Celtics rookies adjust to uncertainty of playing time

191544.jpg

Celtics rookies adjust to uncertainty of playing time

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

Over the years, the Celtics have watched young talent emerge as veterans were sidelined with injuries. Glen Davis is the most prominent example on the current squad, establishing himself two years ago after Kevin Garnett was sidelined.

This season, the Cs have been bit by the injury bug . . . over and over again, from hampered big men to hobbled guards. The Celtics have had to turn to their rookies to fill voids on the court.

While injuries present Avery Bradley, Semih Erden, and Luke Harangody with the opportunity for playing time, minutes are inconsistent once their teammates return to the court.

The Celtics rookies discussed with CSNNE.com how they have adjusted to the uncertainty of playing time and are finding ways to grow even when they arent in the game.

Semih Erden
Erden began his professional basketball in Europe when he was a teenager. This summer he played for the Turkish National Team in the 2010 FIBA Tournament, including 18 minutes in the championship game against the United States. After starting four games this season in place of Shaquille ONeal, Erden has not played since December 22. That isnt stopping him, though, from enjoying his rookie season in the NBA.

I just keep working, thats it, Erden said. I have to work. I have to be ready. Im patient and wait my turn. I take my time so I can show my best. Thats it. Just work, work, work . . . I dont get frustrated. Im good because we have a lot of experienced guys. I learn everything right now and I know everything because its been like four months. Im watching and enjoying because we won the game and everybody played good and we are teammates . . . I have a good attitude because this is a chance but Im happy. Im happy to be here.

Avery Bradley
Bradley was only 19 years old when he was selected by the Celtics with the 19th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. After ranking as the second-leading scorer at the University of Texas last season, he is adapting to his new role in the pros. As the youngest player on a veteran squad, Bradley is learning how to stay ready from his teammates.

I listen to the older guys, Bradley said. They always preach to us, Always stay ready. Not only them, the coaches do as well. All the time, the rookies are always ready to go into the game whenever our names are called. It shows that we are ready and paying attention when we do get in because at this level and on this team, you dont really have much room for mistakes. Playing time does come and go but when we do get the opportunity, we want to make the best of it.

Im here for whatever they need me to do. Even if Doc Rivers called me in for one second to go, Im going to be ready to play. Its tough - I was coming from playing a lot to not playing, but it definitely shows how much you can learn not playing and I just take advantage of it and try to learn from these other guys so when I do get my chance, Ill be ready.

Luke Harangody
Of all three rookies, Harangody has seen the most playing time as of late. With Kevin Garnett (calf) sidelined, Harangody has played in every game since his injury. Minutes, though, have fluctuated from less than 5 to more than 15. This second-round pick from Notre Dame is putting in extra time on off days to stay prepared for game night.

I just come in, work out every day, get with the coaches on days off, he said. I get with strength coaches to get your cardio in and conditioning in because you never know. The other night I played 16 minutes and Wednesday I played four. You just never know. Thats the life of a rookie.

Its just one of those things were youve got to keep in the gym, got to keep up with our workouts, because if you slip up a little bit and then something happens like with Kevin, I get a little playing time. Now if I wasnt ready, none of those minutes would have happened . . . Obviously everyone wants to play or everyone wants to be part of the team and help the team, but you realize the situation youre in here and you take what you can. You take every opportunity you get and you try to make the best of them.

Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:www.twitter.comjcameratonba

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
 
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
 
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
 
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
 
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
 
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
 
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
 
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
 
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
 
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”