BOSTON — The Boston Celtics are wasting no time in getting rookie point guard Marcus Smart acclimated to the big leagues.
The No. 6 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft will get the starting nod at point guard in the Celtics preseason opener Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers in place of an injured Rajon Rondo.
“There’s always nerves,” said Smart of his emotions before his debut. “First game at a different level is always going to bring nerves. But you just have to figure out how to calm them down.”
Smart was questionable heading into the contest with a tweaked groin, but team trainers gave him the go ahead to play. Smart will be joined by Avery Bradley, Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk in the starting five. Don’t expect that group to be the starting five when the season begins though, as head coach Brad Stevens said before the contest.
“As I told our players today, (the lineup) is by no means set in stone,” Stevens said. “And it’ll probably change throughout the preseason. So, I anticipate Bass will be starting further down the preseason some, I anticipate when Jeff [Green] comes back he’ll be starting. This will be fluid at least for the first week or six games probably.”
Green is out of action due to a calf injury but he is aiming to return for the team’s next preseason game Wednesday night against the Knicks.
“It’s only the preseason,” Green noted. “Not like it’s the regular season. It’s only been two days. I’m in no rush right now. I’m trying to get to 100 percent.”