Stiemsma added to USA Basketball Select Team

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Stiemsma added to USA Basketball Select Team

BOSTON If Team USA brings home the gold in this summer's Olympics in London, Boston Celtics center Greg Stiemsma will know that he played a role in helping that come about.

The Celtics rookie has been added to the Team USA Basketball Select Team that will train against the USA Men's National team, beginning July 6-12 in Las Vegas.

Stiemsma was added in part because of his play with the 2011 USA squad that won a bronze medal during the 2011 Pan Am Games.

In addition, New Orleans' Lance Thomas was also added to the Select team for similar reasons.

"We made a commitment back in October that we would select two players from the 2011 USA Pan American Games Team and invite them to be part of the 2012 USA Select Team," said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman, in a statement. "Greg Stiemsma and Lance Thomas were valuable contributors to the USA's bronze medal showing at the 2011 Pan American Games and both earned their way on to NBA rosters this season and demonstrated they can contribute at that level. I'm pleased to have both players join the USA Select Team."

Stiemsma was a starter for all five USA Pan Am games, averaging 3.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. With the C's, he appeared in 55 regular season games and averaged 2.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and a team-best 1.6 blocks per game which was second among NBA rookies. His impact hasn't been the same in the playoffs, in part because of injuries and soreness to both feet. The 26-year-old rookie has averaged 1.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and just 0.6 blocks in 17 playoff games.

In addition to Thomas, Stiemsma joins a USA Select team that includes the following players: DeJuan Blair (San Antonio Spurs Pittsburgh); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings Kentucky); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors USC); Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz Georgia Tech); Paul George (Indiana Pacers Fresno State); Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls USC); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz Butler); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers Duke); Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs San Diego State); Jeremy Lin (New York Knicks Harvard); Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors Washington State); and John Wall (Washington Wizards Kentucky).

NBA's a global game, and the Celtics are all in

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NBA's a global game, and the Celtics are all in

BOSTON – The NBA has become more of an international game as teams scour the globe in search of the next big basketball talent.

While some franchises such as the San Antonio Spurs have been poaching talented international players for years, other franchises have been more locked into adding American-born ballers.

The Boston Celtics have paid close attention to the best international players for several years.

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But more often than not, additions to their roster through the draft have come from the college ranks with an occasional international player added via free agency.

This season's team will definitely have a certain international flavor to it with overseas additions coming by way of players they drafted and signed as free agents to bolster what should be one of the deeper teams in the East.

Boston has six rookies with guaranteed contracts for this upcoming season, four of which were born outside of the United States.

And of those four rookies, three of them – Guerschon Yabusele (16th overall pick); Ante Zizic (23rd overall pick) and Abdel Nader; 58th overall pick) – were selected in the 2016 draft but didn't join the team immediately. 

Yabusele who is originally from France, spent most of last season in China and came to the States and played briefly with the Celtic’s Gatorade League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. He will be among the bevy of young players competing for minutes off the Celtics bench. 

Zizic, born in Croatia, spent last season playing in his native country as well as in Turkey. The 7-foot center will come into training camp competing for playing time, possibly as Boston’s starting center.

And then there’s Nader, a G-League all-star as well as the G-League’s rookie of the year last season. The Egyptian-American wing player showed promise in each of the last two summer leagues which is in part why the Celtics signed him to a four-year, $6 million deal with only the first year fully guaranteed. 

They each have different strengths that only add value to a Boston squad that’s being built to play just about every style of play imaginable.

But the Celtics didn’t limit their pursuit of international talent to just the draft.

Boston has also signed German Forward Daniel Theis. 

Unlike the international players drafted by Boston, Theis is a bit of a mystery to most Celtics fans.

Last season he averaged 10.7 points and 4.6 rebounds for Brose Bamberg of Germany, while shooting 41.0 percent from 3-point range and 59.8 percent from the field.

And that season ended with a German championship, just like the previous two seasons for the 6-9, 243-pound forward who is expected to come in and compete for playing time off the bench for a Celtics team that’s looking for