When it came to figuring out who the Celtics starting five would be this season, Jonas Jerebko’s name was nowhere in the conversation despite being with the first unit for the Celtics’ last four games in the playoffs.
And when breaking down the key contributors to their second unit, once again there wasn’t much love for the Swedish Bird.
But it seems whenever Jerebko gets decent minutes, he delivers a better-than-decent performance.
That was exactly what happened in Boston’s 100-97 preseason win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Jerebko will be looking to build off that strong performance tonight when the Celtics take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Against the Nets, Jerebko had 12 points while shooting 3-for-4 from 3-point range. He also grabbed five rebounds in addition to chipping in with three assists.
It was the kind of performance that doesn’t wow you, but is essential to winning games on nights when the team as a whole doesn’t play well.
For Jerebko, that game was indicative of how things have been since he became a Boston Celtic.
While his role may appear to be undefined to most, Jerebko knows exactly what he’s supposed to do when he gets on the floor.
“Whatever it takes to win,” he told CSNNE.com recently. “Score, rebound, defend, pass, cheer from the sidelines, whatever I have to do to help us win, that’s what I want to do.”
That being said, he makes it absolutely clear that he believes playing is the best way he can contribute.
“But all of us here and in the NBA really, feel that way,” he said. “The thing is, you just have to make the most of the time you get and not look back or look too far ahead.”
He’s speaking about staying in the moment, a common thought for most of the Celtics’ backups.
Boston currently has a roster with 16 players with guaranteed contracts and a 17th player, second-round Ben Bentil, with a partially guaranteed deal that’s worth more than what most training camp invites receive.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens plans to start the season with a pool of 10 players that would constitute the rotation, although the players near the end of that grouping might change from one game to the next.
It is unclear where Jerebko fits into that 10-man platoon system that Stevens has in mind, but Jerebko’s past performances and the most recent one, serve as a reminder that he’s a player who could play a key role off the bench this season in certain circumstances.
Jerebko says he has no idea how his minutes will play out this season, other than knowing that at some point he will get a chance to show what he can do.
“And when the time comes to play, I’ll be ready,” he said. “We have a lot of really good players on this team, so naturally we all want to play. When my turn comes, I’ll be ready; I know this and so do the coaches.”