Eastern Notes: Celtics, Sixers, Granger

With the Celtics struggling and the team in a rebuilding season it is time for head coach Brad Stevens to give rookies James Young and Dwight Powell more playing time, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe opines. Both the players and the franchise would benefit more from seeing what the two can do against NBA competition, rather than letting them spend significant time in the D-League, Washburn adds. “I would say right now, their opportunities have to continue to be taken out of practice,” Stevens said of Young and Powell. “They have to be ready. You never know. You’re one injury away on the perimeter or the forward spot from those guys to be playing. And I think that’s part of the reason why you have so many guys on your roster. It’s why the young guys can’t be surprised when their opportunity comes. You’ve got to be ready.”

Here’s more from the east:

  • As injuries continue to mount for the Sixers, head coach Brett Brown is taking care not to push Nerlens Noel too far since the big man is struggling with a hip pointer that he suffered in practice on Sunday, Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com reports. “We hope to not go a step forward and three steps back because the kid is moving in the right direction,” Brown said. “We are going to go overboard making sure his health as we preach, is of number one importance. I expect him to be back soon, but I don’t know what that date is.”
  • After the Sixers‘ brutal season a year ago, which helped garner two top-10 picks in the NBA draft, Brown believed immediate help would be on the horizon, Dan Gelston of The Associated Press writes. But instead, GM Sam Hinkie drafted Joel Embiid, who will likely miss the entire season due to injury, and Dario Saric, who is playing overseas, Gelston adds. “I didn’t know it was going to be like this in Year two,” Brown said. “Nobody really planned on, your draft picks aren’t going to play in Year two.” Brown did say that he doesn’t regret for a minute that he accepted Philly’s head coaching job, notes Gelston.
  • Despite being available and healthy, Danny Granger has not seen much action for the Heat since returning from a strained hamstring, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Though he hasn’t called Granger’s number in the team’s last five contests, head coach Erik Spoelstra said the veteran is ahead of where the team thought he would be physically at this point of the season, Winderman notes.

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