BOSTON - On an average practice day, Nenad Krstic arrives early. He goes through plays with the second group, made up of other newly acquired teammates and rookie Avery Bradley.
Once practice starts, he runs through drills and schemes with the starting unit.
And when it's over, its back to work with the reserves.
Krstic is learning the Boston Celtics system from two different perspectives, which is helping him adjust quickly to his new team.
It helps a lot just to get rhythm, he told CSNNE.com. Its all about repetition and it helps everything.
On Wednesday night, Krstic looked more like a player who had been with the Celtics the entire season than someone who was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder just weeks ago when he scored 20 points against the Los Angeles Clippers.
In his best offensive performance of the season, he shot 7-for-10 from the field, 6-for-7 from the line, and grabbed six offensive rebounds (nine total). In spite of the Celtics' 108-103 loss, Krstics efforts gave a glimpse into the impact he can have on their offensive game.
Between the mid-range jumpshots and second-chance putbacks, he gives the Celtics additional options at the basket. He is averaging 13.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in his first six games with his new team.
Hes the one guy that they look at and say, You know what Rajon Rondo does, you know what the three of us do, and then hes out there, Ray Allen said. Hes developing a reputation himself because he can shoot the ball and he goes after those second-chance rebounds and he gives us extra possessions. So its good to have him in there because hes very mobile, very agile around the basket.
Just as the starters benefit from having Krstic in the lineup with them, he is also gaining a lot from being on the floor with them. In spite of all the time he has put in with the second group, running through drills with Allen, Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett has helped him get comfortable on the court.
Its better practicing with the starters because theyve been together a long time, he said. When one guy jumps in, its easier because everyone helps him up and picks him up and thats what kind of group they are. Its good and Im really happy to be here.
After Wednesdays loss, it was evident that spending time immersed in the Celtics system had already rubbed off on Krstic. He was quick to point out that in spite of his noteworthy game, the team didnt get the win.
It didnt take long for the Celtics we-not-me foundation to become the focal point of Krstics mentality.
Im happy to just be a part of the team, he said. Ive never been in this situation before, when Ive been traded in the middle of the season. Its hard when you go to a new team, a winning team, who is trying to win a championship. Coach gave me a chance and Im going to feel bad because we lost, but I feel like if he put me in and we struggle, I feel that its because of me.
I dont know if Im where I need to be defensively, but Im really happy how the team is progressing. This is the sixth game and I think Im just going to get better with each game and practice, too.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA