Celtics Question of the Day: Of guys with non-guaranteed deals, who will stick?

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Celtics Question of the Day: Of guys with non-guaranteed deals, who will stick?

Everyone loves an underdog, especially in the NBA when they seemingly come out of nowhere and wow us with their hustle, heart and effort.

Guys in training camp with non-guaranteed contracts, regardless of how impeccable their college pedigree might be, fall into this category.

Even with the roster shuffling the Boston Celtics went through on Thursday which included Darko Milicic agreeing to a one-year, 1.3 million deal and Keyon Dooling retiring, the C's still have a couple roster spots open.

So who's going to get 'em?

Training camp will sort this out obviously.

But among the five players in camp with non-guaranteed contracts - Dionte Christmas; Micah Downs; Rob Kurz; Kris Joseph and Jamar Smith - there appears to be a clear-cut favorite.

That would be Dionte Christmas.

For starters, he was arguably the C's most complete player this summer which in itself earned him an invite to training camp.

Maybe just as significant as his play, was his willingness to pass on a bigger payday in Europe to instead fight for a roster spot.

The C's made it worthwhile for him by giving him a partially guaranteed contract that's worth about half of the rookie minimum salary.

But what's really helping him now is the fact that he showcase an all-around game instead sticking to what he has done best throughout his career which is score.

A close second to him among the non-guaranteed contract guys is second-round pick Kris Joseph.

For Joseph, the issue is consistency.

Throughout his four years at Syracuse University, Joseph had moments of greatness. But he never put it all together in such a way that his game was deemed dependable.

This summer, he did show that he can handle the ball a lot better than folks saw at SU, and he is more athletic than billed.

A dark horse in this race is Jamar Smith, who might actually get a closer look because of Dooling's departure and the C's need for another point guard.

Smith plays both guard positions, but looked a lot more comfortable off the ball.

Boston will also have former Notre Dame big man Rob Kurz in camp in addition to wing player Micah Downs who played collegiately at Gonzaga.

Both have overseas experience, but are considered long shots to stick with the C's beyond training camp.

But hey, the same was said last year about some dude named Greg Stiemsma and we know how that turned out!

Thomas strains right groin, says he'll 'be fine for Wednesday'

Thomas strains right groin, says he'll 'be fine for Wednesday'

The bumps and bruises continue to pile up for Isaiah Thomas, adding a new one to the group during Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston. 
 
The 5-foot-9 guard said he strained his right groin in the second quarter, but added that the injury won’t force him to miss any games. 

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“I’ll be alright,” Thomas told reporters after the loss. “I’ll get treatment. I’ll be fine for Wednesday (against Orlando).”
 
The injury appeared to have happened shortly after Houston’s Trevor Ariza hit a 3-pointer that put the Rockets ahead 55-45.
 
At the time it didn’t seem all that serious as Thomas, who had 20 points on the night, came down and drained a 3-pointer. 
 
But after the game, Thomas acknowledged his groin did bother him during the game in which he played 33-plus minutes. 
 
“A few drives I didn’t have the lift,” said Thomas, who finished with 20 points. “It is what it is. I’ll figure it out.”
 
Thomas, who played in all 82 regular season games last season in addition to each of Boston’s 21 games this season, has dealt with an assortment of injuries including but not limited to, a swollen middle finger injury on his left (shooting) hand. 
 
Thomas, an All-Star last season for the first time, has played at an elite level that should once again position him to be represent the Eastern Conference. 
 
Following Monday’s game, Thomas is averaging a career-high 26.0 points per game which ranks ninth in the NBA along with 6.1 assists.