WALTHAM, Mass. – When Brice Johnson finished his workout for the Celtics on Saturday morning, he wasn’t the least bit in the mood to linger around much.
After shaking a few hands and saying his goodbyes to other players and the coaching staff, Johnson made a beeline for the locker room to get off his feet.
That’s how it is when you’re globetrotting across the country trying to impress teams ahead of the NBA draft this Thursday night.
It’s a grind. Then there’s Johnson’s five-workouts-in-six-days kind of grind.
“It was just, let’s get it done,” Johnson said. “It’s a grind. It started to catch up to me at the end of this workout today.”
Austin Ainge, the Celtics' director of player personnel, didn’t know the C's were at the end of what was a pretty grueling schedule for Johnson.
“He [Johnson] played well, especially considering...he’s been through the ringer,” Ainge said.
Ainge added, “It matters. A lot of guys would have told their agent, ‘I don’t want to do it. I’m tired.’ But he pushed through and he played well.”
Johnson wasn’t the only player working out for Boston to come in having gone through a tough stretch of workouts.
“I thought I would be able to go home once [by now],” quipped UNLV big man Stephen Zimmerman. “My agent made sure I’m not going home.”
Following Zimmerman’s workout with the Celtics, he said he can now go home for the first time in three weeks.
“At first I packed to leave for four days,” said Zimmerman following his 11th workout with one more scheduled before Thursday. “I’ve had the hotels to wash my clothes a couple times. It’s definitely a grind. But I’m working out for NBA teams; I can’t really ask for more.”
Gary Payton II was also among those to workout for the Celtics on Saturday morning.
Payton said afterwards that it was his 11th workout leading up to the draft.
And oh yeah, he has two more scheduled – one with the Milwaukee Bucks and another with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Even if he is the son of NBA great Gary Payton, his father’s words of wisdom still would not have fully prepared him for the challenges that come with going from city to city trying to make the best impression possible on an NBA team.
“It’s a challenge for everybody,” Payton said. “Just getting used to the traveling, taking care of your body, getting as much sleep as you can and staying mentally strong.”