If he could be trained to even be half the defensive player of Rob Williams, combined with his ability to step out and shoot the three, the Celtics could have the perfect, affordable backup to the injury prone Robert Williams. And I know that’s a big if, but the defensive framework that exists on the Celtics will help him develop his defensive game.

I would much rather have them invest their time and effort in Kabengele than in someone like Luke Kornet, who is proving, at least to me, that he’s nothing but a 14th man type

I don't disagree with you that Kabengele's athleticism is interesting, fun and potentially means he has a higher upside than Kornet, but has Kornet been given any real opportunity to prove he's not just a 14th man on a roster?

I think the most likely outcome is that these are both end-of-the-bench guys but we've not even seen Kornet play much, yet.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I don't disagree with you that Kabengele's athleticism is interesting, fun and potentially means he has a higher upside than Kornet, but has Kornet been given any real opportunity to prove he's not just a 14th man on a roster?

I think the most likely outcome is that these are both end-of-the-bench guys but we've not even seen Kornet play much, yet.
We’ve seen Kornet play for 5 years with 5 different organizations and have seen his defensive limitations. It’s all physical too so the athletic upside isn’t there for him to grow into like it is with Kabengele who has a much higher ceiling for this reason as he learns the game. He’s the same low ceiling/high BBIQ guy he was when he entered the league…….what you’ve seen is what you get.
 

benhogan

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Not many NBA players are going to have the same physical tools as Robert Williams, but Kabengele is at least a Robert Williams type, when it comes to running and jumping. If he could be trained to even be half the defensive player of Rob Williams, combined with his ability to step out and shoot the three, the Celtics could have the perfect, affordable backup to the injury prone Robert Williams. And I know that’s a big if, but the defensive framework that exists on the Celtics will help him develop his defensive game.

I would much rather have them invest their time and effort in Kabengele than in someone like Luke Kornet, who is proving, at least to me, that he’s nothing but a 14th man type
I hope JMazz doesn't feel pressure to win now by playing Horford sizeable minutes. I was in the shrink-wrap Al until the playoffs mode last year (I was kind of wrong). I'm still hanging on to the shrink wrap approach. Al is too damn valuable.

Al @ 25mpg would open up real minutes for Kabangele/Kornet/Griffin for the first 10-12 weeks of the season until TL is back. Maybe 1 of those 3 surprises to the upside?

If there is anything we learned from last year it's how unimportant the regular season is before Jan.1
 

chilidawg

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I hope JMazz doesn't feel pressure to win now by playing Horford sizeable minutes. I was in the shrink-wrap Al until the playoffs mode last year (I was kind of wrong). I'm still hanging on to the shrink wrap approach. Al is too damn valuable.

Al @ 25mpg would open up real minutes for Kabangele/Kornet/Griffin for the first 10-12 weeks of the season until TL is back. Maybe 1 of those 3 surprises to the upside?

If there is anything we learned from last year it's how unimportant the regular season is before Jan.1
Getting off to a good start to the season would certainly make it easier for Coach Mazz to not overplay Horford.
 

Cellar-Door

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Kabengele to me is just a deep bench guy, he has athleticism and tries hard, but he's also 25 already and seems to have no skills. He doesn't really block that many shots (less than Kornet for example), he has no offensive game at all, he's just kind of the epitome of a guy just running around real hard out there. I also don't get the idea that he is likely to be better than Kornet any time soon. Kornet has over 2000 minutes played in the league as an okayish bench player, Kabengele has never shown anything all that close to that level.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Getting off to a good start to the season would certainly make it easier for Coach Mazz to not overplay Horford.
What is overplaying? Last year we heard people complaining about this too when he avg 29 mpg after playing 30 games the previous season. The way to get off to a good start, which is critical in this unique situation, is to play your best players regular minutes. Without TL available I’d imagine Al is in the 32-34 range.
 

joe dokes

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What is overplaying? Last year we heard people complaining about this too when he avg 29 mpg after playing 30 games the previous season. The way to get off to a good start, which is critical in this unique situation, is to play your best players regular minutes. Without TL available I’d imagine Al is in the 32-34 range.
Maybe the answer is in scheduled nights off as much as it is mpg?
 

TripleOT

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Maybe the answer is in scheduled nights off as much as it is mpg?
Maybe the answer is crushing the non elite teams early in games, so Al doesn’t have to play heavy second half minutes in something like half the games. Boston now has a bench that can grow first quarter leads.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Maybe the answer is crushing the non elite teams early in games, so Al doesn’t have to play heavy second half minutes in something like half the games. Boston now has a bench that can grow first quarter leads.
The problem is that in todays game a late 3Q 20-pt lead is not remotely close to being considered a blowout. I agree with the scheduled days off on occasion if he’s hurting.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Al @ 25mpg would open up real minutes for Kabangele/Kornet/Griffin for the first 10-12 weeks of the season until TL is back. Maybe 1 of those 3 surprises to the upside?
I think Vonleh is going to get first at those minutes as he's been the first non-Al, non-GW big off the bench in both pre-season games.
 

The Mort Report

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I think Vonleh is going to get first at those minutes as he's been the first non-Al, non-GW big off the bench in both pre-season games.
I agree, and even if a person thinks Gele can provide a bit more, its probably better maintaining the depth with both of them around than say cutting Vonleh to give Gele a full roster spot. If everyone is healthy neither are playing more than minimal minutes when it matters
 

Eddie Jurak

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I think Vonleh is going to get first at those minutes as he's been the first non-Al, non-GW big off the bench in both pre-season games.
Vonleh got only 3 minutes yesterday. I'm skeptical that he is even ticketed to make the team. Kabangele is not going to get key minutes, though. I doubt his role on the team will go beyond getting used for his fouls this year, unless Celtic bigs have even more injuries.

Edit: Actually, scratch that, they do have room for Vonleh, so maybe he does make it. I think the Celtics have 13 guys signed, plus the 2 two ways, and 5 guys in the mix for the ast 2 spots: Vonleh, Brodric Thomas, Justin Jackson, Jake Layman, Luka Samanic. Two of their regulars will not be playing any time soon (Gallinari, Rob). From that group Vonleh is probably the obvious guy to sign.
 
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lovegtm

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Vonleh got only 3 minutes yesterday. I'm skeptical that he is even ticketed to make the team. Kabangele is not going to get key minutes, though. I doubt his role on the team will go beyond getting used for his fouls this year, unless Celtic bigs have even more injuries.

Edit: Actually, scratch that, they do have room for Vonleh, so maybe he does make it. I think the Celtics have 13 guys signed, plus the 2 two ways, and 5 guys in the mix for the ast 2 spots: Vonleh, Brodric Thomas, Justin Jackson, Jake Layman, Luka Samanic. Two of their regulars will not be playing any time soon (Gallinari, Rob). From that group Vonleh is probably the obvious guy to sign.
Yeah, they need some bodies to give fouls on Embiid, but they're not much use beyond that.
 

joe dokes

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The problem is that in todays game a late 3Q 20-pt lead is not remotely close to being considered a blowout. I agree with the scheduled days off on occasion if he’s hurting.
Yeah. Big leads are not what they once were. But I think the scheduled days off are even if (or especially if) he's *not* hurting.
 

JakeRae

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Vonleh got only 3 minutes yesterday. I'm skeptical that he is even ticketed to make the team. Kabangele is not going to get key minutes, though. I doubt his role on the team will go beyond getting used for his fouls this year, unless Celtic bigs have even more injuries.

Edit: Actually, scratch that, they do have room for Vonleh, so maybe he does make it. I think the Celtics have 13 guys signed, plus the 2 two ways, and 5 guys in the mix for the ast 2 spots: Vonleh, Brodric Thomas, Justin Jackson, Jake Layman, Luka Samanic. Two of their regulars will not be playing any time soon (Gallinari, Rob). From that group Vonleh is probably the obvious guy to sign.
Agree with this. It’s possible they decide to keep one open roster spot and one of Thomas or Jackson, but both are the level of player you can easily acquire on 10 days. Vonleh isn’t a difference maker, by any stretch, but he’s better than that and I’d think the front runner for the 14th roster spot, regardless of whether we go to 15.
 

chilidawg

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Great article from Jared Weiss on MK working on the intricacies of the pick and roll:

Sometimes, I just go to set a screen blindly and I’m just thinking I’m gonna set the screen, just roll, and see what happens and it’s a surprise,” Kabengele said. “But I was talking to Blake (Griffin) and Jaylen and they gave me checkpoints to check before I even set the screen, so I make that turn and I kind of know what to expect. It’s almost like when a quarterback drops back and sees the defense set. Once the ball is hiked, he knows where everyone generally is going to be because of the preset of everyone’s position.”

https://theathletic.com/3663292/2022/10/07/celtics-jaylen-brown-mfiondu-kabengele/
 

TripleOT

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It looks like one of the biggest problems with Kabengele is he just doesn’t have good basketball instincts. I distinctly recall one play this preseason when he was defending the basket against a player trying to take a right handed layup on the right side of the hoop. Kabengele tried to block the shot with his right hand, and predictably fouled him while swiping across his arms. A big man who has a feel for basketball would have just jump straight up, chest to chest, and blocked the shot with his left hand.

On offense, he doesn’t move instinctually, even when setting picks, and he’s almost always a little off on his positioning and timing. Maybe he will figure it out with this veteran Celtics team.
 

Fishy1

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It looks like one of the biggest problems with Kabengele is he just doesn’t have good basketball instincts. I distinctly recall one play this preseason when he was defending the basket against a player trying to take a right handed layup on the right side of the hoop. Kabengele tried to block the shot with his right hand, and predictably fouled him while swiping across his arms. A big man who has a feel for basketball would have just jump straight up, chest to chest, and blocked the shot with his left hand.

On offense, he doesn’t move instinctually, even when setting picks, and he’s almost always a little off on his positioning and timing. Maybe he will figure it out with this veteran Celtics team.
Agreed. I think a lot of bigs have trouble adjusting to the speed of the NBA game and he seems to be having just that problem. I'm not sure he's much quicker or more vertical than Horford is and doesn't have a good idea where to be. He's eager and plays hard but is a foul machine. A lot to learn from Horford, regardless, and bigs, it seems to me, are sometimes like catchers. Some bloom late. Maybe he'll get lucky.
 

benhogan

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Kabengele's first NBA game in over a year the other night.

He just needs to learn what every fungible 3rd/4th string BIG needs to do to get an NBA roster spot.

Defense/Screen on Offense
Kornet needs to play stout drop Defense
then on Offense: screen, screen again, screen some more, eventually roll & reverse dunk

https://theathletic.com/3958890/2022/12/02/celtics-mfiondu-kabengele-gleague/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983

Back at Florida State, where he led the Seminoles in scoring on a team that also included future NBA rotation players Devin Vassell and Terance Mann, Kabengele fancied himself as the guy. He wanted the post-up touches, the back-to-the-basket looks, a big share of his team’s shots. He knew his role would need to change at least somewhat when he reached the NBA, but still wanted his game to look a certain way.

After he appeared in just 12 games as a rookie with the LA Clippers, the team declined to pick up his third-year option in December 2020. Though LA technically still could have kept Kabengele beyond his second season, the decision sent a clear message about his standing in the organization. He was the only first-round pick from the 2019 draft whose team decided against guaranteeing at least the third season of his rookie contract. Months later, the Clippers dealt Kabengele to the Sacramento Kings in a salary-dumping maneuver. He was waived by Sacramento days after the trade.

Kabengele resurfaced with the Cavaliers near the end of the 2020-21 season, but the organization waived him during the training camp the following season. He knew the precious nature of NBA opportunities. And that he had let his slide away. When he signed with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the G League, the reality set in that he would have a long climb back to the
NBA.

“I had my chance,” Kabengele said. “So I kind of had to start over, make another one. I knew once I got to RGV, I was a regular G-League player. I wasn’t a two-way or an NBA assignee. So I’m like, all right, I have to give you guys a body of work. That’s when I realized it was going to take a while. I had to reprove myself. Being on Day 1, having those Day 1 thoughts, knowing it was going to take a while, was probably the hardest part.