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After Celtics 107-106 win over Charlotte, questions are being answered for Danny Ainge

We all realize final scores in exhibition games are meaningless, but the plays and the stats tell a lot. Such was the case last night when the Celtics bested the Charlotte Hornets by a score of 107-106.

Question #1: The center spot?

If Brad Stevens is looking for a block party, he can throw both Rob Williams and Tacko Fall out there. They each garnered two blocks in a combined 18 minutes of floor time. But defense isn't just about knocking opponents' shots out of the building. They both need work on the defensive end. Enes Kanter? Same analysis. How about the Frenchman, Vincent Poirier? He was only on the court for five minutes, but right now, he may be the best defensive option on the team.

Question #2: The rookies?

The big surprise here is Javonte Green. In a mere 10 minutes of action, he put up 15 points on a perfect 7-of-7 from the field and 1-of-1 on treys, while adding four rebounds. This is only one game - an exhibition - but his performance is this one was inspiring.

Rookie Grant Williams only put up five points, but grabbed nine rebounds and came away with a team-high plus minus of +14. Carsen Edwards did not disappoint, scoring 11 points on 4-of-9 from the field and 3-of-6 on 3-pointers. He came in second on the team on plus'minus with a +11. Green, Edwards and G-Will all showed promise for not only the future, but perhaps the present season.

Question #3: Is Tacko Fall a legit NBA-level talent?

The answer to the question based on this game alone is a "Yes, Tacko has NBA potential". He was in the game for eight minutes - scored five points on 2-of-3 from the field, while also nailing 1-of-2 from the free throw line. He added three boards and two blocks. He isn't the most athletic guy out there, but he doesn't have to be. His length covers almost any weaknesses in his game.

Question #4: Is Gordon Hayward back to form?

Gordon's above move gives us a partial answer. He drove in and took contact with no hesitation or ill effects. He suffered what appeared to be a minor elbow injury in the game, but put up a line of nine points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal. The early news is good.

Question #5: Is Jayson Tatum heading to stardom?

Once again, the early answer is "yes". In 23 minutes of action, Jayson racked up 20 points, four rebounds, three steals and one block. He shot 8-of-14 on field goals and 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. That line verifies that Tatum has improved both his defense and rebounding - and maybe his shot selection. Great first game for him.

Question #6: How about that 15th roster slot?

We once again see why Danny Ainge signed Javonte Green to a 2-year deal (first year is only partially guaranteed). He had a very good Summer League, and last night's game may have moved him closer to being locked in to the Celtics roster. I have previously written that Danny Ainge can not let Tacko Fall get away, and a 2-way contract may be the best solution. The Celtics current 2-way players, Max Strus and Tremont Waters are also potential candidates for that final roster spot. Training camp and the remaining exhibition games will supply an answer.

Question #7: Based on one exhibition game, how does this season look?

One exhibition is a mighty poor sample, but the game was encouraging. The center spot is what worries me. If we project all of the best qualities of Kanter (11 points, 4 rebounds), Poirier, Fall and Rob Williams into one single center, that would work. But since we can't do that, it will be up to Brad Stevens to figure it out. Look for another article or two from me later today on the game - the outlook - and one possible solution to the center slot question.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and Facebook


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