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Irish Coffee: Celtics rookie Marcus Smart isn’t ready to start and other things we learned from Rajon Rondo’s China tour 08.27.14 at 1:55 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo is in the midst of his annual trip to China, which means more exchanges between the Celtics point guard and a media contingent that probably understands his dry humor better than Boston’s. Take this, for example.

  • Hoop China: “Who’s the next Rajon Rondo?”
  • Rondo: “Nobody.”
  • Hoop China: Straight face.
  • Rondo: “Nobody.”
  • Hoop China: Smiles all around.

The folks at Red’s Army deserve an award for keeping up with the four-time NBA All-Star’s Anta tour, and fan extraordinaire @KWAPT has more Chinese sources than the CIA. For the most part, Rondo provided the same stock answers we’ve grown accustomed to — “My leadership role has grown each year” and Kevin Garnett‘s “like a big brother to me” — but his answer to a question about whether Marcus Smart could start in the backcourt this season provided some insight into his feelings about the Celtics drafting another guard with the No. 6 overall pick.

“No,” Rondo said flatly. “He’ll play a lot of minutes, but starting as a rookie at the guard position is probably impossible or one of the toughest things you can do. Only so many guards have done it in the past, especially playing at that high level, but he’ll be ready. He’ll come in ready. He seems pretty humble, and we’ll get to work.”

Avery Bradley is probably Rondo’s closest confidant on the team, so it should come as no surprise he knocked Smart down a notch, but his response also suggests he fully expects to start the season on the Celtics. Still, the roster’s youth with the additions of Smart and James Young seems to be a sticking point for Rondo.

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Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, James Young, Marcus Smart
Irish Coffee: James Young’s love of cheeseburgers, other things we learned from Celtics rookie photo shoot 08.04.14 at 11:07 am ET
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New Celtics Marcus Smart and James Young participated in the NBA’s rookie photo shoot over the weekend and neither of them collapsed into a folding chair a la Fab Melo, so there’s hope for them yet.

Once you’ve digested the photos above courtesy of the league’s various social media channels, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from Smart and Young’s contributions to the rookie class AMA on Reddit.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, James Young, Marcus Smart, NBA
Terrible turnaround: C’s up big early, lose bigger to Pacers, James Young sits out again 07.07.14 at 9:27 pm ET
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A great start turned into a big learning experience for the young Celtics in a Summer League lesson handed out by the Pacers Monday in Orlando.

The Green went up by 18 points early against the Pacers in their second game of Summer League action on Monday. Then they got absolutely throttled by Indiana. Boston ended up losing the game by 19 points, 96-77.

The 37-point turnaround was as ugly as it sounds. The Celtics shot a mere 34.3 percent (24-for-70) from the field, and only 25.9 percent (7-for-27) from beyond the arc.

Basketball is a game of runs. The Celtics never responded to the Pacers’€™ run, which seemingly lasted three quarters.

‘€œThat response has to happen on the defensive end of the court,’€ Summer League head coach Jay Larranaga told reporters. ‘€œWe were late on everything and we fouled too much.’€

Kelly Olynyk led the team in scoring for the second straight game with 15 points (5-for-13 shooting) to go along with six rebounds and four assists. Meanwhile, Marcus Smart ‘€“ the No. 6 overall pick in the draft ‘€“ had another shaky game. Smart shot just 3-for-15 from the field, finishing with 11 points in 27 minutes.

Shooting remains a huge concern for Smart. But he was also unable to fill out the stat sheet like he did on Saturday against the Heat. Smart only had three boards, four assists and a steal to follow-up his debut.

Smart looked lost at times, settling for bad shots while looking less energetic on the defensive side of the ball (although, the same can be said about the entire team during the last three quarters).

James Young sat out yet again with a neck injury from a June car accident. His status is still up in the air as to whether or not he will play in Summer League.

Willie Reed led the way for the Pacers. He scored 18 points (8-for-12) while adding six rebounds, three assists and blocking four shots. It’€™s just Summer League, but if Willie Reed is drawing comparisons to Willis Reed, it’€™s not a good thing.

The Celtics will look to bounce back on Wednesday against the Pistons at 7 P.M.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow

Read More: Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, James Young, Kelly Olynyk
Celtics being ‘very, very smart’ with James Young as they leave for Orlando 07.03.14 at 3:27 pm ET
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WALTHAM –€“ The Celtics held their final practice in Waltham on Thursday before heading down to Orlando for the Summer League.

With such a young roster that includes two big name rookies, the Summer League is going to carry significantly more weight for Boston than in past years. Marcus Smart is considered the most exciting talent that everyone is expected have their eyes on. Smart is just excited to get his first taste of the NBA; even if it’€™s just Summer League action.

“€œIt’€™s still going to be a big deal because it is my first game,” Smart told media members before practice started.

Smart expects his Celtics squad to fare well when they take the court at the Amway Center practice floor in Orlando.

“€œActually, we’€™ve come pretty far,”€ said Smart of his team’€™s progress over the last three days. “€œ[We'€™ve] got all these new guys in, [Coach Jay Larranaga is] putting in some new plays, trying to learn some things and playing with different type of style. We’€™ve come a long way.”

We know Smart is ready to begin polishing his game in Orlando before his first season as a professional begins, however, fellow rookie James Young is in a different boat. Young is still recovering from a neck injury suffered in a June car accident.

“€œI haven’€™t heard from Ed [Lacerte], or Danny [Ainge] or Brad [Stevens] on what the plan is for James,” Larranaga told reporters.

Young’€™s status, in terms of playing in Orlando, sounds as if it’€™s up in the air at the moment.

“€œHe did some more stuff yesterday as far as non-contact on the bike,”€ Stevens added on Young. “€œI think he’€™ll be continuing to do some of that stuff today, but I haven’€™t been given a timeline on it. And, obviously, he was in the car accident a couple weeks ago. It’€™s Summer League, we want to be very, very smart about this with him. He’€™s anxious to play, he’€™s antsy, he wants to [play]. But at the same time, I want to be cognizant of the big picture here.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, James Young, Jay Larranaga
James Young (neck) sits out again at Celtics rookie practice 07.02.14 at 1:57 pm ET
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WALTHAM — It appears more likely that first-round draft pick James Young won’t be making his Celtics summer debut this weekend in Orlando as he recovers from a neck injury sustained in a car accident in early June.

Young did not take part in the Wednesday morning session at the club’s practice facility, the third straight absence as the team plays it cautious with the 18-year-old swingman.

“James observed practice, did the stationary bike a little bit and just watched and participated from the sidelines,” said assistant coach Jay Larranaga, who will be coaching the Celtics‘ summer league team for five games starting this Saturday in Orlando.

As was the case Tuesday, when the rookie missed both workout sessions, Larranaga deferred all questions about his availability to head coach Brad Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, neither of whom spoke to the media on Wednesday.

The car accident forced Young to miss several pre-draft workouts for teams leading up to the June 26 draft. There is a belief that uncertainty about Young’s medical status and his inability to work out allowed him to fall to No. 17, where the Celtics selected the former Kentucky Wildcats star.

In other news, the Celtics may alter their two-a-day regiment on Thursday due to Hurricane Arthur making its way up the Atlantic seaboard. Many team officials were going to leave Friday the Fourth but instead may opt to beat the storm down to Florida and have a workout in Orlando prior to Summer League opening on Saturday against Oklahoma City.

Read More: Boston Celtics, James Young, Jay Larranaga, NBA
Marcus Smart, James Young highlight Celtics summer league roster 07.01.14 at 4:10 pm ET
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The Celtics began their two-a-day workouts Tuesday, leading up to Saturday’s opener of the Orlando Pro Summer League in central Florida.

On Tuesday, the team announced the roster that will take part and released the five-game schedule.

First round picks Marcus Smart and James Young will join current Celtics Kelly Olynyk, Phil Pressey, Chris Johnson and Chris Babb as members of the Celtics entrant to the 2014 Orlando Pro Summer League. They are joined on the roster by 2013 Celtics draft pick Colton Iverson, European veterans O.D. Anosike, Dairis Bertans, Edwin Jackson and rookie free agents Mike Moser, Devin Oliver and Daniel Coursey.

The team will be coached by assistant coach Jay Larranaga, a routine procedure in summer league as GM Danny Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens sit back and observe.

The Celtics’€™ first game will be Saturday at 11 a.m. when they take on the Heat. The Celtics’€™ five-game schedule in Orlando continues with matchups against the Pacers on Monday at 3 p.m., the Pistons on July 9 at 7 p.m., and the Magic on July 10 at 5:00 p.m.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, James Young, Jay Larranaga, Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart: ‘We embrace these banners’ 06.30.14 at 5:54 pm ET
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WALTHAM — It was a day for coronation.

Two would-be cornerstones of Boston’s basketball future – Marcus Smart and James Young – were formally indoctrinated publicly into the Celtics mystique on a six-seat dais on the team’s practice facility court. In five days they head out for the NBA Summer League in Orlando on their first basketball excursion as formal members of the most hallowed team in the NBA.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, co-owner Steve Pagliuca, head coach Brad Stevens and team president Rich Gotham introduced first-round picks Smart and Young on Monday at the club’s training facility on Monday, three days after they were chosen sixth and 17th overall, respectively, last Thursday in the NBA draft.

“We’re just excited to be here,” Smart said. “We embrace these banners. It means a lot to us, the tradition that’s here. We just want to go out and play our game and just feel part of this tradition and embrace it all.”

“Really just come out here and do what we did to get to this point,” added Young. “The empty banner up there, just look at it as motivation, that’s about it.”

As was the case before the team won the 2008 NBA title, there is a blank white banner with green trim next to the team’s last NBA title banner up on the wall in the practice facility.

Family members of both draft picks were on hand and formally welcomed by Ainge during the 15-minute press conference at the Sports Authority complex in Waltham.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, James Young
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