The Atlanta Celtics have produced extraordinary talent over the past decade, with Dwight Howard graduating from high school 10 years ago and legions of high-majors following along since then.
The Celtics boast a pair of underclassmen who also project to make a mark in basketball. In addition to Simmons, Braxton Blackwell already sports a lengthy list of interested high-major suitors and reinforced why at this weekend's Adidas Gauntlet in central Florida.
That's not to say Blackwell played his best ball, because he didn't. He didn't shoot well during my viewings and also didn't create often off the dribble, although in fairness it was Simmons who generally initiated offense.
But Blackwell's skill was obvious. He's a sure-handed handler and passer — including on the move — on the wing, and at 6-6 that's no small feat. He's entirely comfortable with the ball in his hands, not a big man masquerading as a perimeter performer.
That said, he already carries a sturdy body and if he continues to grow even a little, he could end up best-suited as a hybrid forward rather than a wing. He lofts a very high-arching shot that missed the mark when I watched, but his release looks okay.
Meanwhile, he lacks elite explosion but does jump well with a running start. I think his ultimate projection, wherever coaches decide to slot him in the lineup, will be a power perimeter player with jump shooting range (based on form) and the strength to post up smaller defenders.
In terms of intangibles, Blackwell plays an intelligent game that's under control. He likely never will become a mix tape dynamo because that's not his style, but he's a talented, steady prospect who will continue to exist in high-major space.