LAS VEGAS — When it comes to
Robert Williams , the Celtics refuse to say “never” about when the rookie will play again in this summer league.
Though the rookie center missed the Celtics’ 74-72 playoff win over Miami last night, there’s still a possibility Williams will play in today’s quarterfinal game against Portland.
In the meantime, Williams continues to get around-the-clock treatment on his sore left knee.
“I leave those decisions to the people above my pay grade,” said Celtics assistant coach
Jay Larranaga . “If
Ainge ) wants him to play, if Robert feels he can, if our training staff feels he’s not at risk of reinjuring it, we’d love to have him. It’s a short career. You only have so many opportunities to play basketball. When he’s healthy he’ll want to get out there and compete.
“He just keeps getting better and better. Who knows when he’ll be able to play, but he does seem to be getting better.”
Jabari Bird also sat out last night’s game, strictly for rest purposes.
“He’s been doing so much for the team, it was good to give some other guys a try,” said Larranaga.
Stevens’ low profile
Brad Stevens , a relatively quiet presence throughout this summer league, left Friday to finally enjoy some family-oriented, non-NBA activity.
And as happens every year around this time, the Celtics head coach had absolutely no worries about leaving the job in the hands of a top assistant — this year it’s Larranaga.
“I think that’s something that’s pretty consistent among our group,” Stevens said earlier in the week. “All our assistants do a really good job. They’re really thoughtful, they put in a lot of work, but they don’t change their personalities. They are who they are and they’re really good at what they do and I appreciate them for that.”
Larranaga is now coaching his second summer league, though every assistant on the staff has received at least one chance at the helm, including
Micah Shrewsberry ,
Jerome Allen ,
Jamie Young and
Walter McCarty , who has since departed for his first job as a head coach at the University of Evansville.
Though he briefly took the floor this year to conduct a quick clinic on the proper way to set a pick during a game-day shootaround, Stevens likes his silent role.
“I very, very rarely will say anything,” he said. “All individual. Most of my conversations are just individual with the players. . . . I try to stay out of it.”
Zizic lands trip home
Ante Zizic , long forgotten by some after his inclusion in last year’s
Isaiah Thomas /
Kyrie Irving swap, had some offensive deficiencies that were exposed during his first summer league with the Celtics in 2017.
So the 7-footer started off hot for the Cavs this time around. He had a 16-point, 14-rebound performance against Washington on the first night. He followed with 25 points and 11 boards against the Bulls.
He also sprained an ankle in that game, effectively ending his summer league. But he was also thrilled when Cavs summer league coach and former Celtics player
James Posey allowed him to fly home to Croatia Friday.
Now he gets to watch today’s World Cup final between Croatia and France at home in Zagreb. It helps when he knows he has a job.
In the void that
LeBron James has left behind in Cleveland, there will be opportunities for many players, including the Croatian big man.
“He’s been waiting for this opportunity to play. Unfortunately he had a little tweak in his ankle and had to miss some of these games, but he’s been working hard all season long for the summer league,” said Posey.
Little knowns in play
Several of the Celtics’ free agents have taken care of their part in a rather thankless free agent landscape. Their play has put them on the NBA scouting map.
Pierria Henry , whose European and Asian career has included stops in the countries of Georgia, Germany, Israel and Turkey, was leading the Celtics in assists (4.5) and steals (2.3).
Hassan Martin , the former Rhode Island star who spent a year in Japan, is team rebounding leader at 4.5, while also scoring nine points a game.
“We tried to know as much about them before they got here as possible,” said Larranaga. “
Evan Bradds and
Tony Dobbins (video assistants) did a good job of putting together an edit so we did have a good feel for them when they got here.”
This news has been published by title Boston Celtics Rookie Jabari Bird Remains Around Team: \'I Want To Be Here As Long As Possible\'
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