BOSTON - It's getting closer to Mickey time.
The Celtics used the 33rd pick of the draft this past June to select Mickey, who was subtly recognized as one of the steals of the draft.
He flashed his potential in the summer league and preseason, but Mickey has hardly seen the floor in Boston. He's made the most of his assignemnt, becoming a D-League star in Maine.
After walking away from Thursday's 119-112 win over the Texas Legends with a 12-point, 13-rebound and 10-block triple-double, Mickey has made it clear that he will be a key piece in the Celtics rotation down the road.
"I've been saying since the summer that I thought Jordan was special," said RJ Hunter, who scored 28 points alongside Mickey Thursday before suffering a shoulder subluxation late in the game that has him out day-to-day.
"He just plays hard. He protected me on a few blow-bys [Thursday] just beating it off the glass, running the floor. Jordan's going to be special, man. It's exciting to see him in that environment too."
Mickey is averaging 18.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in 15 games as the starting center for the Red Claws, while leading the D-League with 4.9 blocks per game. He is 1.8 blocks per game ahead of Daniel Orton, who is second on the leaderboard.
But no matter how well he is playing for Maine, he is stuck behind a long list of proven veteran big men on the Celtics roster.
"We do have a logjam," Stevens said. "That's the reality of our situation. And to his credit he's made the most of it by staying in a rhythm by playing up there (with the Maine Red Claws)."
While Mickey may have to wait until after a potential roster shake up in February for his chance to crack the rotation, Stevens is seeing indicators that he will be a rotation player in the near future.
"Some things that (he does) will really be able to translate [to the NBA], I think," Stevens said. "And some things that he just needs to continue to improve upon. He's closer to ready than ever before because of his continued work."