WALTHAM — He was drafted a little more than a week ago, and he’s spent just three days’ worth of practice with the Celtics’ summer league entry. But Marcus Smart believes he’s already established his presence as a leader.
“Definitely,” the No. 6 overall pick said yesterday. “I’ve always grown up feeling like a leader. These guys embrace it and they allow me to be a leader, so it’s starting to get easier for me.”
Assistant Jay Larranaga is running the show for the summer set, but Smart’s bigger boss, Brad Stevens, has been keeping tabs on the situation.
“Leadership can show itself in a lot of different ways,” said the C’s coach. “There’s guys that never say a word that lead well. There’s guys that are very loud that lead wrong.
“But then you’ve got a guy like Marcus who really shows himself well in all of his work and has a good vocal about him. He just has a natural ability to be what would probably be defined as a guy that a lot of people would say, ‘That looks like a leader to me.’
“And what I’ve seen, he certainly has that ability. That’s his reputation. But, you know, leadership is not something that’s gained in two days. It’s gained through your everyday walk and how you do things, how consistent you are.”
Stevens expects Smart will continue to lead in whatever ways present themselves — by example, verbally, etc.
“Sure,” the coach said. “Does that mean that he has to officially be titled a captain? Does that mean that he has to be officially looked at as a leader by everybody? No. But he can do everything right. He can promote positive energy. He can give to others. That’s what leaders do. You can serve others.
“There’s so many different ways to lead. I think we all get caught up with personality being the No. 1 trait of a leader, and he’s got a great personality. But there are other things that go into it.”
Can’t rush Young
James Young, the other first-round selection by the Celtics in the NBA draft (17th overall), will be making the trip to Orlando for summer league, but there’s still some question about whether he’ll participate in the games, which begin tomorrow and end next Friday. The club still is being cautious with the 6-foot-6 swingman, who suffered a minor neck injury in a recent car accident.
“He did some more stuff (Wednesday) as far as non-contact on the bike, and he’s continuing to do some of that stuff,” said Stevens. “But I haven’t been given a timeline on it, and obviously, hey, he was in the car accident a couple of weeks ago.
“It’s summer league. We want to be very, very smart about this with him. He’s anxious to play. He’s antsy. He wants to. But at the same time, I want to be cognizant of the big picture.”
Keep it simple
Stevens has some simple goals for the trip to Florida and the five games and two full practices.
“Progress toward getting better in the big picture,” he said. “Continuing to have the young guys make progress on both ends of the floor, both in their individual game and in style of play.
“Certainly the non-contract guys is where you start with the evaluation — how they fit and how they stand out with things they do individually.”
Larranaga echoed that plan, saying, “Starting to develop the habits that will make us successful during the year. That’s offensively, that’s defensively, that’s approach to the game, approach to practice. I think the players have done a good job so far of that — and I would like to win, as well.”
The Celts already had begun practice in Florida last year when Stevens was back here holding his introductory press conference. Things are bit more calm this time around.
“Obviously night and day,” he said. “When I came here last year, I really didn’t want to interfere at all. And I’m trying my best to not do that again, but we’ve all been together a year, and . . . it’s all progress within our system now. That’s a really good thing, and that’s the benefit of having some continuity.” . . .
The Celts open play tomorrow morning at 11 against the Miami entry. Smart is looking forward to it.
“Even though it’s summer league, it’s still going to be a big deal because it is my first game, and you’re going to be playing against pro competition,” he said.
Its been a week since the draft... and no contact between our designated leader, Captain Rondo and newbie MSmart.
No "Welcome aboard... this is your captain speaking" from R9R.
No "Good luck... look forward to playing with you."
Apparently Rondo is... ahem.... "out of town."
So who will fill the leadership vacuum?
Brad is hinting at it already.