Getting to know 'Curly' Krstic


Getting to know 'Curly' Krstic

By JessicaCamerato

BOSTON - They call him Curly.

Thats one of the first things we learned about Nenad Krstic after he was traded to the Boston Celtics from the Oklahoma City Thunder last week.

Curly. Hmm . . .

After playing his first game at the TD Garden on Wednesday, Krstic shed light on the moniker and also shared two other things you should know about the Celtics big man.
I said, Kur-Lay
The nickname Curly has nothing to do with Krstics physical appearance. It doesnt have to do with a character on The Three Stooges, either. It all started with a mispronunciation by his now-assistant coach.

Its thanks to coach Lawrence Frank, he explained to CSNNE.com. He was my coach for four years in New Jersey. I didnt speak any English, and he texted me like, Do you have any nicknames you like to be called? I said, Krle pronounced kur-lay. Back home, its short for Krstic. Thats how we give nicknames. He couldnt say it, Krle, and he started saying, Curly, Curly, Curly. I dont really like calling me Curly, but I dont really care. I stopped caring when I told him so many times, Its not Curly, its Krle, but he couldnt say it for some reason. KG calls me Kris. He said hes not going to call me Curly because its something soft. (Pause, laughs) I like Curly too. I dont care.
Thumbs Up for Posting Up
Krstic has earned praise for his ability to spread the floor. At seven-feet tall, he has a mid-range jumper that poses challenges for the opposing team to defend. His favorite thing to do on the court, though, happens closer to the basket.

My favorite is posting up, having a good post up, he said. Thats something thats tough to do, and not a lot of players can post up and having a posting game. Im really working on that. When I have a good post up and score, I feel good about myself.

Theres Still No Place Like Home
It has been nine years since Krstic was drafted by the Nets in 2002. But even after all this time in the NBA, Krstic still misses his native Serbia.

Its my seventh season here but Im still homesick, said Krstic, who also played overseas. I like my country. I miss everything - I miss my friends, I miss my family, Serbian food. Its a lot of meat. My favorite is lamb, but prepared in a Serbian way. You put the whole lamb actually on a grill. Its five hours just turning around. You put beer on it and its great. I think its called roasted lamb, I dont know the name in English. In the summer time, thats my favorite.

Krstic scored 13 points in 21 minutes against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. He is averaging 11 points and 5 rebounds in his first three games with the Celtics.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Stevens knows hanging banners is ‘what it’s all about’ in Boston

Stevens knows hanging banners is ‘what it’s all about’ in Boston

BOSTON – When Brad Stevens took the Boston Celtics job in 2013, he knew what he was getting into.
Yes, the Celtics at that time were rebuilding which usually means years and years of slow but steady progress – if you’re lucky.
And then after maybe a few years of struggling to win games, a breakout season occurs and just like that – you’re back in the playoffs.


 But here’s the thing with the Celtics.
While most rebuilding teams spend years working their way towards being competitive, Stevens hit the ground running and in just four years, he led the Celtics from being a 25-win team to one that was just three wins away from getting to the NBA Finals.
He has the kind of basketball resume that’s impressive on many levels.
But Stevens knows good isn’t good enough in this town.
“We’re here in Boston,” he said. “Winning is good, but hanging one of those (banners) up is what it’s all about. That’s what makes this such a special franchise.”
And for Stevens, a franchise where the expectations for success under his watch have never been greater than they are now.
Boston only returns one starter (Al Horford) from last year’s squad which advanced to the Eastern Conference finals after having won an East-best 53 games.
However, they added a pair of All-Stars in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving to join Horford. In addition, they drafted Jayson Tatum with the third overall pick in last June’s NBA draft.
Boston also has a slimmed-down Marcus Smart (he lost 20 pounds from a year ago) as well Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier who will both benefit from having another NBA season under their belts.
And while it’s a small sample size and consists of just two teams (Philadelphia and Charlotte), the Celtics breezed their way through the preseason with a flawless 4-0 record which included at least one game in which they did not play their usual starters which shows how impactful their depth may be this season.
That success can only help, especially with a challenging schedule that includes seven of their first 11 games being on the road. 
Still, the potential of this Celtics team has never been greater than it is right now since Stevens took over in 2013.
And just like the increased expectations of the team, the same can be said for Stevens who is considered one of the better coaches in the NBA.
Marcus Morris will begin his first season with the Celtics, but had a lot of respect for Stevens well before he was traded to Boston from Detroit this summer.
“You hear a lot of good things about him from other players,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “And once you get in here and start working with him and seeing what he does every day, you see what they’re talking about. He’s a good coach, man.”
This team’s success will hinge on how the players perform, but there’s an added element of pressure on Stevens to find the right combinations that will position the Celtics for success.
“We have a lot more guys who can do a lot more things on the court, so it will be a little more challenging for us to figure out how to best play with each other, and for Brad to figure out which combinations are the best ones,” Boston’s Al Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “But we’ll figure it out. Brad’s a really good coach, a really smart coach. And on our team, we have a lot of players who are smart, high basketball I.Q. guys. We’ll be OK.”
Basketball smarts aside, the Celtics’ success will hinge heavily on how quickly they can bring a roster with 10 new players up to speed quickly.
It’s still early, but players like what they’ve seen from the collective body in terms of team chemistry.
“I think that’s the beauty of a lot of guys on the team,” said Gordon Hayward. “It’ll be different each night with some of the different roles we play.”
Which is why the Celtics, while lacking experience as a team because of so many new faces, are still seen as capable of winning because they have a number of players who can impact the game in many ways.
But as good as they are, it still comes back to Stevens doing a good job of putting them in the best positions to find success individually as well as for the Celtics team.
When you look at how time with Stevens jumpstarted Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder’s careers, or how it helped revitalize the career of Evan Turner, it’s obvious that he has the Midas touch when it comes to getting the most out of players.
For Boston to have the kind of success they believe they are due for, it’s going to take the contributions of many.
And even that might not be enough.
But having the path being bumpier than expected is something Stevens embraces.
“Here in this league,” he said. “You have to love challenges.”


Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the third year in a row, a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics is unable to come to terms on a contract extension prior to the deadline.

That means Marcus Smart will become a restricted free agent this summer. Last year it was Kelly Olynyk (now with the Miami Heat) and in 2015 it was Jared Sullinger (now with Shenzhen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association).

Both the Celtics and Smart's camp intensified their discussions in recent days as the October 16th 6 p.m. EST deadline drew near.


While there was progress made, there wasn’t enough to get a deal done.

Smart has repeatedly indicated that he wants to re-sign a long-term deal to stay in Boston.

And the market for the 6-foot-4 guard became clearer based on the contracts that some of his fellow rookie class of 2014, were receiving.

Denver’s Gary Harris agreed to a four-year, $84 million contract after establishing himself as one of the better young two-way talents in the NBA last season. And at the other end of the financial spectrum, you would have to look at Phoenix’s T.J. Warren who signed a four-year, $50 million contract.

More than likely, Smart’s deal next summer will fall somewhere between the deals those two players received.

As much as Smart would have preferred to get a deal done heading into the season, it’s not something that he’s going to cause him to lose any sleep.

“Get it done now, or get it done in six months, I’m OK either way,” he told NBC Sports Boston. “I’m not worried about it.”