Celtics

Tatum, Ojeleye and Theis describe 'Welcome to NBA' moment

Tatum, Ojeleye and Theis describe 'Welcome to NBA' moment

WALTHAM, Mass. – No matter how highly regarded a player is when they come into the NBA, there’s always a “Welcome to the NBA” moment.

Jayson Tatum has been praised by just about every player and coach on the Celtics’ payroll, which is a bit unusual for a rookie.

Often the flattery centers around the beyond-his-birth certificate wisdom he tends to play with.

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And then there’s Semi Ojeleye, a second-round pick who has the look of what the Celtics and most teams want to play more of which is position-less basketball.

He too had a few first-time experiences that served as a reminder that yes, this is the NBA not North Texas State or Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

We can't forget Daniel Theis, one of the big unknowns among Boston’s roster heading into this season. He is coming off a strong showing in EuroBasket 2017 for the German National team. He had a chance to play against some current and former NBA players which includes NBAers like Boris Diaw with France in addition to the Gasol Brothers (Marc and Pau) who played for Spain.

He too has picked up a few pointers in training camp that should help his transition to the NBA from overseas competition.

Here are the three rookies detailing their “Welcome to the NBA” moments from training camp.

 

JAYSON TATUM

Training camp began Tuesday and Tatum, eager to get going, recalls it being a pretty busy day.

“We had to be on the bus at 9:15 a.m., so I got up for breakfast around 8:15,” said Tatum. “Got on the bus, younger guys were on the court first. The older guys lifted. We went through defense, got some shots off and went through plays. After that, went back to the hotel and chilled, got a nap. It lasted about an hour.”

The second session was much more intense, Tatum said.

They did some four-on-four work, dummy defense work. . . situational stuff.

“You had to get stops, to win,” Tatum said.

During the drills, Tatum at one point found himself having to guard Al Horford who is a couple inches and about 20 pounds heavier.

“They didn’t give him the ball, but him just backing me down … he’s a grown man,” Tatum said.

Welcome to the NBA young fella!

 

SEMI OJELEYE

One of the first things that reminded Ojeleye that he was in a very, very different world (the NBA) compared to the world he knew (college), came during an early drill.

“It’s not like college when you get every rep,” Ojeleye said. “When you get in, you have to stay sharp.”

That has been at the forefront of Ojeleye’s thoughts throughout training camp.

And when asked if he had a particular “Welcome to the NBA” moment, Ojeleye grinned before saying, “yeah, a couple.”

When they play games that aren’t drill or situation-specific, often it involves players switching out defensively to guard someone other than the man playing their respective position.

Ojeleye knew before he became teammates with Kyrie Irving, that the four-time all-star was really fast and ultra-quick with the ball in his hands.

But to see it up-close and try to defend it … welcome to the NBA!

“He does what he does,” said Ojeleye, referring to Irving. “Him, Gordon (Hayward), all the guys; you know what kind of level it is. It’s great to be out here.”

 

DANIEL THIES

Having just played in EuroBasket 2017, Theis made his way to Boston the day after he and his German teammates lost to Spain.

Having already faced some current and former players overseas, Theis was feeling comfortable and confident that he would not have any major issues.

But as much as he could get a feel for the strengths of some of his new teammates, there was nothing he could do to combat or minimalize dealing with experienced veterans.

“He’s such a smart player,” Theis said, referring to Horford. “He just knows where to go, his patience when he has the ball, with the past. For his shot, it’s really nice.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

BEST OF BST PODCAST: Pelicans snap Celtics 7-game win streak

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BEST OF BST PODCAST: Pelicans snap Celtics 7-game win streak

0:41 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins BST to break down the Celtics loss to the Pelicans in overtime, which snapped Boston's 7-game winning streak, and talks about the dysfunction with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

4:24 - Michael Holley, Tom Curran, Phil Perry, and Tom Giles discuss Gregg Doyel's article where he expressed concern over the expected hiring of Josh McDaniels by the Colts because of his tenure in Denver.

10:13 - Celtics legend Jo Jo White passed away at the age of 71. Michael Holley and Tom Curran talk about the impact he had on the franchise.

13:49 - Phil Perry gives us his report card for each position from the Patriots win over the Titans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Anthony Davis delivers another monster performance, leading Pelicans past Celtics

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Anthony Davis delivers another monster performance, leading Pelicans past Celtics

BOSTON – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Tuesday’s 116-113 overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans which snapped Boston’s seven game winning streak while the Pelicans (23-20) have now won four of their last five games.

STARS

Anthony Davis: At no point was there a time when you didn’t feel as though this was Anthony Davis’ world and everyone else was just along for the ride. After scoring 48 points at New York on Sunday, Davis had another monster game with 45 points against Boston on 16-for-34 shooting along with 16 rebounds.

STUDS

DeMarcus Cousins: It was Cousins’ first win in Boston after six losses, and his play was huge. He finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans.

Jrue Holiday: It’s easy to forget that Holiday is a former All-star. He played like one on Tuesday, scoring 23 points to go with seven assists with huge baskets in the fourth and in overtime.

Kyrie Irving: After a brutal first half, Irving shook off the rust from the long lay-off from London to finish with a team-high 27 points.

Jaylen Brown: He was one of the Celtics more consistent scorers, tallying 16 points on 7-for-14 shooting to go with five assists.

Rajon Rondo: There wasn’t much court time for the former Celtic down the stretch, but Rondo’s impact was undeniable. He played just under 30 minutes and finished with seven points and eight assists with a couple steals and two blocked shots.

DUDS

Celtics turnovers: Boston turned the ball over 19 times which is high but not too outlandish. The bigger problem for Boston was the 32 points those miscues created for New Orleans which was the most by a Boston opponent this season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE