“I fantasize about being the sixth man, being a starter who comes off the bench,” he said last week. “That’s really what it is, being a vet who can slow the game down, control the pace, and help this team finish games.”
Brogdon and Smart share court often, of course, and Brogdon is optimistic they can thrive together.
“I think we have different strengths,” he said. “He’s a MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, and he’s great in that aspect, but I also think he contributes offensively. I’ve seen his game grow and I’ve seen him be able to drop shots and create them for his teammates.
“And we can both play on and off the ball. That’s the beauty of us. We’re smart, we have high IQs, and we’re selfless, so I think it will work out well.”
Danilo Gallinari suffered a potentially season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear while playing for Italy in a World Cup qualifier, which is unfortunate, but it’s hardly crushing the Celtics. Gallinari, 34, is likely to play around 20 minutes per game. His size and 3-point shooting could have helped, but he’s a limited defender.
Yes, that leaves the front court rather thin. But last season, third-string quarterback Daniel Theis came out of the rotation anyway, and the Celtics will have plenty of small-ball options on the bench as they add Brogdon and get a full season out of Derrick White.
Some have been calling for the Celtics to quickly replace Gallinari with a veteran free agent like Carmelo Anthony, but there is no urgency. I’m told they’d rather see what they have in 6-foot-8 pitcher Sam Houser, give a few extra minutes to younger players, and see how some of the training camp battles unfold.
If it turns out that there is still a clear need, there will always be veteran free agents available, or opportunities to get one via trade.
▪ When players suffer serious injuries over the summer, there are questions as to why they didn’t bubble wrap until the start of the season. But Gallinari wasn’t exactly swimming through a shark tank with a friend attached to his feet. He only played basketball for his national team. Injuries occur.
▪ Well this has been an interesting month as everyone has been working on a potential deal for Kevin Durant. On behalf of my fellow NBA journalists, we appreciate Durant and the Nets for providing fodder during what is usually the quietest month of the year.
But there was much ado about nothing. League sources insisted for weeks that the Nets had no intention of actually trading Durant, as evidenced by some outrageous prices that provided at least some good laughs. Boston, for example, has never been close to a Durant deal. onwards.
▪ The Celtics received some praise in ESPN’s annual survey of 15 executives, coaches and scouts.
The Celtics and Bucks each received seven votes to win the Eastern Conference, and the Celtics were picked to win the NBA title in four ballots.
Six team members said the Celtics had the best of the season, and one called the acquisition of Brogdon the most surprising move of the summer. Two also said Celtics star Jason Tatum would be the best player in the NBA in five years.
Tribute to longtime Herald writer Mark Murphy, who announced his retirement Monday after more than 34 years at the paper. Murphy was the last remaining member of the beat who covered the team during the Larry Bird era, and he’s one of the real good guys in the industry, even if he works in competition.
Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @employee.