The results of the Summer League are largely inconsequential. For first round draft picks, they might serve as a brief showcase for a team’s fans of what’s to come in the fall. A good performance might be the difference between a two-way spot or a slot in the 15-man roster for a second rounder or an undrafted rookie. However, the games don’t really matter. They might be the only wins and losses that don’t matter on the Las Vegas Strip.
But once in a while, a player can have a moment. It may not be a moment in the grand scheme of their career, but it could shine a light on what the Summer League means to so many basketball hopefuls: a chance.
On Monday night, down a point to the Bucks with 6.3 seconds to go, Matt Ryan dribbled the length of the court and banked in a buzzer beater for Boston’s first win in the desert. He tweaked his ankle in the process, but that didn’t matter. His game winner was the cherry on the sundae of a shooting spectacle. Ryan finished with 23 points and two steals, including six 3-pointers.
More so, it’s just further affirmation of how far he’s come in his young career:
: @ASherrodblakely asked Matt Ryan about how it feels to see his hard work starting to pay off.
He got choked up a bit while reflecting on the fact that a year ago he was driving for Door Dash and know he’s on a Celtics roster pic.twitter.com/GBRk9ya2rQ
— . (@KwaniALunis) July 12, 2022
“It’s pretty emotional. It’s been a crazy couple of months,” Ryan said fighting off tears. “I was home for a year and a half. I don’t know if you guys have heard my story, but I was driving DoorDash a year ago. To be here, to be part of the Boston Celtics is special.”
Check out MassLive’s Souichi Terada’s piece on Ryan’s remarkable story from his pro career being put on hold because of the pandemic, delivering food to make ends meet, and repping the Celtics in The Finals last month. Here’s a snippet:
…Ryan turned to delivering food around his hometown through DoorDash. That was life for the 25-year-old: Long before he was with the Celtics on a two-way contract, he was just trying to keep his basketball career afloat. Now he’s onto the NBA Finals, the greatest stage in basketball.
“It’s been like a movie,” Ryan told MassLive before the Celtics’ practice Wednesday. “The whole past year for me pretty much has been a movie. A year ago, I was driving DoorDash and working outside at a cemetery. Now, I’m in the NBA Finals.”
For now, Ryan does not have a team for next season. The Celtics still have another two-way spot to fill and it’s possible that Ryan — second in threes made in the G-League last year — could again shuttle between Maine and Boston.