Clarke ready to add 'energy and effort' to Celtics


Clarke ready to add 'energy and effort' to Celtics

WALTHAM -- Brad Stevens had said after the team bought out David Lee that when they do sign a 15th player, it would have nothing to do with the "name".

In other words, just because you are considered to be a good NBA player, doesn't mean you're a good fit for the Celtics.

And the Celtics held true to that on Monday when they signed a player whose name isn't well known outside of the Celtics organization: Coty Clarke.

Clarke, listed as a 6-foot-7 forward, has spent the entire season with the Celtics' D-League affiliate Maine Red Claws after being on the C's training camp roster and making one preseason appearance.

But despite being cut before the regular season, Celtics front office staff, coaches, and even players have been keeping an eye on his progress up in Maine.

Through 39 games  he's averaging 16.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 26.0 minutes per game. He's also shooting 50.8 percent from the floor, 38.8 percent from three and 79.2 percent from the free-throw line.

“First and foremost, as I told our team today, he was by no means given a 10-day," said coach Brad Stevens. "He was rewarded (for) his great play. He really has played great. Our front office has been thrilled about him and thrilled about his play in Maine the whole year. We obviously have a familiarity with him from being here in the fall, and so we thought it was a great opportunity to bring a guy on board while we have some practice time to really get a chance to evaluate him within our system, with our team, as the season has progressed. He’s kind of an undersized shooting forward and so we’ll see how it all goes from there. But he’s had a really nice year.”

All that being said, don't expect to see Clarke in any games. Maybe if the Celtics find themselves up 30 or down 30 that could change, but by the sound of things it feels like Clarke will get his looks during practice. They're in a good place as far as the rotation and rhythm is concerned, and Kelly Olynyk is due back soon.

Clarke got word of the signing after Sunday's game for the Red Claws, in which he scored 22 points. Though he appeared cool, calm, and collected after Monday's practice, he said he was excited after getting the initial word and called his family to share the news.

Clarke is ready to contribute in any way he can by doing what he does best.

"Just energy and effort," Clarke said. "Help guys get better each and everyday, and bring that toughness that this team likes to play with."

“I think he’s a good rebounder. I think he’s a good player," Stevens said. "He knows how to play. I think what really translates here is his ability to stretch and shoot, and then hopefully bring some good versatility defensively."

It helps that Celtics players are familiar with him from before the season and understand the work he's put in this season.

"He was with us in training camp," said Kelly Olynyk. "Great kid, been following him in the D-League obviously with Maine and he's been putting up some great numbers down there not only shooting the ball well but rebounding and passing the ball well. Double-digit assists the other night. So he's a great guy, a really, really tough worker, hard worker, and he's a great guy to have around."

Clarke may not get the chance to impress Celtics fans over the next 10 days, but he can definitely do plenty to impress the people making the decisions on his NBA future. Danny Ainge has turned players who started on 10-day contracts into multi-year non-guaranteed deals in the past (Chris Johnson and Chris Babb are two recent oens) and Clarke has a good chance at being the next one.

So what's his goal over the next 10 days?

"That [the Celtics] made the right decision, by bringing me into training camp, putting me down the D-League and showing that I can play at this level," he said. "Just showing that, 'Hey I'm here, I'm ready to work and you got a guy that you should keep.'"

WATCH: Kyrie Irving shows off some vintage moves in All-Star Game

USA TODAY Sports Images

WATCH: Kyrie Irving shows off some vintage moves in All-Star Game

Kyre Irving flirted with a triple-double (13 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists) as a starter for Team LeBron in Sunday night's All-Star Game in Charlotte, as LeBron's team came back to beat Team Giannis 178-164 to close out the weekend's festivities.

Irving, who was held out of the Celtics' last two games before the All-Star break with knee concerns, didn't appear to look too bothered as he glided up and down the Spectrum Center floor.

There was this crafty up-and-under on the Nuggets' Nikola Jokic:

And when Team LeBron pulled ahead late, Irving lobbed one up for his former Cavaliers teammate in an alley-oop that recalled finer days in Cleveland:

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