White, Randolph living the lives of 10-day players

White, Randolph living the lives of 10-day players
March 14, 2013, 5:45 pm
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BOSTON — There are 170 days to an NBA basketball calendar. Current Celtics D.J. White and Shavlik Randolph are hoping to hang on past 20 of them.

This has been the longterm goal for both White and Randolph since the two agreed to play overseas in China. While both players did their best to focus on improving in China, they also had eyes on the NBA.

As it turns out, the Celtics had eyes on them as well. Both White and Randolph were signed to their second 10-day contracts earlier this week, a sign that the C's have liked what they've seen — despite the extremely small sample size.

That's exactly what White had hoped would happen during his time in China.

"Just take care of business," he said of his mindset while there. You think about [the NBA], but at the same time you can't worry about it because you still have a job to do. What I did, I just played basketball. That's basically what I did, just play basketball and everything takes care of itself. And I was fortunate to be where I am right now."

The bad news, though, is that Boston can't sign either player to a third 10-day contract. Danny Ainge and co. must decide if they want to sign these players for at least the remainder of the season (as they did with Terrence Williams) or part ways with them.

If this is it for those two, they at least leave Boston a little heavier in the wallet. In 20 NBA days, White and Randolph will make $107,747 and $116,786, respectively. Not a bad three weeks of work.

But this isn't where they want their journeys to stop - and it doesn't have to do with the money. Both White and Randolph were doing just fine in China, and can take their talents elsewhere around the world again if they need to. But the NBA is obviously where every player wants to be, and that certainly goes for them too. Randolph has already gotten past the initial shock of leaving the NBA, though, and actually embraced his time abroad.

"It wasn't as hard this year as it was last year," Randolph said. "I did it last year because of the lockout, and it was tough for me because it was the first time I ever played anywhere other than the NBA besides a little stint in Puerto Rico. But yeah, it was hard for me. There's almost like a stigma to it, like you're not good enough to be in the NBA, you feel rejected, you feel down. But I'll be honest man, for me it's one of the best things to happen to me as far as me developing as a person. I've grown so much in my time going over there. Become so much more cultured, just opened my eyes up. I've developed friends in China, and met people that I never would have met."

Another aspect of playing overseas is the larger role someone like Randolph has there as opposed to here in the NBA. Randolph was putting up video game numbers in China, averaging 32 points and 14.6 rebounds in 36.5 minutes over 28 games.

Now? He's lucky if he gets on the court. He's made just two garbage time appearances thus far, one in a blowout loss to the Bobcats and one in a blowout win to the Raptors.

"It is tough, and that's another aspect that's pretty tough," Randolph said. "You're going from a situation where you're the man. You have a lot of stability, you don't wake up wondering anything. And you come back and you're in this situation and you kind of wonder, like, nothing's guaranteed, like what could happen, but all you can really do is take it one day at a time and it sounds cliche, but it's true. You take it one day at a time, you try to bring as much value as you can, and I think they brought me and D.J. in for a reason, and I think we've done a good job while we've been here."

Randolph is by no means complaining or surprised at the way things are. He knew what he was getting into when he signed with the C's.

"I've loved my time here, I love this organization," he said. "But, I wouldn't say it's frustrating not playing. He made it very clear, Doc Rivers, that he didn't bring us in to take minutes away from anyone. But if we are needed - and we haven't been needed much - our job is to stay ready if we are needed."

White also knows that while he will get limited minutes, it's important he plays within himself and within the team.

"I mean, it's a team sport. Those things will take of each other," White said. "Whenever I get the opportunity I just try to go out there and play hard, play defense, rebound, make open shots. That's kind of what my role has been my past four years in the league, this is my fifth. So that will never change."

Rivers said that both White and Randolph struggled a bit in the second half of Tuesday's loss, most likely due to the "stress" they were feeling to play well. That's understandable, but it's not going to change the way either of them prepare.

"I feel my approach has been the same, man," White said. "Always work hard, in early working on my game. I don't think nothing's really changed. I don't take days off. I'm in the gym on off-days getting work in. Your mindset changes [on a 10-day contract] like, yeah you want to be around, but as far as my work ethic I don't think it's changed."

And it can't change if White, or Randolph, want to remain in the NBA.