After making the NBA Finals last season, the Boston Celtics have focused their efforts on improving their roster ahead of next year. Brad Stevens has already made multiple moves, including signing veteran forward Danilo Gallinari in free agency and making a trade for combo guard Malcolm Brogdon.
However, in the trade for Brogdon, Stevens traded away five players – Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Malik Fitts, Nik Stauskas, and Juwan Morgan. In turn, they now have some open roster spots available and will be looking to fill them throughout the rest of the summer.
One player who they could look to fill one of those spots with is wing Matt Ryan. The 25-year-old stood out in Summer League with an impressive performance that ended with a game-winning shot. And according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, he could be a good fit for Boston’s roster.
“His on-ball defense is more rugged, though he isn’t the aerial threat [Brodric] Thomas is. If Boston wants someone it knows it can bring out there to impose himself on the game, Ryan seems the better bet. He just launches with unbridled confidence, and you can feel him out there more than almost anyone else on the Summer League roster,” Weiss wrote on July 20.
The wing’s three-pointer-led game is only one-upped by his amazing story, which he detailed after his game-winning shot in Summer League.
Ryan: ‘It’s Pretty Emotional’
After Ryan hit the game-winning shot against the Milwaukee Bucks, he was interviewed by the media and asked about his journey. The 25-year-old was moved to tears discussing his journey, as just one year ago, he was living at home and driving for DoorDash.
“It’s pretty emotional. It’s been a crazy 11 months,” Ryan said, holding back tears. “I was home for a year and half. I don’t know if you had heard my story, but [I was] driving Door Dash a year ago. To be here, to be part of the Boston Celtics roster, it’s special.”
Although he only appeared in two Summer League games, Ryan still put up some impressive numbers. In those games, playing 22.9 minutes per night, he averaged 19.0 points and 1.5 rebounds on 55.0% shooting from the field and 52.6% shooting from behind the three-point line.
The Summer League standout was inked to a two-way contract with the Celtics in the latter half of the season after Boston’s trade-deadline moves, and now, he finds himself with a real chance to make the main roster.
Ryan’s Shot Makes Him Stand out
In addition to his “unbridled confidence,” Weiss noted Ryan’s three-point versatility and ability to shoot over tough defense as two areas of his game that stood out during Summer League.
“While Thomas has the upper hand getting to the rim and being a dynamic transition player, Matt Ryan showed he can shoot at volume and create his own perimeter looks,” Weiss explained. “Ryan can step into a deep 3 off the pick-and-roll, can muscle his way into a defender to pop into a stepback and just bury 30-footers with a defender right on him. Thomas looked good on open shots, but Ryan shot over hard contests or just tight defense with composure.”
With just three spots available, Ryan will certainly have competition, but based on what he showed in Summer League, he could have a real shot at making the main roster.