With all eyes on the NBA 2014 Draft there is only one thing standing between the Celtics and two first round draft picks - 63 more games. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of tanking, those 63 games have to be played, which means between 8-10 members of the 2013-14 Celtics need to find their way to the floor 63 more times. Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, and Kris Humphries- three players who were traded to Boston this past off-season- are doing everything they can to stay positive and contribute to the Celtics despite their lack of substantial playing time.
"Your job title doesn’t say you’re going to play," Bogans said before Friday night’s game against the Cavaliers. "I know what it takes to be in this league, to stick around. I’m just trying to help MarShon out. It’s really tough on him being younger. I’m helping him stay ready, so when he gets called he’s making the most of his opportunity."
Of the three former Nets in question, Humphries has seen his role increase the most due to a recent injury to Celtic's rookie Kelly Olynyk.
"I just try to play as hard as I can when I’m out there," Humphries said. "Not focus on how much I’m playing, if I’m getting plays, getting the ball — those kinds of things. It’s simpler when you break it down in your mind as: ‘This is your job. Go do it. Play hard.’
Filling out the roster every night is no enviable task for head coach Brad Stevens. It's not like there isn't talent on this roster- the talent it there. There just happens to be more talent at certain positions than others, which makes it a constant shuffle between getting players who are clearly part of future the time they need to improve, and riding the hot streaks of the players who are doing everything they can with the opportunities presented.
"I don’t think you can ever play (all 14) people," the coach said. "Then you’d have everybody who wasn’t necessarily playing to their best ability. I think at the end of the day you have to pick nine or 10 who best fit what you’re trying to do at that time, and be flexible in case things aren’t working.
"That being said, you know this is a team where we’re going to have our ups and downs. We’re always going to be trying new things to make it so we’re having as many ups as possible."
For 11-year veteran Keith Bogans, not playing is an unfamiliar role he finds himself in. When he entered Friday's game against Cleveland, Bogans had logged just 16 minutes all season to that point. His abscence during gametime is yet to derail his confidence and commitment to the improvement of the team.
"It’s my first time in my whole career that I basically haven’t played," Bogans said. "But it’s not going to stop me from being a basketball player. As bad as you want to play, I tell (Brooks) you never lose your desire to play. It should make us mad that we don’t play. But we still have to stick with it and stay after it. "It’s a long season. Your time is going to come."
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Photo Source:Yoon S. Byun/Globe StaffPadraic O'Connor 12/01/2013 01:16:00 PM Tweet Edit