LAS VEGAS -- There’s a chance that Celtics first-round pick Romeo Langford won’t play a single game in summer league as his right thumb continues to heal.
Still, he’ll be the first to tell you that there’s still value in him being with the team as they gear up for their first summer league game on Saturday against Philadelphia.
Langford will be on the bench, soaking in the teachings of the coaching staff while visualizing what he would do in various situations when his opportunity to play comes around.
“It’s going to be a learning experience; definitely,” Langford said.
It’s still early but Langford has already learned a valuable lesson that most young players don’t get to experience, and that’s how to maximize time away from the court.
Langford has made improving his perimeter shot a priority, which is in part why he has done some drills with a ping-pong paddle attached to his hand.
“It’s different, for sure,” Langford said. “It’s really going to help me in the long run.”
And that in many ways sums up the approach taken by the Celtics with Langford.
Selected with the 14th overall pick last month in the draft, Boston is in no hurry to get Langford on the floor as long as his thumb is less than fully healthy.
Langford finds himself having to rely on being patient, waiting eagerly for his chance, which may or may not happen during summer league.
“I’m guessing the plan is to kind of take it slow with him,” said Celtics assistant coach Scott Morrison who is coaching Boston’s summer league team. “To make sure he’s as strong as he can be by the time … it wouldn’t be worth re-injuring for two games in summer league.”
ROBERT WILLIAMS HAS LOST WEIGHT, NOT HIS SENSE OF HUMOR
The offseason has been one in which Robert Williams has put in his time working on improving his conditioning.
One of the byproducts of that hard work has been Williams reporting to summer league looking a lot leaner.
He says he has only lost six pounds, adding that the lost weight won’t have any impact on his play on the court.
“I’m still a problem,” quipped Williams.
Kendrick Ray is among the Celtics players on the summer league roster who would love to stick with the team.
But to do so would have additional meaning for Ray, whose older brother, Allen Ray, played one season (2006-07) for the Celtics. He appeared in 47 games (five starts) and averaged 6.2 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.
“That would be big for me,” Kendrick Ray said before adding, “any NBA roster is big. But you know, being as my brother played for the Celtics it would be big for me too.”
Kendrick Ray, 25, went undrafted in 2017 out of Kennesaw State, but has been a standout overseas, leading Cez Nymburk to the Czech League championship in 2018 while being named the league's MVP.
GRANT WILLIAMS' VERSATILITY
Grant Williams plays a number of different roles. You can add one - sort of - to the list following the Celtics’ practice in Las Vegas on Friday.
Langford was being interviewed by NBC Sports Boston when Williams was given a microphone by Celtics.com and began to gather sound from his teammate.
Langford was jokingly asked how many times he was going to dunk on Williams this year.
“It’s going to be about … I don’t have enough fingers,” quipped Langford.
And that brought about a response from Williams.
“Never been good at math, have you?” he said to Langford, bringing a smile to both players' faces.
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