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Part II: emptying the Boston Celtics Summer League notebook

Summer League is for talking and CelticsBlog did lots of that!

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Summer League isn’t as much about the basketball on the court, as it is about everything off the court. Summer League is essentially the NBA’s version of Comic-Con. You don’t get to see the whole movie, but snippets of the movie. It’s about the festival atmosphere and spending time chatting with people all around the NBA. It can be players, coaches, front office folks, agents, media or fans. Often, it is all of the above. It’s truly the only time the entire NBA world is together in one place. You often find yourself having conversations more than watching basketball.

Throughout those conversations you pick up lots and lots of nuggets. Some are interesting, some aren’t. Some make your ears perk up, others make your attention wander. Some stick with you and write them down. Below is a list of the best of the Celtics-related Summer League notebook. Not every comment came from someone with the team. Sometimes they came from those with rival teams or from the countless number of people who float in and out of various NBA circles. Hopefully you’ll find them as interesting as the CelticsBlog team did and they’ll help get you ready for the 2018-19 season.

In case you missed it, here’s a link to Part I. Here’s Part II:

13. From a Boston staffer on if the season is a failure if the team doesn’t make the NBA Finals: “That’s so much pressure to put on a team. Especially one we really haven’t seen play together. Our goal is obviously to win a title. But it’s not championship or bust. You have to build day to day to get where you want to be. That said, we do expect to be in the mix and it will be disappointing if we’re not playing big games very late in the season.”

14. On the projected starting lineup: “Probably what we opened with on Opening Night. Al (Horford), (Jayson) Tatum, Jaylen (Brown), Gordon (Hayward) and Kyrie (Irving). But we have a lot of guys we can use. Both Marcuses (Smart and Morris) can start. Terry (Rozier) started all playoffs long. Aron (Baynes) can start. We’ve got the depth to work around just about anything.”

NBA: Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

15. On Terry Rozier: “We love him. He’s one of Danny’s (Ainge) best finds. The kid just works his tail off. He wants to be great. We saw it early in the year, but when Kyrie (Irving) went down, the whole world saw it.”

16. On Terry Rozier moving back to a bench role: “It’s tough. Brad (Stevens) has said for about three years now that we have six starters, because of Marcus Smart and what he means. Now we’ve got about seven or eight starters, of which Terry (Rozier) is certainly one. The good thing is that he gets it. He’s a great teammate and he just wants to win. He knows he has role here.”

17. On what to expect from Jayson Tatum this year: “(laughter) The moon? I mean what more can you ask for. He’s going to be a top player in this league for a very long time. He just gets it. He came in ready to work and crushed it more than anyone ever could have asked for. We knew we were getting a good player, hoped we were getting a great player and ended up getting an amazing one. You always worry about guys after a big rookie year, but he was in the gym before we knew it after we lost to Cleveland. He just wants to work and get better. On a team full of workers, he’s near the top of the list.”

18. On the new Auerbach Center: “We needed it. Badly. Everyone is moving towards their own private facility. It’s huge for us. And let’s face it, we can use some recruiting advantages in Boston. The weather sucks for almost all of basketball season. It’s expensive to live here. The fans and media have very high expectations and hold you to them. To have our own place now is huge. We think it’s the best facility in the entire NBA. We know it’s going to help us get and keep guys in Boston for a long time.”

19. Follow up on expectations: “There are 17 banners hanging in the facility and the arena. The guys see them almost every day. If that isn’t enough, they are reminded every five minutes by someone that Banner 18 is what they want. And all the other teams in the city win, too. You don’t want to be the ones to let everyone down. Expectations are high, but as KG (Kevin Garnett) told us ‘Plastic people melt’. If you can’t handle the expectations, we don’t bring you to Boston.”

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

20. On Al Horford and what he means to the team: “Everything. I know that sounds like puff, but he really does mean everything to us. When Gordon (Hayward) went down, it was Al who quietly rallied the team. People forget, but we almost came back and won that game. Then we lost Kyrie (Irving) and Al (Horford) was just like, ‘let’s get to work.’ It really helped the kids, because he didn’t give up on them or the season. And he sets everything we do on both ends. There aren’t many bigs who run both your offense and your defense as much as Al does.”

21. On if Al Horford takes too much criticism: “Yes. Look, we get he has the huge contract. But that was the only way we were getting him. Beyond that, he’s more than worth every penny of it. People get angry he doesn’t score 20 or grab 15 boards. He’s not that guy and that isn’t what we signed him to do. Once you understand that, you can get past it and see his real value.”

22. On Marcus Morris: “Every team needs an !@#hole. I mean that in a good way. Marcus (Morris) doesn’t take any crap. And that’s on a whole team full of guys who take no crap. He means more to our team than a lot of people realize and it has nothing to do with stats at all.”

23. On the team having a bulldog culture: “That starts with Danny (Ainge). It’s how he played and it’s how he still is today. Look at the guys we’ve drafted. If you don’t care a ton and don’t put the work in, you aren’t coming to Boston. Beyond that, you better have some fight in you. When you get knocked down, get back up and go to work. If it happens a second time, let the guy know who did it that you’re just gonna keep coming. And you know your teammates will be there to have your back. No one actually fights in the NBA, but I believe our guys would if it came down to it. One through fifteen, they love each other and have each other’s back. We’re a family in Boston.”

24. On Brad Wanamaker and hopes for this season: “We hope he can have the same impact Shane (Larkin) did last year. Shane came back ready to prove himself and that he belongs in the NBA. Brad (Wanamaker) has never really had that chance. He’ll fit in perfectly with our guys, because he’s a worker and a dog. He’ll get after it.”

25. On Shane Larkin: “We love Shane (Larkin). We really do. He was so huge for us. Brad (Stevens) loves that change of pace guy at the point. It used to be Phil Pressey. Shane was that guy last year. He deserves a bigger role as a true backup. I’m stunned no one has signed him. If the opportunity or need arises and he’s still out there, I’m sure we’d welcome him back to Boston.”

NBA: Summer League-Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

26. On Robert Williams’ rough start: “Yeah it isn’t great. But he knows it. We all know it. He’ll learn. If he doesn’t, it won’t go well for him. On the court though, he’s working hard. He’s doing what we need. Once he grows up a little, it will all click for him. It was tough because our other recent rookies have been off the charts with maturity. You almost forget these guys are 18, 19, 20 years old. They are kids and kids do stupid stuff. Ours just haven’t recently.”

27. One last one on what this season could be: “We should be very good. We were pretty good last year and we didn’t have a few guys. Getting those guys back is huge. Everyone knows Kyrie (Irving) and Gordon (Hayward) will help, but Daniel Theis is going to be huge for us. We didn’t need another big after re-signing Aron (Baynes) because Theis is back. He was just clicking as far as the NBA game when he got hurt. This year he’s going to be a menace. And the kids have experience and expectations of their own. I don’t want to get crazy, because who really knows what will happen? But we could be special this season. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.”