Celtics rookie James Young knows he has a lot to learn in his first season, but he’d rather his classroom be the bench in Boston than the court in Portland, Maine. When asked if he’d welcome the possibility of playing 30 minutes a game for the Maine Red Claws — the C’s NBA Developmental League affiliate — Young was less than enthused.

“Definitely not,” Young said from the Celtics media day in Waltham on Monday, adding, “If it happens, it happens, but I just want to stay here and get better like that.”

While Maine may not be the most tantalizing of destinations for the first-round pick from Kentucky, it may be he best opportunity to develop his skills. Young is only 19 years old and given the number of swingmen the Celtics have on the roster, it’€™s difficult to imagine him getting a lot of playing time early in the season.

Young will look to impress coaches during training camp and preseason, but if he’s unable to prove that he’s NBA ready, it’€™s likely he’ll quickly become familiar with America’€™s Vacationland.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Rajon Rondo is his own worst critic, which is saying something. (Getty Images)



BEN ROHRBACH

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The Celtics have yet to name a temporary starting point guard while Rajon Rondo heals from a broken left hand that he suffered on Thursday. In all likelihood it will be Phil Pressey, who had experience in that role last year when Rondo missed time with a torn ACL. But it’s still too early to eliminate Marcus Smart’s name from the conversation.

Brad Stevens most likely will try multiple options during the preseason before deciding on his opening night starter. Whether it’s Pressey, Smart or even Evan Turner who steps into the role, we do know that we will be seeing more of Smart sharing the backcourt with Avery Bradley early in the season — a scary thing for opposing guards.

“First off, he’s a really good kid off the court,” Bradley offered on Smart. “He comes in every single day and works hard … and these were workouts that weren’t mandatory. He’s an amazing defender; he can really run a team. He’s a very good player, I’m excited to get a chance to play on the same court with him.”

Asked if he had thought about playing defense alongside Smart, Bradley said: “No, I haven’t pictured it. But a lot of people make jokes and say, ‘Man, I would hate to play on the opposite team against you and Marcus. Bringing the ball up the court and you guys taking turns picking people off full court.’

“It’s definitely cool to know that people are already nervous to play against me and Marcus on the same team on the court together. I’m excited, like I said, to get a chance to play with him and for us to be able to learn from each other.”

Smart was happy to hear Bradley’s comments.

“It means a lot,” he said. “Nobody wants to be known as not a hard worker or somebody that doesn’t work at all. You want to have that reputation of working hard and it’s just a sign of respect that that’s what people think of me.”

Added Smart: “Right now, yes, Rondo is out. And this team has taken a hit from that. I’m just going to come in and work my tail off just like if he was here. I’m going to embrace it.”

Although Smart never mentioned taking on the starting point guard role, he seemed very motivated to make good on the extra minutes he is sure to receive one way or another during Rondo’s absence. If there’s one positive to Rondo missing time from a fan’s perspective, getting to watch Bradley and Smart spend extra time hounding opposing backcourts is certainly going to be it.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner officially became teammates for the first time on Monday when Turner finally inked a two-year contract that made him a member of the Celtics. It’s been a long time coming, however, and the two are excited to finally share the floor while wearing the same uniform.

While Sullinger was a freshman standout at Ohio State, it’s often forgotten that Turner would have been a senior on that team had he not left the Buckeyes a season early to enter the NBA draft. Despite never having the chance to team up in Columbus, the two are old friends that often work out together at Ohio State in the offseason.

At Celtics media day on Monday, Sullinger was asked whom he thought the best former Buckeye on the team was, and his answer was somewhat surprising.

“You have to give it to Evan, just because he won national player of the year,” Sullinger humbly proclaimed. “But I also went further than him in the tournament. He did three [years] and I did two, let’s just put it that way,” Sullinger added with a smile.

Sullinger then offered his opinion on what we can expect now that he is teammates with Turner.

“He brings a multidimensional-type player. Honestly, he’s a great basketball player,” Sullinger offered. “He can do a lot of things, he can play the point [guard], play two [guard], play three [small forward]. I think in the NBA you have to have multiple guys that play multiple positions in order for a team to win, and I think Evan brings that.”

Sullinger was asked if he played any role in influencing Danny Ainge to bring Turner to Boston or if he had offered any type of scouting report on his fellow Buckeye.

“No, you pretty much know the scouting report on Evan, everybody does,” Sullinger responded. “If you go one year through the NBA, playing a lot of minutes, I think from the owners down everybody knows your scouting report and what type of player you are.”

When asked why he thinks he will fit well in Boston, Turner was quick to mention that he has known Sullinger for years and that it was something that made him feel comfortable here. However, much of the focus on Turner was regarding him being the No. 2 overall pick just four years ago and the expectations that go along with that.

“Too much is given, much is expected, which is the way of life,” Turner said about living up to his draft stock. “One thing I always have to say is that I’m going to get better every year. Look at each past year and the year before and I feel like I’ve made jumps.”

Turner said his adjustment to the Celtics will be much easier since he will be starting the season in Boston rather than what he went through in being traded during the season in 2013-14, going from the 76ers to the Pacers.

“Joining a team midseason, my eyes were kind of wide open,” Turner explained. “I tried to learn on the fly, tired to get a rhythm on the fly, that was a big turn for me. I tried my best to fit in and do what I possibly could to contribute to the squad.”

But when speaking on getting familiar with the pieces in place in Boston, Turner was much more optimistic.

“I’ve played pickup with these guys a few times and I’m decently familiar,” Turner said. “Coach [Brad] Stevens and I speak a lot on system and stuff and make sure I’m familiar and that’s pretty much it.”

Added Turner with a smile: “That’s what training camp’s for, right?”

Turner, Sullinger and the Celtics will begin training camp on Tuesday at the team’s practice facility in Waltham.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo confirmed that he suffered his broken left metatarsal injury in the shower at his home during his Media

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo confirmed that he suffered his broken left metatarsal injury in the shower at his home during his Media Day interview.

“Usually, how falls happen, you slip, and I slipped and tried to catch my hand,” said Rondo. “€œIt wasn’€™t like a banana slip. I actually almost caught myself and landed on my knuckle on the windowsill at my home. So, that’€™s how it happened.”

In the team’€™s press release on Friday, the Celtics estimated Rondo’€™s recovery timeframe at 6-8 weeks, and Rondo hopes it could be closer to the lower number.

“They’€™re telling me 10 weeks, some doctors say 8, but since Dr. McKeon claims to be the best surgeon, he thinks I’€™ll be back pretty quickly,” he said, especially since the injury occurred to his non-shooting hand.

Pressed further on the injury, Rondo responded in wonderful Rondo fashion to the rumors that he broke the bone in his hand at a trampoline park.

“On Tuesday, I took my daughter to a trampoline park on Tuesday, and I did jump,” he said. “I learned some new tricks with my daughter. It was a lot of fun.

“Wednesday was her birthday. I went to the Lion King with my daughter. I spent the day playing a softball game with a team, which we won. I scored about three runs. I didn’€™t back like I was supposed to. We didn’€™t play at a softball field; I couldn’€™t hit out of the park. I made a couple top-10 catches and a one-hand grab and throw-out at first base that was really good. I impressed myself with that.

“Thursday came, and I took my kids back to a trampoline park in Billerica. I didn’€™t jump that day. I just let my kids play and run off some steam. It was a school night, so I wanted to go for about 45 minutes. People were really nice there. They let me in for free, so that was good. And that night, I went home, and that’€™s when the incident happened, so it didn’€™t happen at the trampoline place.”

Here are a few other quick-hitting items from Rondo’s media session.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

He’s a Wizard now.

Apparently, Kevin Garnett wasn’t kidding when he said in January, “I think we’€™ll always bleed green as long as we’€™re playing basketball and as long as we’€™re living. Even when they bury us six feet, this is what it’€™s gonna be.”

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Soon after the Celtics announced point guard Rajon Rondo broke a metacarpal in his left hand during a fall at his home Thursday — reportedly in the shower R

Soon after the Celtics announced point guard Rajon Rondo broke a metacarpal in his left hand during a fall at his home Thursday — reportedly in the shower — and will miss 6-8 weeks of the season following surgery, Barstool Sports published a photo of Rondo at Billerica’s Altitude Trampoline Park the same day, fueling wild speculation.

Over the weekend, a pair of Altitude employees denied on Twitter any knowledge of the injury taking place at the business. “He sat and watched his kids jump,” said the employee who appeared in the photo with Rondo.

And on Monday, Altitude co-owner Kerry Hughes issued the following statement to WEEI: “In regards to Rajon Rondo‘s visit to Altitude in Billerica on Thursday the only comment we have is that he was here with his children and his children were the only members of his party that enjoyed jumping, climbing and our battle beam pit. He did not attract much attention as he only sat on a couch and watched his children enjoy our park’s activities. He appreciated our professional staff and allowed a few pictures to be taken. He left with no injuries or incident.”

Unless Rondo quietly broke his hand sitting on a couch, there’s no reason to distrust the shower theory — one the Celtics stood behind soon after Barstool posted the photo. Carry on, folks.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

The Celtics are coming off of their worst season since 2006-07. Despite high expectations this offseason, the team is entering 2014-15 with a similar roster to last season, which comes with similar expectations. However, Brad Stevens will be in his second season as coach, Rajon Rondo will begin the season healthy should play most of the season and Danny Ainge has added some new, young talent. But it’€™s still clear that the Celtics are entering yet another rebuilding season, leaving us with some major questions. We’€™ll try to find some answers in this five-part series called Rebuild Spotlight.

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

When a team has a season like the 2013-14 Celtics did, much of the conversation amongst fans shifts from the play on the court to the potential that the future holds. We’€™re all guilty of it. Talking about who Boston’€™s next star could be is just more appealing than discussing why the C’€™s couldn’t get it done that game, again.

The problem is, those hopes and dreams rarely come true, as was the case this offseason. It started with the idea of winning the draft lottery, which would allow the Celtics to get their hands on either of the top prospects — Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. When that didn’t happen, the focus moved to trading for a star like Kevin Love. What actually happened wasn’t the flashiest move, but Ainge made the most of his opportunity selecting at No. 6 and 17 overall.

Many believe the Celtics selected the best available player with both of their first-round picks — Marcus Smart and James Young. The rookies came to the Celtics with completely different expectations for the upcoming season, but both figure to play huge roles Boston’€™s long-term success.

Here’€™s what they were able to accomplish statistically in their college careers at Oklahoma State and Kentucky, respectively:

Smart: 2012-13 as a freshman: 15.4 ppg (40.4 FG%, 29.0 3P%, 77.7 FT%), 5.8 rpg, 4.2 apg, 3.0 spg, 33.5 minutes in 33 games

2013-14 as a sophomore: 18.0 ppg (42.2 FG%, 29.9 3P%, 72.8 FT%), 5.9 rpg, 4.8 apg, 2.9 spg, 32.7 minutes in 31 games

Smart didn’t quite make the jump that he was expected going into his sophomore season, but he did show improvement. He shot the ball a little bit better and proved to be as versatile as any player in the 2014 draft. Smart upped his scoring in slightly fewer minutes by attacking the basket more, while maintaining highly productive numbers in rebounds, assists and steals.

Young: 2013-14 as a freshman: 14.3 ppg (40.7 FG%, 34.9 3P%, 70.6 FT%), 4.3 rpg, 1.7 apg, 0.8 spg, 32.4 minutes in 40 games

Young played a lot of games considering he helped carry a youthful Kentucky team all the way to the NCAA championship game. Obviously, on a roster stocked with McDonald’€™s All-Americans, shots can be limited at times. But Young seemed to be the player that John Calipari gave the ball to when the Wildcats needed a bucket. Young is a fantastic scorer, but he arrives as a much more raw talent than Smart (Young just turned 19 in August). Despite not being able to contribute immediately, Young was thought of as a lottery pick much of the season and a top-10 pick in 2015 had he chosen to return to Kentucky for another season.

Smart has some of the highest expectations of all rookies this season, despite joining a crowded backcourt. Already deemed to be the next great perimeter defender, Smart is going to have to earn his minutes playing behind Rajon Rondo (when he returns from his broken left hand) and Avery Bradley. Combine Smart’€™s talent with his physical abilities and there is no chance that Brad Stevens can deny him a major role in Boston’€™s rotation, especially if Rondo ends up missing any serious time.

But can Smart be a serious contributor in just his first season? Absolutely.

Much like Kelly Olynyk last season, minutes as well as production could be inconsistent to begin with for Smart. But Olynyk really flourished after the All-Star break, and I expect that breakout to occur even earlier for Smart. It’€™s not out of the question to think Smart can play over 25 minutes per game while averaging in double figures and providing lockdown defense. Failing to become a first-team All-Rookie would be a disappointing debut season for Smart. Big things are in his future and they start right away.

Young projects to be a good player in the league as well, but unlike Smart, expecting any kind of contribution from him this season would be foolish for a couple of easons. For starters, as mentioned, the backcourt is packed. Smart has the skill set and body type to crack the rotation; Young does not. Guys like Marcus Thornton and Evan Turner will be much more attractive options off the bench for Stevens, especially early on in the season.

Being patient could be a very good thing for Young, though. Frankly, he is not yet ready to play consistent minutes in the NBA. It would have been nice for his preparation had Young been able to play in the Orlando summer league, but injury prevented him from doing so. All of these factors point to Young being a perfect candidate to take his talents to the D-League. It’€™s similar to a top prospect in baseball; Young’€™s options are to ride then bench in Boston, or play major minutes in Maine for the Red Claws. One of those options presents much more upside at age 19: playing time.

Young would be a star in the D-League and ideally get a huge confidence boost while playing 35-plus minutes on a nightly basis. Of course if Boston has another disappointing season, which is likely, Young could gain some NBA experience later in the season when the games carry less meaning.

Ainge could very well pull the trigger on a deal that would force Young to suit up for the Celtics at any time. But if all goes to plan, it seems likely the team will try to bring Young along slowly, while letting Smart off the leash right out of the gates, especially following the news of Rondo’€™s injury.

Check out the full rebuild spotlight series here:

Rebuild Spotlight: What to expect from Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller

Rebuild Spotlight: What to expect from Brad Stevens 

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow