Is it just Team USA camp? Yes. Will it have any real impact on how the Celtics will play together come the NBA Regular Season? Possibly Not. Do I care? Absolutely not. The four Celtics that are at Team USA training camp right now have me so excited for next season that I have pretty much entirely moved on from the train wreck that was the 2018-2019 season. After entering the offseason extremely low on hope and enthusiasm for this team, I have officially done a 180 and could not be more ready for October to get here and for the rock to hit the parquet again. First, Summer League got me going, but now the photos, videos and quotes that we are getting from the Team USA Celtics have drawn me all the way back in emotionally.
I should probably note before I begin that there is always the chance that 1 or two of the guys don't make the team. Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum are locks to make the final roster, but Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart are more likely fighting for spots as late additions to the training camp roster. This reality has of course not stopped me from getting irrationally excited, though. Just the mere fact that these guys are getting drills and scrimmages in alongside each other right now is enough to get the juices flowing. After a year where chemistry amongst the players seemed to clearly be the number one issue, the sooner that these guys get to know each other both on and off of the court, the better.
On the court, we are already getting videos and photos of the guys together:
And not only are the guys playing at a high level, but their morale seems to be incredibly high as well. After months of listening to Kyrie talk about playing basketball like it was a burden, and hearing guys like Marcus Morris talk about the season not being fun, Kemba's quotes are particularly refreshing:
On top of the on-court team building that's happening, the Celtics are also growing a bond off the court while at camp together. Marcus Smart told NBS Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg that “It feels good just to build that camaraderie right now, early on before the season even starts...When it comes time to strap it on for the season, we kind of already have a hint of what everyone wants to do and a feel for everybody.”
Apparently, a part of building that camaraderie involved going to dinner as a group:
Of course, all of this chemistry talk and practice together means nothing if it doesn't actually translate to success on the court come late-October, but damn if it isn't good to see the guys having fun together and building relationships. It seems like the players themselves have put the stresses of last season behind them and are starting fresh mentally which goes right along with the entire culture change that the front office blatantly prioritized this summer. With the players buying into a fresh start themselves, it only feels right for myself to buy in as a fan of the team, so with that being said, last season is completely in the rear view and I cannot wait for this next season to get going.
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images