Celtics

It may take some time for Demetrius Jackson to get his shot with Celtics

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It may take some time for Demetrius Jackson to get his shot with Celtics

Every weekday until Sept. 7, we'll take a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We continue today with Demetrius Jackson. For a look at the other profiles, click here.

BOSTON – As surprising as it was to see Demetrius Jackson slip all the way down into the second round on draft night in June, even more unexpected was the fact that the Celtics selected the 6-foot-1 playmaker despite having an already deep stable of guards.

Still, as much as the Celtics look for ways to improve their lot in the moment, you know Danny Ainge always seems to have an eye on the future.

And selecting Jackson with the 45th pick iwas indeed a selection for down the road.

A year ago Boston selected Terry Rozier with the 16th overall pick, a pick that was seen by many as a bit of head-scratcher, considering Boston already had Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas and Evan Turner in the fold.

MORE PROFILES: Jaylen Brown | Marcus Smart | Jae Crowder

Rozier didn’t play much in the regular season, but certainly made his presence felt in the postseason as Boston tried to overcome Bradley’s hamstring injury sustained in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against Atlanta.

Rozier parlayed that into a strong summer league showing and now looks poised to contend for a spot in the regular rotation.

Can Jackson have a similar ascension this season?

He’ll get a shot to prove himself in training camp later this month.

The ceiling for Jackson: Active roster

Joining a team with veterans at several positions, including his own, not much is expected from Jackson this season. Boston feels extremely fortunate to land a player with his potential and upside in the second round of the draft.

So, for him, finding a way to stay on the active roster other than because of injuries, would be a huge accomplishment. Without him, Boston has Thomas, Smart and Rozier as potential ball-handlers at the point. And while Jackson is a decent shot-maker, seeing him play off the ball isn’t likely because – you guessed it – Boston’s depth at that position.

The floor for Jackson: Lots of time in the D-League

Jackson’s multi-year deal with Boston is fully guaranteed for this season only. It’s the kind of commitment that tells you Boston has no plans of unloading him prior to the start of the season despite having 16 players with guaranteed deals, which is one more than the NBA allows prior to the start of the regular season.

A more realistic short-term expectation will be for him to spend a considerable amount of time this season shuffling back and forth between Boston and the Celtics’ Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

Spending time in the D-League isn’t so bad.

Last season, Rozier averaged a team-high 19.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 8.0 assists in 14 games with the Red Claws, which he said helped him keep his confidence relatively high even when he wasn’t seeing any action with the Celtics.

Boston big man Jordan Mickey was a D-League All-Star last season and he, too, has talked about the benefits of being a D-Leaguer.

In addition, veteran Celtics forward Amir Johnson spent most of his first couple seasons in the NBA toiling in D-League obscurity before getting his chance to play and prove himself to be a solid defender and rim protector.

It’s far too soon to tell if Jackson will be as fortunate as the Celtics’ other D-League success stories. But as has been the case when Boston has sent its drafted players to play for the Red Claws, Jackson will get every chance to showcase his game, which for a second-round pick coming into the NBA, is about all you can really hope for.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Difference between Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker apparent in recent press conferences

Celtics Talk Podcast: Difference between Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker apparent in recent press conferences

The 2019 NBA offseason has ensured that Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker will always be connected. When Irving spurned the Celtics after two seasons with the team to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Walker joined the C's and took over as their starting point guard.

The two players are similarly great scorers. They can pass the ball well and set up teammates, too. And while Irving is regarded by many as the better player in terms of skill set, there are some intangible things that Walker brings to the floor and Irving doesn't: leadership and chemistry.

And Irving and Walker's recent postgame comments after losses demonstrate that.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

On the latest episode of The Celtics Talk Podcast, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely were discussing the recent postgame interviews that the two did after rough outings and bad losses for their respective squads.

Click here to listen and subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast

Irving was far more focused on improving the team around him as opposed to his own poor performance. And as Blakely pointed out, it speaks to one of Irving's weaknesses as a leader.

Kyrie has yet to figure out how to make those around him better so that he can be a better winner. He is a great player. He's one of the best players in the NBA. There's absolutely no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

But he has yet to figure out how to elevate the players around him or carry himself with a level of humility that will ingratiate himself to his teammates who may not be as good as he is, but want to be great players nonetheless.

And Blakely also had one epic mic-drop moment about the former Celtic on NBC Sports Boston's "Boston Sports Tonight."

This completely juxtaposes Blakely's thoughts on Walker, who focused more on his poor performance and how he needs to play better for the sake of the team.

Kemba, flip-side of that, he didn't play great against Detroit. Was he the worst player? In the conversation, but he didn't play bad enough to where he was clear and undeniably the worst player on the floor.

And yet all he talked about in postgame was how he's got to be better. He's got to do a better job leading. It was me, me, me for the team, team, team. And that's something that you never hear from Kyrie.

Both Blakely and Draper acknowledged that they don't always like comparing the two to each other. But in this circumstance where their postgame pressers from similar games were polar opposites, they thought it had to be done.

It just about sums up why many Boston fans were happy to see Irving walk in the offseason. And Walker's positive attitude and ability to generate team chemistry has certainly been a breath of fresh air for the Celtics faithful.

For more on the Celtics game against the Bucks, their recent skid, expectations moving forward, and potential All-Stars from the team, check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, which drops weekly as part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Suns-Celtics, which begins Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Did C's fool us into thinking they're better than they are?

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Did C's fool us into thinking they're better than they are?

The Celtics have gone 17-12 since a 10-1 start. They're 4-5 in the new year and, after losing in Milwaukee on Thursday night, Boston is 7-8 against teams .500 or better.

On the latest Celtics Talk Podcast, it led Kyle Draper to ask our Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely, the inevitable question, Did a hot start make fans believe this team was better than it actually is?

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

"We had the cookies on the bottom shelf in terms of expectations," was Blakely's response. "If they just did anything else other than get their heads handed to them early on [to start the season], we're like, hey, they're pretty good."

Click here to listen and subscribe to the Celtics Talk Podcast

What's behind the recent slide that seen the C's lose five of their past seven? Blakely says it's the defense. 

"When you really start looking at what's happening lately, that defense is getting exposed," Blakely said. "[Enes] Kanter has had a great season, but the law of averages says he's going to go through a stretch where he's just not going to get it done. Look at Jaylen Brown, he's had a great season, so has [Jayson] Tatum, but they're going to go through stretches where they're not getting it done. 

"The defense is not making the plays they need to that's why teams are shooting high 50's low 60's [percent] against them." 

Draper and Blakely also touch on the loss in Milwaukee and if the C's have enough to compete with the best in the East, another up-and-down season for Gordon Hayward ("We have been on this ride before," said Blakely. "Gordon [will] go out and has an 8-for-10 game. And people are going to be like, In Danny [Ainge] we trust, Gordon's great..."), Kyrie Irving's recent comments on his Nets teammates and more in the podcast, part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Suns-Celtics, which begins Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.