Young 'staying in the present' as he tries to secure spot with Celtics


Young 'staying in the present' as he tries to secure spot with Celtics

JAMAICA PLAIN, Mass. – The kids at English High School were still in class when Boston Celtics wing James Young arrived 30-plus minutes early.

There was no mistaking the eagerness on Young’s part to be there to give away backpacks to the 60 or so kids and speak with them about the value of mentorships as part of President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Success Mentor Initiative in conjunction with STATE bags and Roc Nation Sports.

Young talked about how being mentored helped him get through high school which he acknowledged was very tough; how it made his transition to the NBA as an 18-year-old not nearly as rough as it could have been.

There were many takeaways for Young from the folks that have mentored him in the past, but maybe none more important than them instilling in him the need to never give up on his hopes and dreams.

It is a lesson that will be put to the test next week when the Celtics open training camp and Young does all that he can to remain in Boston.

The Celtics currently have 16 players with guaranteed contracts, one more than the NBA allows when the season starts at the end of next month.

If the Celtics don’t make a trade, they will have to waive at least one player with a guaranteed deal. And the 21-year-old Young is among those who could potentially be waived.

Entering his third NBA season, Young is well aware of where he stands going into training camp. But that doesn’t mean it’s something he has obsessed about or has given plenty of thought.

“I’m not thinking about contracts or the next year,” Young said in an interview with CSNNE.com and the Boston Globe following Thursday’s event. “I’m staying in the present right now. I’ve gotten a lot better; still getting better.  I’m not thinking about the future or what they got coming up or what they’ve got going on. I’m staying in the present.”

Well presently, Young’s role is very much up in the air. Forget about playing time.

At this point, simply being able to hold down a roster spot will be a victory in itself for Young in training camp.

At the shooting guard position, Avery Bradley will be the starter with Marcus Smart likely being a backup at both guard positions a la Evan Turner from last season.

Gerald Green, now in his second tour of duty with the Celtics, will log minutes at the shooting guard position, too.

In addition, second-year guard Terry Rozier will see time in the backcourt where he can play both on and off the ball which will depend on who is backcourt partner is at that time.

And then there’s R.J. Hunter, a pure shooting guard who like Young, is also on the bubble when it comes to making the team’s 15-man roster.

There’s also second-round pick Ben Bentil who signed a partially guaranteed contract after being drafted by Boston in the second round with the 51st overall pick.  Although Bentil and Young play two different positions, the 6-8 forward could become a factor if he has a strong training camp and the Celtics feel they need to keep him.

No matter how you want to look at it, Young will have his hands full in trying to secure a spot with the Boston Celtics for this upcoming season.

Still one of the youngest players on the team, Young said he will continue to lean on his coaches and teammates for the kind mentoring that he believes will pay off.

“When I first got here, 18, living by myself, I had some of the coaches, players take me under their wing; it was a blessing,” Young said. “It showed me how to grow up as a man. Having those guys in my corner, I thank them for it.”

Rozier gets a big test tonight against Thunder

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Rozier gets a big test tonight against Thunder

BOSTON -- Terry Rozier has stepped up his game this season. There’s no disputing that point. 
And the Celtics have rewarded him with increased playing time, which he has proven he deserves. 
While he has made the most of his opportunity with an increased role due to injuries, at some point Rozier’s minutes should go back to being 20 or so per game. 
It’s amazing how far Rozier has come in such a short period of time, from a first-round pick many questioned as being a reach on Boston’s part, to an integral part of the team’s quest towards Banner 18.
And it is games like tonight’s against the Oklahoma City Thunder that will put the experience gained by Rozier as a major contributor, to the ultimate test when he faces off against reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook.
No one expects Rozier to put up Westbrook-like numbers . . . but would anyone be shocked if he did?
Remember, Rozier’s first NBA start came this season and he racked up his first career triple-double. The next game out, he dropped a career-high 31 points. 
But as we get deeper into the season, he’s no longer viewed as a backup or a role player, They see him as a player that has to be accounted for, regardless of whether he’s starting or coming off the bench. 
“There’s a lot of teams in this league you could easily see him starting for,” a league executive told NBC Sports Boston via text. “He’s not Kyrie [Irving] obviously, and he’s a different kind of player than Marcus [Smart], but he can play. If teams didn’t know it before, they know it now.”
Rozier may not be a secret anymore, but here are five under-the-radar story lines to keep an eye on tonight as the Celtics go for the season sweep against the Oklahoma City Thunder. 


If the Celts expect to win tonight, they better get it done in four quarters of play. Because overtime has been a good time for the Thunder. They come into tonight’s game with a 3-0 record in overtime this season. They are one of eight teams with an unblemished overtime record, and no other team in the league this season has as more wins (3) in overtime without a single defeat. 


The NBA hit Marcus Morris up for $15,000 following “verbal abuse of a game official” at the end of Boston’s 108-89 loss at New Orleans.  Morris will be lighter in the wallet, obviously. But it also might get him even more fired up tonight which could lead to him lighting up the Thunder. 


Scoring around the basket has not been a strength of the Celtics, but with key players on the perimeter hurt, Boston has to generate points in other ways. Doing so against the Thunder, a team that has allowed 43.1 points in the paint per game --10th-fewest allowed in the league this season -- will be a challenge.


At some point tonight, Boston will be challenged to get back on defense and not allow Russell Westbrook to score on the break. The Celtics have been one of the league’s better transition defense teams in allowing 10.2 fast-break points, which is the fourth-fewest allowed per game this season. Meanwhile, the Thunder average 14.1 fast-break points, which ranks third in the league. 


The Celtic players talk all the time about how great the TD Garden crowd can be. But at the end of games lately, they haven’t let them much to cheer about. The C's come into tonight’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with losses in five of their last seven home games with the lone wins coming over Memphis and Charlotte – two teams currently out of playoff seeding. Boston’s last home win over a team that’s currently in the top 8 was a 97-96 win over Portland on Feb. 4, a game in which Al Horford hit a game-winning, fadeaway jumper as time expired.


Report: Kyrie Irving may need screws removed from knee

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Report: Kyrie Irving may need screws removed from knee

BOSTON — Kyrie Irving is reportedly going to get a second opinion on his sore left knee which may result in him having season-ending surgery.

98.5 The Sports Hub’s Tony Massarotti reported on Tuesday that Irving will get a second opinion as early as Wednesday.

Irving suffered a fractured left knee cap during the 2015 NBA Finals.

He underwent surgery that sidelined him for the rest of the playoffs.

The surgical procedure performed on his knee involved the insertion of screws to aid the stabilization of the  kneecap.

The Celtics have already been ravaged by injuries this season. They lost Gordon Hayward just five minutes into the season due to a left ankle injury. Daniel Theis is out for the season with a torn meniscus injury to his left knee. Marcus Smart recently had right thumb surgery that will keep him out for the rest of the regular season, with there being a chance he will return at some point for the playoffs. And Jaylen Brown suffered a concussion that has him sidelined, as well.