BOSTON – When it comes to the NBA, championships are not won in the summer.
Try telling that to the players and coaches participating in NBA Summer League, which for the Boston Celtics, begins on Monday in Utah against the Philadelphia 76ers and No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz.
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The Celtics return the core from a team that won an Eastern Conference-best 53 games last season while advancing to the conference finals before losing to Cleveland in five games.
Maintaining that kind of success involves adding and cultivating more talent, a process that for the youngest Celtics involves getting the most out of summer league.
Jayson Tatum, drafted by with the third overall pick last month, will be among the players for Boston folks will keep a close eye on.
Danny Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations, has raved about how well Tatum shot the ball during his workout for the Boston Celtics.
After a recent practice, Tatum gave folks of glimpse of what Ainge must have seen in his pre-draft workout as he drained 10 consecutive 3-pointers.
“It’s been fun,” Tatum told reporters after practice on Friday. “It’s new for everybody. Just getting out here, competing and being a team.”
Celtics assistant coach Jerome Allen will be coaching the Celtics’ Salt Lake City team.
He has only had the guys for a handful of practices but likes what he has seen thus far in their ability to retain the onslaught of information thrown their way.
“Believe it or not, I think they’re a little bit ahead of schedule in terms of what they were able to retain, in terms of what my eyes saw in watching the film,” said Allen, who added that Brandon Bailey, the Celtics’ coaching assistant/head video coordinator, has been instrumental in helping the players come along quicker than expected. “Hopefully the amount of work they put in, the results will show it Monday night.”
This Celtics summer league team will be led by 20-year-old Jaylen Brown who, like Tatum, was a third overall pick a year ago.
Brown admits it’s “pretty cool” that he’s the veteran of the summer league squad.
And while he’s more than willing to impart whatever knowledge he has on his less experienced teammates, Brown has something to prove this summer as well.
“I look at it as the same process,” Brown said. “I’m more experienced, but I’m an open book, an open canvas.”
Here’s a look at the Celtics’ schedule in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas (all times EST).
UTAH SUMMER LEAGUE
JULY 3: Boston vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m. (CSN)
JULY 5: Boston vs San Antonio, 7 p.m. (TAPE DELAYED TO 10PM ON CSN)
JULY 6: Boston vs Utah, 9 p.m. (CSN)
LAS VEGAS SUMMER LEAGUE
JULY 8: Boston vs Los Angeles Lakers at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Arena, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
JULY 9: Boston vs Portland at Thomas & Mack Arena, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
JULY 11: Boston vs Philadelphia, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
JULY 12-17: Teams seeded in a double-elimination playoff format to determine Vegas Summer League champion.