WALTHAM — Every year, the Celtics need bodies to help fill out predraft workouts, so they’ll invite players from local colleges.
The odds are slim that these players will ever be drafted, let alone play in the NBA, but many are grateful just for the chance to make an impression.
“It’s kind of a surreal moment, being out here with all these guys you watched on TV every year,” said Holy Cross’s Dave Dudzinski , who worked out at the Celtics’ practice facility Monday. “The opportunity is fantastic and I’m really happy to be here and show them what I can do.”
But like many lesser-known players, Dudzinski, who averaged 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds last season, carried a chip into the workout, believing that he had plenty to prove.
“Coming from a small school like that, you’ve got to work that much harder, but those that rely on their past accomplishments don’t make it very far in this business,” the 6-foot-9-inch forward said. “It’s the guys that are continually able to show that they can play at the next level, that’s what you’re out here trying to show today.”
The Celtics have had several lottery-caliber players in for workouts, along with handful of players who are more likely to be taken in the second round, if at all. But coach Brad Stevens said that, somewhat surprisingly, everyone has competed at a high level.
“That’s more of a compliment to the top-10 guys than it is to the guys that are projected later,” Stevens said. “It’s been pretty consistent across the board no matter where they’re [projected]. Hey, you’re working out for a chance to play in the NBA. If you don’t bring it, that’s a red flag.”
Director of player personnel Austin Ainge said the Celtics will likely invite players back for second workouts, though they’re not sure.
Why bring them back, though?
“It’s really where we’ve got, usually, a couple guys at a certain position that we just can’t decide between,” Ainge said. “Sometime you bring them back and you still can’t. But sometimes you bring them back and it’s a knockout punch. We did that with [Rajon] Rondo and his draft day.”
All for one
The San Antonio Spurs are champions again, and like most coaches around the NBA, Stevens was in awe of how they methodically toppled the Heat to win the title.
“It’s clear that we’re all chasing them,” Stevens said.
He also gushed about the Spurs’ selflessness, especially from their bench players.
“I just think everybody is so locked in to their role and trying to be the best teammate they can be,” Stevens said.
“Against us, they didn’t have three of their starters the second time they came here and they drilled us. I think that’s who they’ve been all year. They’ve been able to sit guys, rest guys, do all that stuff and never miss a beat.’'Baxter Holmes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BaxterHolmes.