WALTHAM, Mass. — Thursday was Day 2 of life in the NBA for the Boston Celtics’ rookie class, as the team’s summer league squad held its second round of two-a-days.
With the opening game of the Utah summer circuit just four days away, the sessions thus far have been heavy on instruction.
“We’re trying to adapt them to the culture that Coach (Brad) Stevens has established with the Celtics,” assistant coach Jay Larranaga said, “and that’s defensive-first mentality. It’s a team-first mentality. So, everything we’re doing is reinforcing that, is demonstrating to them, ‘This is how we do things here.’ And to their credit, they’ve been great.”
One player with prior knowledge of Boston’s system is point guard Marcus Smart, who is participating in summer league for a second time despite having earned a spot on the NBA’s All-Rookie second team this past season. He and big man Colton Iverson are the only holdovers from last summer’s squad.
“The biggest thing (about the rookies) is they’re coachable,” Smart said. “Coach Jay Larranaga, he’s in and out coaching us up, and they’re really taking it in and absorbing it like a sponge. And they’re willing and they want to get better, so they’re listening to everything, and they’re trying to do everything that they can to make sure they’ve got everything down. That’s a good thing to have on a team, especially coming in as a rookie. I tried to do that my rookie season, so they’re on the right path.”
Some additional notes from Thursday’s practice:
— Smart said he’s been impressed thus far with the play of Celtics top pick Terry Rozier, a fellow point guard with a comparable skill set.
“Just his athleticism and his competitive nature,” Smart said. “I can definitely see why the Celtics picked him up. He’s a competitive guy, and he competes every day. That’s a good person to go up against every day in practice. That’s a good person to have on your team.”
This didn’t exactly come as a surprise to Smart, who was on hand for Rozier’s pre-draft workouts here.
“I was there,” he said. “I saw it. He did very well. He was getting to the rim and was imposing his will on the other players on the defensive end. He was pushing the ball. He was definitely showing the things that he showed in college.”
— Rozier, the 16th pick in last week’s NBA draft, often had trouble finding competition in those pre-draft visits, as some agents reportedly would not send their clients to workouts they knew the Louisville product also was attending. He’s excited for his chance to face those players this summer.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” Rozier said. “I’ve been looking forward to this (since) before draft workouts, actually, because there’s a lot of guards I’ve been wanting to go up against that I couldn’t catch in the draft workouts.
“… It was tough. I was trying to tell the coaches, ‘Make sure I get in with them, make sure you schedule somebody to get in with me.’ But hey, it seemed like the Celtics figured it out. The guys who didn’t want to work out against me, I got picked higher than a lot of (them). But at this point, I’m not, ‘Who got picked where?’ Because now you’ve got to prove yourself and show what you can do in this league.”
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@tvabby