Celtics

Marcus Smart (calf) officially cleared to return to Team USA

Marcus Smart (calf) officially cleared to return to Team USA

Marcus Smart has missed over a week of on-court action with Team USA due to a calf injury, but now he's been cleared to play as the team heads to Australia before the FIBA World Cup. 

Smart is one of 13 players remaining on Team USA's training camp roster. 12 will make the trip to China to play in the World Cup and with De'Aaron Fox's withdrawal, Smart's chances of making the cut improved greatly, if they were ever in question.

The Celtics' defensive anchor has to be eager to play with his Boston teammates Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who have all showed nice flashes during Team USA's intr-squad scrimmage and their exhibition against Spain Friday night. 

Team USA's next exhibition will take place against Australia on August 22, their second of four exhibitions before the World Cup begins for them on September 1. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Do the Boston Celtics need frontcourt help?

Do the Boston Celtics need frontcourt help?

The Boston Celtics are off to an 11-3 start to the 2019-20 campaign, which currently has them tied for first place in the Eastern Conference.

But if you're going to pick out one weakness on this year's C's squad, it's probably the frontcourt. It begs the question: Should they go out and get a legit big man on the trade market, or can they get by with the guys they have?

NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin and A. Sherrod Blakely weighed in on that very subject on the latest Celtics Talk Podcast.

"I am very hopeful when it comes to the frontcourt," Chin said. "I think that we have seen Robert Williams take steps particularly on the defensive end that I wasn't sure he could make, and I think if he continues on that trajectory and kind of figures out his positioning and hustles and plays hard, I think that that's going to be a huge help to the Celtics.

"And then additionally, Grant Williams. I am high on Grant Williams. The guy is so smart, and I know he is so undersized, but he's got so much heart and he is almost like a Marcus Smart 2.0 and he just wants to make plays. He just wants to impact winning, and I think there's value in that."

"I look at their situation the way that I would look at getting a new car," Blakely said. "How much is this going to cost me? How much am I going to have to lose in order to gain this new nice shiny vehicle? And to me, that's the issue that Danny Ainge has to grapple with.

"Because right now, he can get by with the group he has and they can make a little bit of noise in the playoffs, but you know that it is a weakness. You know that if you get a certain matchup, it could spell the end of your season. So you're going to need some luck on the way if you stick with the group that you have and make no significant changes."

Listen to the full episode below (frontcourt talks begins at 10:00 mark)

>CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE<

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Positive signs from Celtics west coast trip, Thanksgiving superlatives

Celtics Talk Podcast: Positive signs from Celtics west coast trip, Thanksgiving superlatives

A. Sherrod Blakely is joined by Abby Chin to break down the Celtics West Coast trip. They discuss their impressions of the Celtics now, and how they have changed from the start of the season. We also have some fun giving out some Thanksgiving superlatives. 

2:30 - How do we feel about the Celtics West Coast trip so far?  

5:00 - Has Jayson Tatum showed he can make the ‘leap’ to the next level? How much has he impacted the Celtics?

8:30 - Where do the Celtics rank in the Eastern Conference? What order is the top 3 right now? 

10:00 - Do the Celtics need some front court help? or as we confident in what they have now? 

13:30 - Is the buyout market the best spot for Danny Ainge to add a big man? 

16:00 - We give out our Thanksgiving-themed superlatives. Who’s the devourer of the drumstick? Stuffing the stats is...? Side dish superstar? 

30:00 - Who has been the biggest surprise player for the Celtics so far?

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 8 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.