Celtics youth well served by playoff experiences

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Celtics youth well served by playoff experiences

Post by bobheckler on Sat May 12, 2018 5:14 pm


Celtics youth well served by playoff experiences

Tatum, Brown, Rozier gain playoff experience

Mark Murphy Saturday, May 12, 2018

CROWD PLEASER: Jayson Tatum celebrates as he walks off the Garden floor after the Game 5 victory against the 76ers.
Credit: Matt Stone

WALTHAM — Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were children when LeBron James first went up against the Celtics in the playoffs.

“Yesterday they showed a flashback of him playing against the Celtics and all that and we were young,” Rozier said after yesterday’s practice. “His first Eastern Conference final I think Jayson Tatum was 9, so it’s just all unique and I remember days like yesterday, watching with my friends, watching him play against the Celtics, watching him make his push in the playoffs and now I get to go against him.

“I can’t put it into words. I’m excited but at the same time I want to compete and beat him. You always get to have that on your resume forever. That’s something I want to do. It’s a lot of fun. It’s something I look forward to, something we all look forward to and are all excited about.”

This is about more than resume material, of course. The absences of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward have thrown a load of responsibility on Celtics youth, with Rozier, Tatum and Brown filling that void with surprising success.

Rozier’s baptism by fire came as a rookie in the first round of the 2016 playoffs against Atlanta, when he was thrown in after Avery Bradley went down in Game 1 with a strained hamstring. Brown logged significant playoff minutes as a rookie last year, and Tatum is doing the same as a starter now, currently with a seven-game streak of 20 or more points.

Coach Brad Stevens clearly developed a framework that allows young talent to thrive.

“A lot of our guys have been thrown into the fire,” said center Al Horford. “It’s been designed that way so guys can develop and learn as they go. One of the things that helps them is the way coach helps them prepare, and the way he teaches the game. He teaches all of us the game as the season goes on. He’s constantly teaching us things that we can work on to get better.

“It’s not going to be perfect, but one thing the coach always talks about is effort. Our young guys are not perfect all the time, but everybody gives effort. Sometimes that trumps a lot of the mistakes and things like that. I think coach understands and that’s why we get such positive results from this group of guys.”

And when effort trumps mistakes, the result is growth.

“Maybe early in the season I was worried about making mistakes, but now I’m just a lot more calm and relaxed,” said Tatum, whose growth was accelerated by the opening night loss of Hayward to a broken ankle.

“We’re all here for a reason, and we all work hard,” said Rozier. “Jaylen and Jayson were drafted way higher than me, but the opportunity is the same when you get that chance. They’ve taken advantage of it all year. They come in with a professional attitude, and it’s an opportunity to get better. Gotta answer it when it comes knocking at your door. That’s what I did my first two years, and that’s all I see. This organization does a great job of making everyone feel as important as the most important guy.”

Rozier also doesn’t look at his own NBA beginnings as a sudden toss into the fire.

“I kind of watched, so when Avery got hurt I knew what was going to happen,” he said. “It’s not as if I didn’t play the first couple of games and then the coaches just threw me out there. I had a chance to prepare and know I was going to play some minutes. Get ready and step up to the plate. Kind of worked out good. It makes you feel more comfortable the way things are here. If you do make a mistake, you know you can always make up for it in the defensive end. Knowing you’re going to make mistakes, if you’re comfortable you’re going to be fine.”

MY NOTE:  In Brad's 2nd season we won 40 games and squeaked into the playoffs.  There were some who preferred to not make the playoffs and be in the lottery again and pray to the basketball gods for some help with the pingpong balls.  My position was and is that playoff experience, regardless of the results, is an investment that can be earned but not bought nor assumed.  Jaylen's playoff experience last year is paying off this year.  Same with Smart and Rozier.  And Tatum, next year?  He is already going for his 7th 20+ point game in a row.  Next year, thanks to this year's playoff run, will be a monster and it will be because of all he is learning now.


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Re: Celtics youth well served by playoff experiences

Post by fierce on Sat May 12, 2018 8:37 pm

When the team already has a core of young players then it's a good thing to be in the playoffs.

But when the team has no core for the future then making the playoffs and getting eliminated in the 1st round is a waste of time and effort.

The 2014-15 Celtics that won 40 games is a classic example of how you should not try to make the playoffs when you don't have a core of players that's going to be there now and in the near future.

All the starters of that 2014-15 Celtics team are gone.
Sully and Bass are not even in the NBA anymore.

That 2014-15 Celtics team were not supposed to make the playoffs.
But when the Celts traded for Isaiah Thomas, the Celts went on a run after the all-star break.

It's a good thing the Celts got lucky because they ended up with Rozier with the 16th pick.

Danny Ainge was desperately trying to get in the lottery so that he could pick Winslow that year.
In the end it all worked out for the Celts.

The point is there's a right time for everything.

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