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JD Davison learning from Marcus Smart

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year has become a mentor to the second rounder.

Charlotte Hornets v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

In his first action on the parquet floor on Sunday, rookie JD Davison showed that spark plug energy that made him one of the most exciting point guards in college last year. In just six minutes, he racked up four points and four assists, consistently penetrating the paint and pushing the pace.

Coming out of Alabama, he was always considered a bit of a project, but there’s no doubt why his quick first step and fearless around the rim made him an intriguing draft pick at #53.

Davison signed a two-way contract with Boston after leading Summer League in assists in July. But give credit to the rookie. He knows exactly what side of the ball he needs to put his work in.

“Definitely on the defensive end,” Davison said of his focus after Tuesday’s practice. “You can see why they were the #1 defense in the league last year.”

And as much as the Celtics defense doesn’t rely on one person, it doesn’t hurt that Davison has the reigning Defensive Player of the Year as his vet and mentor in his first season in the NBA.

“I always talk to (Jayson) Tatum and Marcus Smart a lot. They always come to me first though because they know I’m coming to them first. We always talk a lot,” Davison said.

Just in the back court, Davison has a cadre of point guards to learn from: Smart, Payton Pritchard, Derrick White, and Malcolm Brogdon. As fortunate as he’ll be in terms of role models, that’s also why he’ll be shuttling between the big club and Maine. The 20-year-old will get his reps in the G-League and per his head coach, Joe Mazzulla, the assignment is easy when you’re back in Boston.

“He basically tells me, ‘talk to Smart.’ That’s it.”

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