Boston Celtics are still missing two key pieces to their bench. While Marcus Smart could return soon, Kelly Olynyk is still weeks away.
The Celtics are 2-1 through the first three games of the 2016/17 NBA season. While the team has played okay in those three games, it is evident that the absence of both Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk has had an impact on the bench.
Smart, who sprained his ankle during the last game of the preseason, is expected to take part in Monday’s practice. His return will help immensely mostly due to the defensive pressure he can put on opposing guards. He also has the ability to create offense. When the team learned that they would be without him the first few games of the season, Jae Crowder spoke on the impact of Smart’s absence.
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"“Smart is a big loss to our second unit, as we know,” Crowder said via the Boston Herald. “He would help a lot. So we’re just trying to hold the fort down for the second unit as much as possible while Smart is out.”"
As far as Kelly Olynyk goes, it may take quite a bit longer before the Gonzaga product is able to go. The 7-foot big man has been recovering from off-season shoulder surgery and wants to make sure he is 100 percent before he returns.
"“I think we’re going to have to give it a few more weeks, get it as strong as you can and feel like you’re comfortable and ready to play and can take anything that’s thrown at you,” said Olynyk. “I think that’s probably what it’ll be. It’s when you feel ready to play, man. When you feel strong, feel confident, feel like you’re coming in to help the team.”"
Olynyk would provide scoring off the bench and could also provide some rebounding help due to his size. Both him and Smart add experience coming off the bench. In the meantime, young players like Terry Rozier and Jordan Mickey are getting some useful playing time which will only help the Celtics get stronger as a team once Olynyk and Smart return.
Jae Crowder’s princes party builds team unity
Second-year man Jordan Mickey promised the daughter of Jae Crowder that he would dress up as a Disney character for her princess-themed 3rd party. Mickey was supposed to dress as as an Aladdin character, but did his best to find a costume that would come close to mimicking Agrabah’s beloved thief.
The fact that Mickey stayed true on his promise shows the type of bond Celtics players have. Other young players, such as Terry Rozier came to the party dressed as Mickey Mouse. That type of commitment from teammates doesn’t go lost on Crowder who appreciates the brotherhood. He knows how much the relationships off the court can translate onto the basketball court.
"“It’s more than basketball. We’re trying to build a brotherhood. Trying to be there for one another,” said Crowder via ESPN. “I think it makes the game much easier to play once you have a good cohesion off the court. I think that’s big because you come into a locker room at the NBA level, there’s so much emotion, so much pride in the locker room. Off the court, we’ve never had that problem. We just always come together and be brothers, be there for one another. And it helps players unite with one another.”"
Veterans Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson were also at the birthday bash.