Eastern Notes: Smart, Sixers, Mitchell

Celtics rookie Marcus Smart has begun practicing but is still limited in what he is able to do on the court, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com reports. Head coach Brad Stevens is eager for Smart to return to action but stressed that Smart would only return when the player felt comfortable, notes Forsberg. “I think, obviously, you want him to be as close to pre-injury [health] as possible, otherwise he shouldn’t be full-go,” Stevens said. “Is there a transition period? Absolutely. But sometimes in those first couple days, you’re so excited to be back out that you actually play pretty darn well. So it’s just a matter of him getting back out here and it’s more about the conditioning than anything else right now, just because he hasn’t done anything on the court, physically, as far as 5-on-5, in the last three weeks.”

Here’s more from the east:

  • With the Celtics‘ early-season record a disappointing 4-8, Stevens said that he doesn’t sense any overwhelming frustration among his players, Forsberg writes in a separate article. “I don’t sense the frustration level to be as high as maybe it’s made out to be, because a lot of that is made out after a game where you lose close and, that soon after, everybody’s disappointed, everybody is — you lose a little perspective immediately after a game,” said Stevens.
  • “Everyone in the league knows” that some sort of lottery reform is on its way, even though the owners rejected the league’s last proposal, writes Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. The widespread negative perception of the Sixers‘ radical rebuilding hasn’t changed in front offices around the league, as Berger notes. One GM told Berger that aside from Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams and Joel Embiid, the majority of Philly’s players wouldn’t be claimed off waivers if the Sixers were to release them.
  • When Detroit assigned Tony Mitchell to the Grand Rapids Drive earlier today he became the first player that the Pistons have sent to their new D-league affiliate, as Peter J. Wallner of MLive.com examines. Mitchell is expected to return to Detroit on Thursday.
  • Michael Carter-Williams has been struggling for the Sixers since returning to the lineup after his preseason injury. If the young point guard hopes to remain a part of the team’s future he’ll need to improve his decision-making with the ball and his body language when things don’t go well, Michael Kaskey-Blomain of Philly.com writes.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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