With Marcus Smart and Grant Williams both gone, there could be an immediate role for second-round pick Jordan Walsh with the Celtics, writes Gio Rivera of NESN. The 19-year-old built a reputation as a strong perimeter defender during his freshman season at Arkansas and he may get an opportunity to do the same thing in the NBA.
At Summer League, Walsh showed off a scoring touch in addition to his defensive prowess, leading Boston with 16.0 points per game while shooting 42.2% from the field. The Celtics rewarded him with a four-year, $7.6MM contract, indicating that he’s considered part of their future.
For now, Walsh is enjoying the experience of preparing for training camp with some of his new teammates.
“To finally be here, to finally be with the team and finally able to play guys 1-on-1 in practice, it’s been the best time, it’s been fun,” Walsh said (video link). “… Today I was matching up against Derrick White the whole practice. Even playing defense against somebody like him, I always have something to learn. For him, being a leader on the team, being a point guard who steps into that point guard role, there’s a lot I can take from him and I was happy to be able to get a chance to play with him.”
There’s more on the Celtics:
- Kristaps Porzingis arrived in Boston on Wednesday and has been doing “light on-court work” to prepare for training camp, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Porzingis traveled with Latvia’s World Cup team even though he wasn’t able to play because of plantar fasciitis. The condition isn’t expected to affect him in camp, and other players are excited about what he can bring to the team. “I think he’s an unbelievable player who is obviously really tall and can affect the game in a whole different way that we haven’t had, with his ability to shoot and put it on the floor and attack those mismatches,” Payton Pritchard said.
- Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon is reportedly unhappy about how the team handled his elbow injury and Pacers guard Buddy Hield is looking for a trade after not getting the contract extension he wants, but Brian Robb of MassLive doesn’t expect them to be dealt for each other. In a mailbag column, Robb points out that Indiana isn’t likely to have interest in Brogdon after trading him to Boston last summer, while exchanging Brogdon for Hield doesn’t represent an upgrade for the Celtics.
- Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe places the Celtics second in his preseason NBA rankings. He has the team behind the defending champion Nuggets, although he admits there are questions surrounding Porzingis’ ability to stay healthy, White’s transition to starting point guard duties and offensive production from its centers.