Celtics point guard Kemba Walker is in a good position to be named a starter for next month’s All-Star game, but Boston’s other hopefuls, such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, will most likely need to be voted in as reserves by the Eastern Conference’s coaches.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens will not have a say in that decision, though, because he cannot vote for his own players. After the starters are announced Jan. 23, Stevens and the other coaches will have a few days to submit their votes for the reserves. Stevens said he takes the role seriously.
“I just go through and look at the East and look at who I think [deserves it],” he said. “I start with a couple things from a statistical standpoint, obviously, but then look at how their teams are playing, if they’ve won or not. And then the tiebreaker for me is often my fear factor when we’re getting ready to play against them. But most of the time it’s like 10 or 12 people for those seven spots.”
Stevens said he will lean on his assistant coaches for extra input, too.
“That’s usually a fun dinner to kind of get away from this daily grind of figuring out how to guard the next team’s pin-down series” he quipped.
Celtics center Daniel Theis missed Monday’s game against the Bulls because of knee tendinitis, but Boston welcomed back center Vincent Poirier, who has been out since fracturing his right pinkie finger in practice on Dec. 16.
“He just hasn’t had an opportunity yet, and he’s a guy that can run to the rim,” Stevens said. “He’s a guy that put pace into the game. He plays with his arms out defensively, he’s long, he stops the ball at the rim. It’s just a matter of getting used to it, and we have other good players. So I’m certainly not hesitant to play him for long stretches.”
Poirier, a rookie from France, entered Monday having played in just nine games this season, averaging 1.7 points, and 1. 7 rebounds. With Robert Williams sidelined because of a hip edema, Poirier could be in line for opportunities. He had 2 points and two fouls in five minutes Monday in the Celtics’ 113-101 win.
“I took that time to work on not only my basketball but to [learn] the game,” Poirier said. “I watched the guys play, the way they played defense and offense. I learned a lot from Theis and [Enes] Kanter to see the positioning and everything and what they did great in the game. In one way, it was helpful to be injured.”
Kanter started in place of Theis against Chicago, and registered 15 points and nine rebounds.
Take a bow
Celtics rookie Tremont Waters on Monday was named the G League Player of the Week.
Waters, the 51st overall pick of last June’s draft, averaged 23.5 points, 10.5 assists, and 3 steals in Maine’s two wins last week. The Red Claws have won five in a row. Waters was named the G League Player of the Month in November.
The Celtics reassigned rookie guard Carsen Edwards to the Red Claws on Monday.
“As many reps and game reps as possible,” Stevens said. “Romeo [Langford] would be with him, but Romeo is getting over this sickness. So he’ll get a couple of practices in, and we’ll see what we need from a bodies standpoint. We want those guys to get as much playing time as possible, and in the middle of this stretch it may be more back and forth than we’d like. But that’s the goal now.”