Joseph embracing trip to D-League

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Joseph embracing trip to D-League

BOSTON When Kris Joseph got the news that the Boston Celtics were sending him to the D-League, he could not have been any happier.

While he has enjoyed his time with the Boston Celtics, he knew that there was little to no chance that he would play soon.

And so the idea of being in the D-League will allow him to do exactly what the league's about - developing his game.

Joseph's first D-League action with the Maine Red Claws came in Friday night's 123-115 win at Canton.

The 6-foot-7 rookie had a game-high 28 points and eight rebounds in rallying the Red Claws (1-0) from a double-digit deficit. Boston's first-round pick Fab Melo had two points and a game-high four blocked shots.

Being a first-round pick, Melo's status is a bit more secure than that of Joseph who was selected by the C's in the second round of last June's NBA draft.

So for him, many of the players that he will face in the D-League are in a lot of ways similar to him in that they too are fighting to prove they are indeed worthy of being in the NBA.

Performances like the one he put on Friday serve as just another example of the promise that the C's see in him.

And for Joseph, the transition from the NBA to the D-League so far has been relatively smooth.

"For one, they're running a lot of the same plays if not all the same plays that we ran up (in Boston)," Joseph told CSNNE.com. "So I was already ahead of everybody. That helped me a lot, knowing the plays and knowing my spots. Me playing with these guys and knowing what level of intensity you have to play with helped me down there, too."

To see him get off to an impressive start with the Red Claws isn't all that surprising.

While with the Celtics, Joseph was often the first to arrive on game day. He would spend time with assistant coaches working on shot, doing various ball-handling drills along with an assortment of other game-related tasks.

It was one of those things that did not go unnoticed by his teammates.

"That's it right there," C's veteran Brandon Bass told CSNNE.com recently. "That's what it takes to be in this league; you have to keep working on your game, trying to get better. He's young, but he gets it. That's good for him; good for us, too."

But there's only so much growth and development that can come about by getting shots up prior to games and after practice.

Eventually, those skills have to manifest themselves in real games which is why the D-League is so important to Joseph.

"They (Celtics) don't want me to just be sitting around," Joseph said. "Me, neither. I want to play; that's how you really get better. I know playing behind Paul Pierce and Jeff Green, there's just not going to be much of an opportunity for me to play right now. That doesn't mean I can't get any better. That's what the D-League is for me; a chance to keep working on my game, keep improving so that when that opportunity does come, I'll be ready."

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Chris Sale brings with him to Boston some attitude. He also brings a measure of defiance and, perhaps, a little bit of crazy.

All of which the Red Sox starting staff just may need. And if Sale pitches as he has for much of the past five years, he'll probably be celebrated for it.

I still wonder how it will all play here, especially if he underachieves.

What would we do to him locally if he refused to pitch because he didn't like a certain kind of uniform variation the team was going with? What would we say if he not only refused to pitch, but took a knife to his teammates' uniforms and the team had to scrap the promotion? Sale did exactly that in Chicago last year, after which he threw his manager under the bus for not standing by his players and attacked the team for putting business ahead of winning.

All because he didn't want to wear an untucked jersey?

"(The White Sox throwback uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox,'' said Sale at the time. "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it.''

Wearing a throwback jersey would alter his mechanics? Was that a joke? It's hard to imagine he would get away with that in Boston.

Ditto for his support of Adam LaRoche and his involvement of that goofy story last March.
 
LaRoche, you'll remember, retired when the White Sox had the nerve to tell him that his 14-year-old son could not spend as much time around the team as he had grown accustomed to. Sale responded by pitching a fit.

“We got bald-face lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust,'' said Sale of team president Kenny Williams. ``You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and then tell the coaches it was the players, and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

On what planet does allowing a 14-year-old kid in a clubhouse have anything to do with winning a title? In what universe does a throwback jersey have anything to do with mechanics? If David Price had said things that stupid last year, he'd still be hearing about it. And it won't be any different for Sale.

Thankfully, Sale's defiance and feistiness extends to the mound. Sale isn't afraid to pitch inside and protect his teammates, leading the American League in hit batsmen each of the last two years. He doesn't back down and loves a fight. And while that makes him sound a little goofy off the field, it should play well on it.

In the meantime, the Sox better hope he likes those red alternate jerseys they wear on Fridays.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast appears daily on CSN.