Celtics

Celtics

LAS VEGAS – The Boston Celtics have played four summer league games, but only one player has played and started in every game … and his name isn’t Marcus Smart.

It’s Jordan Mickey, the team’s second round pick who may end up being one of the bigger steals in last month’s NBA draft.

And while there’s motivation to perform well being in the NBA, Mickey says he has an added incentive for being selected later than he expected.

“I feel like I should have been a first round pick,” Mickey told CSNNE.com. “I can’t control what other teams did. I’m thankful for the Celtics picked me when they did.”

Indeed, Mickey was a player that the Celtics had great interest in which is why they brought him back for a second workout.

There was some thought about taking him with the 28th pick, but Boston elected to go with R.J. Hunter – a player who had been projected to go as high as the mid-teens – with that selection.

Mickey has shown in summer league play a more well-rounded game that he acknowledges wasn’t on display often when he played at LSU.

But since he declared for the draft, he went about working on his face-up game and low-post offensive moves as well as some ball-handling, knowing he’ll have to show growth in all those areas if he is to have the kind of NBA career he envisions.

So far, Mickey has been able to deliver on the things that got him on the NBA radar (defense, rebounding and blocking shots) while displaying a better offensive game than expected.

In four summer league games (three in Salt Lake City and one in Las Vegas), Mickey has averaged 11 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots while shooting 54.5 percent (18-for-33) from the field.

“I definitely want to show that I have the capability of scoring the ball,” Mickey said. “I hang my hat on defense, rebounding and blocking shots. But I have to show I can score some too, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that so far.”

Mickey is well aware of the moves and pending moves of the Celtics in terms of their frontcourt.

In addition to a returning frontcourt that includes Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller, Boston also re-signed Jonas Jerebko along with adding free agent big man Amir Johnson. And that doesn’t include a pending trade with Golden State that will net the Celtics two-time all-star forward David Lee.

As talented as those players are, Mickey has made a compelling case for himself to hang around well beyond the summer.

And the feedback he has been getting from the team leaves him feeling as though they like what they have seen from him thus far.

“As far as I know, they love me,” Mickey said. “They think I’m doing great. I just want to continue to impress everybody around.”

And in doing so, he’ll only make it harder for Boston to not include him in their 15-man roster.

“I’m trying,” Mickey said with a grin. “I’m trying.”