Category Archives: Boston Celtics Jerseys 2021

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As the 14th overall pick of the 2020 NBA draft, expectations were not small for Vanderbilt wing Aaron Nesmith when he was selected by the Boston Celtics. To date, he’s done a solid job of translating his skills to the next level.

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While he hasn’t been the knock-down shooter he was in college, hitting just 1 of his 4 attempts in preseason play, that’s pretty normal for a prospect in his first few games adjusting to the speed and athleticism of the NBA. And while his shot hasn’t fallen from beyond the arc, the South Carolinian found other ways to contribute, defending well and averaging 8.5 points and 5 rebounds per game.

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If you didn’t catch his performances against the Brooklyn Nets or Philadelphia 76ers this past week in Boston’s preseason tilts, check out the video embedded above produced by Tomasz Kordylewski.

We’re three days from seeing how Green Bean cooks when the games count. The Celtics’ season opener is scheduled for Dec. 23 vs. the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Boston Celtics looked rusty and out of sync Tuesday in their preseason debut against the Philadelphia 76ers, but one major bright spot was rookie guard Payton Pritchard, who poured in 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting in Boston’s 108-99 loss.

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Pritchard’s last meaningful game took place on March 7, when he dropped 29 points to lead Oregon over Stanford. The Ducks never took the court again, as the NCAA season shut down due to the coronavirus, robbing Pritchard of a chance to improve his draft stock during March Madness.

But Pritchard was still drafted in the first round, and he scored on his first preseason possession, albeit awkwardly. Pritchard dribbled around the court for nearly the entire shot clock after subbing in, before finally creating and making a mid-range jumper.

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The basketball wasn’t always pretty, but at least it was basketball.

“This is what we play the game for, to play games and this is what all the work is for,” Pritchard said. “For me, I’m just excited to get out here, it’s since the beginning of March since I’ve played a game. So get the jitters out, get running up and down the floor, just kind of get a feeling for things again. It was awesome to be back out here and there’s nothing like a real game setting.”

Pritchard played well with both Boston’s starters and its second unit — a positive sign for his regular-season minutes. The Celtics might need him to be a reliable back-up option, especially until Kemba Walker returns. It’s unclear whether Jeff Teague — who also played well in his debut — will start or lead the second unit, but in either case, minutes could still trickle down to Pritchard, if he’s ready.

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Shooting 6-for-10 from the field with four rebounds and two assists is a nice start.

Brad Stevens said both Pritchard and fellow rookie Aaron Nesmith (eight points, 3-for-8 shooting) played well, but that there will be a lot of film to watch over the next few days.

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“Every day’s a long class,” Stevens said. “They get there an hour before their scheduled time to do the young guys’ workouts. Those guys are both in the gym shooting and working out with their individual coaches before they even get into their lifting and group work. So they are in every which way in a crash course. And we’re just trying to expedite it as much as we can.

“Part of that is simplifying their roles. And I think we’re going to have to do that, especially early on. There were a couple of times I called a defensive coverage or an offensive play and they looked at me sideways, they didn’t know what I was saying. So we’ll have to work on all that and try to get them a basic set of things that we can play with when they’re in.”

Pritchard knows how much work lies ahead. He has been observing Marcus Smart, who he called “a perfect leader” and “a dog” after he watched Smart go flying after a loose ball in a preseason game.

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“It’s an example of how we can play and how to win games,” Pritchard said.

The Celtics will be thrilled with any positives from the rookies in the early going, since they understand that none of this will be easy.

“It’s just going to take a little time for it to come second nature when they call a play and get into it,” Pritchard said. “We’ve only been practicing for like a week, so our flow will just get better and better and guys will start to pick it up quicker and quicker.”

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The Boston Celtics did not win their preseason opener, but more importantly, it doesn’t look like Semi Ojeleye and Carsen Edwards have improved enough to crack the rotation with the incoming rookies.
This past offseason, besides Gordon Hayward, Semi Ojeleye and Carsen Edwards were the two members of the Boston Celtics that I advocated the team to trade. On Tuesday night during the team’s preseason opener, the duo, unfortunately, proved me right.

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Both Edwards and Ojeleye are quality guys in the locker-room, but at this stage, the Cs can’t afford to keep guys around for moral support. The team brought in two rookies in Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith who figure to contribute off the bat this season, and have several intriguing G-League players it can consider signing since there won’t be a season for the Maine Red Claws (as of right now at least).

The Houdini has put together the following deals to ship the duo out of Beantown to acquire a player better suited to help contribute to a potential Eastern Conference champion in 2021:

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Mike Muscala is a prototypical power forward and can space the floor as a small-ball five as well. Luguentz Dort is the stoutest defender on the Thunder, and can provide a defensive specialist in lockdown lineups alongside Marcus Smart.

Two second-round picks is an easy price to pay for the duo.

Why the Oklahoma City Thunder do it
I doubt OKC is willing to part with Dort, especially if a team is willing to dangle several draft picks to nab him. As vital as a role he played for the team down the stretch last season, Oklahoma City proved that no one is expendable this offseason.

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Their rebuild continues with two more draft assets.

BOSTON – After playing a part in one of the strangest rookie experiences in NBA history, Celtics guard Carsen Edwards is ready to turn the page and move on to Year 2.

Edwards and the entire 2019 rookie class was dealt with a major developmental curveball last season by having their introductory NBA experience cut short in mid-March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to hit the US in significant fashion. For those who weren’t on playoff teams, their rookie seasons ended immediately, while the rest were placed into limbo for four-plus months before resuming the season in late-July inside the NBA bubble.

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Unlike a typical four-month offseason, Edwards and the rest of the Celtics rookies only had two months to reflect and adjust before transitioning back into training camp for the 2020-21 campaign, while also not having the opportunity to participate in Summer League. But he made do with the hand he was dealt and feels that he is coming into this season as prepared as he could possibly be.

“I thought my offseason went well, in a sense, being able to get away from the game but at the same time, I worked out the whole offseason,” Edwards said during a conference call with the media Monday afternoon. “It was good to focus on improvement and looking over my year and regrouping at the same time.

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“I mean, it was a short offseason but at the same time, people here, they try to help us and get us ready the best they can. At the end of the day, we’ll just see when we get on the floor, but I feel good.”

Edwards played a limited role for Boston last season, playing in 37 regular-season games at around 9.5 minutes per appearance. He had a couple of promising outings, such as an 18-point effort against Washington on Nov. 13, 2019, as well as a 30-point performance against Cleveland during the preseason.

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However, being a part of such a deep roster resulted in Edwards earning inconsistent playing time. That, in addition to the mid-season pause, made for a challenging rookie experience overall.

Still, Edwards made the most out of the experience, especially during Boston’s extended stay inside the Florida bubble.

He said that being around his teammates in such a secluded environment helped him to “learn how to use my platform and understand the best way to go about things and handle yourself off the court. But also being around these guys and just being in meetings, or in our free time just talking to them and learning from their experiences and also just kind of hearing what they say about going through the ups and downs of the season and the unexpected and being able to be prepared for whatever it may be. It was a learning experience for me overall, and a blessing to be with this team and with a good group of guys.”

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In a way, since Edwards wasn’t a frequent participant in the Playoffs, his bubble experience could be viewed as an enhanced offseason. It allowed him to grow within a highly-competitive environment, all while picking the minds of his veteran teammates.

In the months since, Edwards worked a great deal on his defense and continued to hone his deadly 3-point shot in the hope of being able to contribute more this coming season.

“I feel like I can help out any way they ask me to help when they put me on the floor,” he stated eagerly. “Whether that’s being solid on defense and picking up and guarding my man well, being able to spread the floor and knock down shots. Just anything they ask me to do, try my best to do it.”

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What should the Celtics starting lineup be at the start of the year?

Andrew Doxy: I feel really good about Smart-Brown-Tatum-Grant-Thompson and I’m probably wrong. Theis’ body of work over the last year as Boston’s primary center was certainly impressive. It’s just the defensive potential of that group is astounding, and that’s what keeps drawing me into that lineup. If Tatum can continue his tear from the playoffs, the offense will be just fine. It may lead to a few more Smart heat checks than usual, but this lineup is just so versatile. Grant’s shooting saw a serious uptick in the bubble/playoffs, so his position as a spot up shooter on offense and multi-positional defender on defense makes him the perfect plug-in at that four spot. Tatum and Brown could both be 25PPG+ scorers this year, Smart could continue his 15-5-5 output from the playoffs, and Thompson will be there to switch, protect the rim, and crash the boards relentlessly. Talking my way through it, I’m actually higher on this lineup now than I was when I started typing my answer to this question.

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Jeff Clark: Brad Stevens is a big fan of continuity, even if it means inserting someone unorthodox in the starting lineup to maintain the roles and rotations. That doesn’t mean that Pritchard should get the start at PG because I think this injury/load-management situation is specifically what Jeff Teague was brought in for. Inserting him in the lineup keeps Marcus Smart at the 2 guard (or “2nd ball hander” if you prefer). Brown and Tatum are obvious locks and I think I prefer Tristan Thompson in the starting lineup as well. Once Kemba comes back, Teague can shift into the backup role and everything else remains constant.

Boston Celtics v Atlanta Hawks
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Keith Smith: I think we know that Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart are all locks. I assume Daniel Theis will start off the year as the starting center, in part for continuity reasons and also in part because Theis was really good as Boston’s starting center last season. That means Boston either goes big or inserts another ballhandler. Assuming Brad Stevens isn’t mixing and matching for opponents, I’m guessing he might go big with Grant Williams. That way, Jeff Teague stays in the backup ballhandler role. It also allows everyone else to slot in to what their regular role will be. Now that I’ve written this, Javonte Green or Tacko Fall will start, because it’s completely out of left field.

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Daniel Poarch: I’m going with Jeff Teague, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Daniel Theis, with some spot starts possible for Tristan Thompson against the Joel Embiids and Bam Adebayos of the Eastern Conference. I just can’t see Brad Stevens moving away from the lineup that triumphed over Toronto in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and with Walker hurt, I think Teague provides the smoothest replacement into that group.

In a different year, a starting role for Grant Williams or one of the rookies might be intriguing, but considering the warp-speed pace of the offseason and the Celtics’ general reticence to lean too heavily on youth, it just doesn’t feel likely. This setup allows the Celtics to open games with their most experienced lineups, and the young guard group of Payton Pritchard, Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters have a chance to earn themselves a role filling the void at reserve guard that exists while Walker is absent. Given the fairly extreme circumstances, that seems beneficial across the board.

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Jaylen Brown is one of the most politically outspoken athletes in the NBA, and now he’s turning his attention to his alma mater.

The Boston Celtics wing tweeted a public endorsement of the campaign to change the name of Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia, where he won a state championship before continuing his career at Cal.

The Wheeler name comes from Joseph Wheeler, a Confederate general who hailed from Georgia and led cavalry for the South in the Civil War, but later went on to serve in the U.S. Army and Congress.

Brown followed up the tweet by urging his followers to retweet the link for exposure.

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The involvement of a major NBA player is the latest twist in an extended saga around Wheeler High School, one of many campaigns to remove Confederate names and imagery in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) dribbles the ball during the second half of an NBA game against the Washington Wizards.
Jaylen Brown wants his old high school’s name changed. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
A committee had been previously formed by the Cobb County School Board to review the names of Wheeler High School and Walton High School, the latter named after a slave owner who signed the Declaration of Independence. However, the Board voted again in November to disband the committee before it had even held a meeting.

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The vote to disband the committee was reportedly split across party and racial lines, with every vote in favor coming from a white Republican and against from a Black Democrat. Board chair Brad Wheeler was reportedly responsible for the reversal, having previously voted to form the committee. Wheeler reportedly claimed the decision to change the name should come from the Board itself, though no meeting to address the issue is currently scheduled.

Wheeler High School, where the plurality of students are Black, opened in 1965, at a time when schools across the South were being named after Confederate figures as a backlash against the Civil Rights movement.

From the Equal Justice Initiative:

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Historically, the practice of naming schools to honor the architects and defenders of slavery has been part of a broader effort to maintain racial hierarchy in the U.S. In particular, many schools were given Confederate-themed names in the 1950s and 1960s as Southern states mounted what they termed “Massive Resistance,” a coordinated effort by governors, legislators, and other white leaders to resist the racial integration of public schools. As federal law increasingly required school desegregation, white communities built new schools — schools that were either explicitly or implicitly intended for white children only — and named those schools after white Southerners who were notorious racists.

This isn’t the only place where Wheeler’s legacy is seen in the modern United States. A statue of the man can still be found in Congress, Georgia’s Wheeler County is named after him and several locations in Alabama, which he represented in Congress, can also be found with his name.

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Bill Sy: Let’s get nuts. I know that in years past, the Celtics have featured a five-man unit of do-it-all players that maximizes versatility and switchability. With Kemba shelved and Hayward a Hornet, that creativity is gone. With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown locks and taking on more playmaking responsibilities, I want a shooter out there and if his three-point accuracy translates to the pros, that means Aaron Nesmith. Marcus Smart seems like the logical choice to replace Kemba at the point, but I’ve always loved him more coming in as the sixth starter as a, well, gamechanger. I’ll go with the vet Jeff Teague. He won’t play nearly as much as Smart, but I like his steady hand to start games with Tatum and Brown. At center, Daniel Theis makes the most sense. He’s healthy and he’s earned it, but there’s something about the added nasty the Celtics would get out of Tristan Thompson that is so alluring to a fan of old school basketball.

Greg Brueck-Cassoli: I’ll take Teague/Smart/Tatum/Brown/Theis. Boston lost the ability to play super versatile lineups all the time with the departure of Gordon Hayward, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t lean into that strategy as much as possible. Slotting Teague into the starting lineup leaves a terrifying hole at the backup point guard spot, but I’d rather roll the dice on a bench ball handler than risk cramping things offensively with a double big starting unit. One crazy option would be to toss Aaron Nesmith into the fire as a starter right away, and leave Teague on the bench to run backup duties, but that’s probably a little too outside the box.

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Bobby Manning: Smart-Brown-Tatum-Grant-Thompson. Go all defense to start games and rotate in offensive sparks off the bench like Jeff Teague, Daniel Theis and Aaron Nesmith with other starters. Some matchups will call for three wings. Some will call for Daniel Theis. I don’t expect a constant starting lineup in December or January. This should be the group most nights though.

Adam Taylor: I think that Theis will be the starting center to begin the season. With how short training-camp is going to be, and the minimal time Thompson has been with the team, it makes more sense to roll out a veteran of the system to begin with.I would assume the starting lineup is going to be Smart – Brown – Tatum – G Williams – Theis. But, I do agree with Bill in the sense that Nesmith could be a valuable starter, with Tatum sliding up to the 4-spot. One thing I’m certain of, is that we’re going to see a lot of funky lineups in the coming weeks, and everyone will get their chance to stake their claim.