Celtics

Brad Stevens pondering Smart move to starting lineup?

Brad Stevens pondering Smart move to starting lineup?

The plane ride home, particularly after along west coast road trip, is never a quick one.

It has an even longer feel about it when you come up short the way the Boston Celtics did with Sunday’s 100-94 loss being their fourth in five games.

“It’s been a disappointing trip,” Stevens said.

And when that disappointment extends for as long as we’ve seen with this team, the contemplation of making some kind of change – whether it be with the rotation or the starting lineup – has to be considered.

“I’d like to see us find some consistency at some point,” Stevens said. ‘I think that it’s not consistent, whatever our issues are.”

The first six games, Boston’s offense seemed to be the issue while the defense was rock solid most games.

Lately, it has been Boston’s defense that has been shaky while the offense has shown some growth.

And this loss had little to do with effort and everything to do with the team playing with the kind of hunger and sense of urgency, until it was too late.

“When we’re desperate and urgent we’re pretty good,” Stevens said. “We’ve got to do a better job and I have to do a better job of making sure we start games that way.”

And that’s where you may see Marcus Smart inserted into the starting lineup. 

Smart played just under 22 minutes against the Blazers, missing all three of his shots from the field.

However, he still managed to grab four rebounds, tally four assists and have a plus/minus of +1 which was tops among all Boston players who logged at least 20 minutes of court time.

The 6-foot-4 Smart has the versatility to play multiple positions which would certainly benefit Boston from a flexibility standpoint.

And while he’s not a shot-maker (he’s only shooting 32.8 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from 3-point range this season), there’s no mistaking the impact Smart has made on the Celtics offensively even when he’s not making shots.

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Danny Ainge confirms Delonte West worked for Celtics amid post-NBA struggles

Danny Ainge confirms Delonte West worked for Celtics amid post-NBA struggles

Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics indeed tried to throw Delonte West a lifeline.

The Celtics' president of basketball operations confirmed a report that the team hired West to scout games on the East Coast as a means to help the struggling former Boston guard, whose NBA career ended in 2012.

"Delonte has worked for us for a couple of years at times doing some college scouting in the (Washington) D.C. and Philly area," Ainge said Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich."

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Ainge also confirmed he's kept in touch with West "periodically" since West stopped playing.

"Delonte has obviously some troubles and some trials that he's trying to deal with in his life, and I just hope that he can fix his life and get back on a good path," Ainge said.

A video surfaced this week of a shirtless West sitting with his hands behind his back on a curb near Washington D.C., shouting something indecipherable toward the camera.

West said he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008 and has "struggled to find consistent work" after leaving the NBA, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

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Ainge claimed that West, the Celtics' first-round draft pick in 2004 who spent four seasons in Boston, was "excited" about his scouting opportunities with the C's.

But West reportedly delivered "mixed results" as a scout due to "fluctuating attendance" and doesn't currently work for the team.

"He's taken advantage of them," Ainge said. "I just think there's a lot going on in his life. It's very complicated, and I don't really want to get into any of that. He accepted the job opportunities."

Ainge added that the NBA Players Association and people close to West have also tried to assist him in any way possible.

"I know there's a lot of people that are praying and trying to do what they can to help," Ainge said.

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

Danny Ainge reveals awesome nickname for Celtics rookie Grant Williams

Danny Ainge reveals awesome nickname for Celtics rookie Grant Williams

Boston Celtics rookie Grant Williams has quickly become a fan favorite with his hustle and positive spirit, but he's gone most of the year without a true nickname.

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown joked in December that his teammates were calling Williams "Ben Simmons" before he finally made a 3-point shot after an 0-for-25 start to the season, but the 2019 first-round pick still needed a nickname.

Well, it appears we've found one.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich" show on Thursday morning, and when asked which player comes into his office the most, he revealed his nickname for Williams.

"This year? Oh for sure, Grant," Ainge said. "Kid's a crack-up. I call Grant the 'Geek Freak.'

"We talk about a lot of things in life, but he's a great kid. I really like Grant, but he really likes to talk. He can talk about anything. I think he had Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter offer to pay him $100 per game to not say anything in the locker room."

The nickname obviously is very similar to "Greek Freak", which belongs to Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, but we like this one for Williams. 

The C's rookie is a pretty smart kid. He played college basketball at the University of Tennessee for three years, and he was also recruited by Harvard and Yale. He majored in supply chain management, according to his profile on the Volunteers website.

Williams' basketball smarts have allowed him to see plenty of the court over the first half of his rookie season. He's not going to light up the stat sheet offensively at this stage of his career. but he defends multiple positions, rebounds well, gives great effort at both ends of the floor and typically makes good decisions with the ball in his hands.

Time will tell if "Geek Freak" sticks, but it's one of the best nicknames for Williams that we've seen so far.

Blakely: Walker here to get Brown and Tatum 'to another level'

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