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“C” change: Celtics veterans leading by example

After a season of being the “young guys,” the now veteran Celtics have flipped the script.

Boston Celtics Training Camp Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

After nearly beating Jayson Tatum in a post-practice three-point shooting contest on Wednesday, Grant Williams had to pay up for losing on Thursday.

At Media Day, a bathrobbed Marcus Smart hijacked Romeo Langford’s interview, a rookie hazing tradition in the NBA. It’s all playful ribbing as the veterans try and keep the mood light after the weight of expectations caved in last year’s campaign. It might seem like an over-correction, but the wheel was yanked so hard in the wrong direction.

In that spirit, pronouns matter. We’ve heard more “we’s” than “I’s” coming out of practices. Jaylen Brown has fielded expected questions about a possible extension, but he’s answered them with humility.

He hasn’t mention “Brinks trucks.” There’s no talk of “taking over the league for the next five years.” Instead, Brown has been the picture of patience and redirected the attention to the team. On Thursday, Brown said, “we have a bunch of good guys on this team, a bunch of young eager guys that are hungry but at the same time humble. So it should be fun. I’m excited about this year. I don’t know about you guys but I’m ready to go.” After practice, he was the last player on the floor getting shots up.

If there’s any bitterness from last season, Brown turned it into a positive at practice on Thursday. “The more you know a guy or are cool with somebody, the easier it is to pass him the ball.”

Two-year vet Semi Ojeleye notices the differences in this team, too. “Our communication is great. That’s something we’re harping on every day,” Ojeleye said. “Everybody’s talking to each other whether it’s in the drill or out of the drill. I think that goes a long way.”

Stevens has alluded to juggling lineups throughout training camp to see what the first month of the season would look like. The talent level may not be as high as last year, but some similar problems could arise. Fourteen players could realistically make a strong claim for playing time this year. Despite what could be a logjam, Stevens remains confident that the Celtics will start slotting into roles. When asked about how he’ll keep spirits up and the sense of camaraderie going, Stevens said, “there has to be consistency. Consistency has to be one of the key things if you want to be good in this league in every area.”

“I’d say being able to move on from what just happened, making the next right play, accept responsibility, pat someone else on the back, you gotta do it.” Coach didn’t mention rookie push-ups, but let’s add that to the list, too.

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