JD Davison begins his life as a Celtic with one basic understanding. As the 53rd pick in the draft by a team that came within two games of winning the NBA title, the 19-year-old point guard has lots of time to develop.
And beyond a starting point guard role on the Celtics summer league team, beginning with a game Saturday against the Bucks in Las Vegas, Davison is looking forward to a chance to take something from the likes of Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brodgon and Derrick White once training camp begins next fall.
“I can say that working every day, going against a guy like Marcus Smart, and also Malcolm is going to be a new one here, so just going and just working every day, getting better and knowing (when) my name is called it’ll be my time,” the Celtics rookie said after Tuesday’s practice at the Auerbach Center.”
Asked about what he can take away from the Defensive Player of the Year, Davison said, “Just like his defensive IQ is like way above everybody else as I can say. I’m just learning every player’s details and what they do and how they play.
“Long term, I would say (I’m) between the point guard and the combo guard just because I know I can pass, I can score, and I can defend, so really don’t matter where I’m at, on the ball or off the ball, I’m just going to be a dog on both ends of the court.”
Alabama guard JD Davison (3) dribbles against Florida during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)
Davison left Alabama for the draft after his freshman season – Brad Stevens pointed out that Davison was only a year removed from his high school graduation on the night of the draft – with the belief that the NBA’s style would be better-suited to his game.
“My season at Alabama didn’t go as well as I wanted to, but I think I had spurts of what I showed and what I can do at the NBA level,” he said. “My decision was because the NBA floor is so spaced out for a dynamic guard like me, I think it was the best for me to go out and go to the draft.”
Will Hardy, we hardly knew ye
After only one season as Ime Udoka’s lead assistant, Will Hardy was introduced as head coach of the Utah Jazz last week.
No one, including Celtics assistant and summer league coach Ben Sullivan, expected it to take long.
“Will and I worked together in the video room in San Antonio in my very first year in the league, so I’ve known Will since I started working in the NBA,” said Sullivan. “So, high IQ, high-character guy, hard-worker, understands offensive and defensive concepts. He’s got the whole package. Very personable, sociable, well-liked, so I think he’s going to do a great job. I’m really excited for him.
San Antonio Spurs summer league coach Will Hardy speaks with Spurs’ Kyle Anderson during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game against the Boston Celtics on Thursday, July 9, 2015, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)
“Just excited, happy for Will. I mean, how could you not be?” he said. “Like, to go have that opportunity to go do that, it’s awesome. We’re all excited for him. We’re all happy for him. Sad to see him go, but I don’t think anything besides excitement is what I really felt when I first heard it.”
The tables have turned
Grant Williams raised his profile among NBA referees after emerging as one for the league’s great young complainers, actually refereed Tuesday’s summer league scrimmage.
Perhaps out of deference, none of the summer leaguers challenge their esteemed senior teammate.
“It’s good for Grant to see how hard officiating actually is so that when he’s hard on them, he can have a better perspective,” said a smiling Sullivan. “No one can give him as hard a time as he gives the refs.”