Celtics

Yabusele expects to be on Celtics summer league roster

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Yabusele expects to be on Celtics summer league roster

ROXBURY, Mass. – The Boston Celtics shocked many on draft night last week when they selected French forward Guerschon Yabusele with the 16th overall pick.

Well here’s another unexpected twist involving Yabusele: He said he plans to be on the Celtics’ summer league team which begins play next week in Salt Lake City.

“My agent is working in France to do something for me, to be able to play in summer league,” Yabusele said.

Like most NBA rookies, Yabusele is eager to get on the floor and get his first taste of NBA basketball this summer.

“That’s a dream come true,” Yabusele said. “When I was young thinking about the NBA all the time. I knew it would happen at some point.”

But the 20-year-old forward isn’t focused on testing the NBA waters and returning to overseas play soon.

“Not just stay three years or four, but stay all my life in the NBA,” he said.

Yabusele made the announcement following the Boston Celtics’ rookies (minus Ante Zizic) all participating in a basketball clinic at the Madison Park Community Center as the Boston Celtics celebrated their 50th Renovation project since 2008.

The news isn’t quite as optimistic for fellow international Celtic Ante Zizic who is not likely to have his contract situation overseas worked out in enough time to join Boston for summer league play in Salt Lake City and afterwards in Las Vegas.

Still, Yabusele getting a shot to play now is huge both for his own personal growth and that of the Celtics to get a better feel for how their first-round pick stacks up against fellow rookies and young teammates like Jordan Mickey.

This past season, Yabusele averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 28.7 minutes with Rouen Metropole Basket in the LNB Pro A league in France. He appeared in 34 games and grabbed 10 or more rebounds 11 times while tallying eight double-doubles.

Jayson Tatum gets rave reviews from Celtics teammates after practicing

Jayson Tatum gets rave reviews from Celtics teammates after practicing

For anyone still sweating whether Jayson Tatum will be able to pick up where he left off when the NBA season restarts later this month, Daniel Theis has an encouraging scouting report.

“[A lot of teammates] look great, especially JT,” said Theis. "He walked in the first day and couldn't miss a shot.”

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The Celtics started mandatory workouts Wednesday and Theis said that he’s crossed paths with most of his teammates as they shuttle through for individual work while ramping up activities in advance of relocating to Orlando next week.

"I know since the facility opened that I think everybody was around, working out,” said Theis. "I've seen the same faces every day because we have certain time slots. So I know Gordon [Hayward] is one of the first guys in the gym at 8 a.m., so I don't see him when I come in at 11. But I just know that everybody is really working and everybody looks good. Talking to players, coaches, everybody really used the time wisely to stay in shape, lifted as much as possible, and now just going back to basketball. I see guys like Kemba [Walker], JT, Enes [Kanter], I see those guys every day.”

Last month on The Enes Kanter Show podcast, Kanter pointed to Theis as the player that had most impressed him in individual drills. Theis stayed in the Boston area instead of relocating to his native Germany during the break and said the time off helped him get his body ready for what’s ahead.

"Overall, I think it was good for me, too, the break we had,” said Theis. “Just to get my body even more ready for the playoffs and for the rest of the season. Just my knees —  more lifting, more rehab because, in-season sometimes, it’s hard to get a lift in between games so I used the time really wisely. Just lifted a lot.”

Theis tore his meniscus during his first season in Boston and admitted he felt the lingering effects in recent seasons. He’s worked hard in the weight room to keep that knee strong and the shutdown could allow him to be particularly fresh entering the playoffs.

The Celtics will need a full-strength Theis, too. He’s Boston’s top option at the center position and could have to joust with the likes of Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo depending on Boston’s playoff path.

Theis said he’s eager to see what a healthy Boston team is capable of, especially on a neutral floor.

“From the basketball standpoint, I’m just excited,” said Theis. "I think it’s a great opportunity for us as a team and also every team has the same chance, because there’s no home-court advantage. It’s just about who is the better team on the court.”

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Footage of Kemba Walker's recent workout will get Celtics fans excited for NBA restart

Footage of Kemba Walker's recent workout will get Celtics fans excited for NBA restart

Boston Celtics fans don't have to wait too much longer to see their favorite team back on the court.

Training camps for the NBA's restart in Florida are expected to begin next week, with the eight seeding games scheduled to start July 30. Boston's first game back is against the Milwaukee Bucks on July 31.

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Many Celtics players have already made their way back to Boston to visit the Auerbach Center, where the team practices. Players have been going through workouts and getting up plenty of shots to fine tune their skills before traveling to Florida.

One of the players back in the gym is star point guard Kemba Walker. Check out footage from one of Walker's recent workouts in the video below:

It's good to see Walker's trademark smile hasn't gone anywhere.

Walker will be among the Celtics' most important players when the 2019-20 season resumes. He's the team's second-leading scorer and a player who head coach Brad Stevens can go to late in games when the team badly needs a bucket.

His last trip to the playoffs was with the Charlotte Hornets in 2016, when the Miami Heat eliminated them in an exciting seven-game series. Walker had most of the Hornets' scoring burden on his shoulders given the lack of talent around him. He doesn't have that problem in Boston. If Walker struggles, his teammates including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward will be ready to pick up the slack on offense.