Yesterday the Boston Celtics held a press conference to introduce the two newest players to don the Celtic green, Marcus Smart and James Young. It was your basic introductory press conference with cliché questions and typical answers, but I found it revealing in certain ways.
First off, Celtic fans should be feeling great about their front office. In the shadow of the disaster that was Jason Kidd’s attempted takeover of the Nets and escape to the Bucks, the Celtics have one of the most solid leadership groups in basketball.
Danny Ainge has proven that he can build a championship caliber team and Brad Stevens has the potential to be the next Phil Jackson in regard to getting the most out of his players. I can’t think of another general manager/head coach combination in the league that has the potential for as much success and longevity as Ainge and Stevens.
Brad Stevens was especially impressive. That isn’t a profound statement and has been made in many forms throughout the last year, but watching that press conference, I can tell why players love playing for him. One little thing stood out; for example, Smart was asked a question about his defense and who he would guard. Smart mentioned how in college he could guard anyone from point guards to power forwards, but he won’t be able to guard NBA fours.
Stevens made a small comment about how Smart underestimates himself and that he could probably guard a couple of power forwards in this league. It wasn’t anything big, but I could tell that Stevens meant it, and even if he didn’t completely believe it was true right now, it was apparent that he had the belief that through his coaching and Smart’s dedication, Smart would be capable of shutting down a power forward when all is said and done.
Both Ainge and Smart were full of praise for Young. Smart praised Young’s competitiveness, comparing it to that of his own. Ainge voiced his opinion about Young being Kentucky’s best player at times, which was especially true late in the season: Young was Kentucky’s leading scorer in the semifinal vs. Wisconsin and the final vs. UCONN, as well as the leading rebounder in the championship game.
In regard to both Smart and Young, it was mentioned how the Celtics didn’t expect either to be available for them to select, and that they were both chosen for their defensive prowess. Granted, I’m sure every single team said the exact same thing about the players they selected being the ones they wanted all along, but the defensive aspect rings true. Smart and Young will be great defensive players, and along with Avery Bradley, they are going to contribute to some low scoring games for opposing teams.
The best part of the conference however, was when Marcus was introduced and was called a, “Smart,” player. If the Celtics can be half as good as the front office’s puns this season, it should make for an entertaining year.