|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|
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.
|Marcus Smart is the Leonardo of NBA rookies||08.05.14 at 11:21 am ET|
If nothing else, the Celtics appear to have the league’s most likable rookie in Marcus Smart. (Unless, of course, you’re a Texas Tech fan.) He conducted a scavenger hunt for SportsNation during the NBA’s Rookie Photo Shoot, and the results are fairly hilarious. Let’s take a moment to appreciate a few of the highlights.
- The pantsing of Oklahoma State teammate Markel Brown wasn’t bad, although that’s old hat to Celtics fans, since Ron Artest once pantsed Paul Pierce during a game.
- I just like the idea of eating snacks with Shabazz Napier. That should be its own show.
- Smart held his own in that arm wrestling contest with Mitch McGary for a bit.
- The forehead alley-oop to James Young proves Smart is already learning from Rajon Rondo.
- If I’m breaking down the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles powwow, Smart is Leonardo, since he’s leading this entire operation, Adreian Payne is Donatello (does machines), Gary Harris is Raphael (cool but crude) and Cleanthony Early is Michaelangelo (party dude). This isn’t up for debate.
|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|
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.
|Celtics drop Orlando Summer League finale to Pacers||07.11.14 at 12:14 pm ET|
Despite the efforts of Celtics summer league standouts Kelly Olynyk and Marcus Smart, the Pacers rode an 11-0 run down the stretch to capture the fourth-place game in Orlando, 95-86.
Olynyk and Smart led the C’s scoring effort with 20 and 19 points, respectively, despite shooting a combined 13-of-37 from the field. Entering the game making just 28.0 percent of his field goal attempts (19.2 3P%), Smart finished 6-of-18 in the loss, but converted 4-of-9 3-pointers in an encouraging effort.
Phil Pressey (12 points, 13 assists), Mike Moser (16 points, 10 rebounds) and O.D. Anosike (13 points, 10 rebounds) added double-doubles in defeat. Chris Johnson and Chris Babb finished a combined 1-for-11.
Donald Sloan led Indiana with 20 points and 10 assists, helping the Pacers transform an 82-81 edge into a commanding 93-81 lead.
The Celtics finished 3-2 in the Orlando Summer League.
|Marcus Smart shows promise in another summer league victory||07.10.14 at 7:52 pm ET|
The Celtics improved their record to 3-1 in the Orlando Summer League with a 76-67 victory over the Magic on Thursday evening.
Boston got the win without its top scorer, Kelly Olynyk, who took the day to rest. Other lineup changes included shifting Phil Pressey to the bench, which meant No. 6 overall pick Marcus Smart received his first start at point guard.
The rookie responded fairly well, putting up a game-high 19 points, but his shooting struggles continued. While Smart shot 5-for-14 from the field overall (7-for-8 at the free throw line), 3-point shooting was his downfall.
The Oklahoma State product was just 2-for-9 from downtown (the two baskets came on back-to-back possessions late in the game while it was tight). Clearly, shooting is still an area that Smart needs to improve — although he did convert on 3-of-5 attempts inside the arc, something he should look to do more.
Smart finished with five assists, three rebounds and a steal to go with his 19 points in 30 minutes of action.
Meanwhile, the transition to coming off the bench was not kind to Pressey. He shot an atrocious 1-for-15 on field goals, only converting an early layup. Nothing would go down all game for the crafty point guard. Pressey totaled just five points along with five boards and three helpers. It will be interesting to see how coach Jay Larranaga chooses to use Pressey next game.
The Magic were led by Seth Curry, who scored 15 points off the bench on a barrage of 3-pointers. While Victor Oladipo rested, all eyes were on Orlando’s rookies to carry the team.
Aaron Gordon scored seven points while collecting eight rebounds, but it was Elfrid Payton who was the better rookie on this day. Payton flirted with a triple-double, going for a Rondo-esque eight points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.
The Celtics will play in the third-place game on Friday morning at 10 a.m. They will face either the Pistons or Grizzlies (determined by late Thursday night games). It will be Boston’s final game in Orlando before heading west for the Las Vegas Summer League.
Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow
Celtics guard Dairis Bertans was expected to be OK after having a CT scan following a head-on collision with the stanchion under the basket during Wednesday’s summer league game in Orlando.
Bertans was on a fast break late in the third quarter of the Celtics‘ 92-90 win over the Pistons when he was fouled by one player, hit on the back of the head by another, and knocked into the padded basket support. He gave a thumbs-up after being strapped to a stretcher and taken to the hospital for tests.
“It looked bad. Especially from my angle I knew it was bad,” teammate Marcus Smart said. “He tried to catch himself but it was a little too late for him. They said he’s going to be all right, though. He had a little neck pain, we just didn’t want to take a risk with those. He’s going to be all right, and we’re just going to pray for him.”
The 24-year-old Latvian shooting guard was having a good game, hitting 3-of-5 shots, including a 3-pointer.
“It was sad to see him get hurt because he was playing so well,” teammate Phil Pressey said. “He’s been playing so well this whole summer league. Prayers to him.”
As for the game, the Cetlics closed out the third quarter on a 20-7 run and then held off the Pistons, who closed the game on an 11-3 run over the final two minutes. Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scored a game-high 26 points, missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Kelly Olynyk led a balanced Boston attack with 16 points and nine rebounds. Smart had 14 points (albeit on 4-of-13 shooting, including 2-of-7 from behind the arc), six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Backcourt mate Phil Pressey also scored 14 points, on 6-of-10 shooting.
The Celtics play the Magic on Thursday at 5 p.m.
|Terrible turnaround: C’s up big early, lose bigger to Pacers, James Young sits out again||07.07.14 at 9:27 pm ET|
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.
‘That response has to happen on the defensive end of the court,’ Summer League head coach Jay Larranaga told reporters. ‘We 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