Boston Celtics training camp is now well underway, with the team taking part in their second day of group sessions on Saturday. Unfortunately, those groups sessions see Boston down a few key players. It was known Kemba Walker and Romeo Langford were going to miss the entirety of training camp. What wasn’t known is that newly-signed Tristan Thompson is going to join them in missing camp, or at least most of it.
Prior to camp opening, the Celtics had shared an update that Thompson had a minor hamstring strain and would be limited early on. On Saturday evening, Brad Stevens shared that those limitations would stretch throughout training camp.
Stevens said Thompson’s hamstring is improving and he’s doing light individual work. Stevens then said the hope is to ramp Thompson up to have him ready for the start of the regular season. As part of that, Thompson will miss a significant portion of the on-court work with his new team.
Boston signed Thompson away from the Cleveland Cavaliers, where the big man had spent the entirety of his nine-year career to date. The Celtics used the entirety of their Non-Taxpayer Midlevel Exception to sign Thompson to a two-year, $18.9 million contract.
There was some thoughts that Thompson would join Boston’s starting group, alongside Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker. With Walker set to miss the early part of the season, the Celtics knew they’d be down one of those five. Now, Thompson may not have the opportunity to join the openers either.
As a veteran, Thompson should be able to catch on the Celtics offensive and defensive schemes with relative ease. Where the lost time in camp will show up is with his chemistry with his new teammates. That likely keeps Daniel Theis in the starting five. That’s not bad for Boston, as Theis was a successful starting center throughout last season.
If Thompson comes off the bench to start the year, or for the entirety of the campaign, that gives the Celtics an experienced backup big man behind Theis. Most importantly, Thompsons brings a veteran defensive presence that was missing last season. In a compressed season, expect Robert Williams to log plenty of minutes at the five as well.
It’s not exactly the start Thompson wanted to have to his Celtics career, but it’s far from concerning at this point. And, just like on a game-by-game basis, it’s not really about how you start, but how you finish.