Babb back with C's, trying to keep NBA dream alive

Babb back with C's, trying to keep NBA dream alive
July 4, 2014, 12:30 pm
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(AP Photo)

ORLANDO, Fla. – It was a year ago this time when Chris Babb had no idea what he was in for with this pro basketball stuff.

He was an undrafted rookie out of Iowa State trying to find his way and make a favorable impression so that the Celtics would keep him around for a while.

It worked ... sort of.

He's back, a year older and wiser.

However, the need to impress is just as strong.

"Still fighting for a position, still fighting for a job," Babb said. "I'm just going out there competing, playing to win."

After being the final player waived at Celtics' training camp, Babb immediately hooked up with Boston's Development League team, the Maine Red Claws.

Babb saw extensive playing time with the Red Claws, appearing in 33 games, while averaging 12 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 37.5 minutes per game.

Near the end of the season, Babb was signed to a 10-day contract with the Celtics, which he parlayed into a second, 10-day contract.

And on March 21, Boston signed him for the remainder of the season in addition to another two years, both of which are non-guaranteed.

Which brings us back to where Babb's at now - still trying to keep his NBA dream alive.

Making things even tougher was the Celtics drafting a pair of guards who each come in with tremendous upside, especially defensively.

"They drafted two good college players," said Babb, referring to Marcus Smart (No. 6) and James Young (No. 17). "I think they'll be good pros and great assets to this team. I'm looking forward to playing with them."

Babb will get opportunities on the floor this summer for sure, which should bode well for him early on when you consider he is well-versed on the Celtics system having been with the team in camp last season and finishing the season in Boston.

But Babb isn't taking that edge - if you can even call it that - for granted.

"I'm just familiar with the system," he said matter-of-factly. "But I'm definitely not comfortable. I'm still competing, fighting for a spot. It's competition."

And unlike last summer, he has a better sense of what he needs to do going forward.

At the end of last season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens spoke with all the players on several subjects, among them being what they needed to work on during the offseason.

"He [Stevens] wanted me to just perfect my role, to become a better defender," Babb said.

But Babb admits he's looking to do more than just improve defensively.

"I think I can be a great defender," Babb said.

Babb's situation isn't all that different than what Phil Pressey and Chris Johnson are going through now, with all having played last season in Boston but they come into the summer with non-guaranteed contracts.

"All those guys have improved in every area," said Boston assistant coach Jay Larranaga, who will be the team's summer league coach for the second year in a row. "They are three very, very hard workers, people that raise the level of energy in the gym every time they're in the gym and they're in the gym a lot. They like playing basketball and working on their games."

Still, Babb's situation is the most precarious due to him being the last of the trio to be on the Celtics roster.

For Babb, none of that matters now.

In terms of what he wants the Celtics to take from his game now, Babb said it's not all that different than it was last summer.

"Just more prepared [this year]," Babb said. "With the year of experience at the professional level, I think I can bring a lot more to the table. A year of knowing how to play what I do and know what I can bring to the team."