Joe Johnson remembers long forgotten Celtics teammates

Joe Johnson remembers long forgotten Celtics teammates

By: Rich Levine

LOS ANGELES Back in the summer of 2001, the Celtics had three first round picks.

With the No. 10 pick, they chose Arkansas' Joe Johnson. With No. 11, a swing man out of Okaloosa-Walton Community College named Kedrick Brown. At No. 22, it was North Carolina's Joe Forte.

At the time, the trio were supposed to be a huge part of Boston's future. But now?

Well, you know about Johnson. He was traded to the Suns halfway through his rookie season before moving to Atlanta, where he's now a five-time All Star.

But Brown and Forte? Well, Johnson's not sure.

"Oh man," Johnson said when asked about his former teammates. "I havent spoken to those guys in years. I was asking Lester Conner, one of our assistant coaches in Atlanta, if he had talked to them and he hadn't either. Im curious to know what those guys are up to."

After a little research, we can report that Brown last played in the NBA with Philly in 2005, and now plays in Turkey for Bornova Belediye. Forte was out of the league in 2003 after only 25 games. In January 2010 he was playing for Nuova Pallacanestro Pavia, an Italian team.

As for Johnson's time with the Celtics, a lot has happened since, but he still appreciates the team for bring him into the league.

"They gave me the opportunity to play at the highest level of basketball and I cant do anything but thank them for that."

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Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”