BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics introduced their four newest players at the Auerbach Center on Monday, and as expected they’re all happy to be in Boston and can’t wait to help the Celtics try to win some basketball games.
Sure, the four rookies gave the usual stock answers, but they also showed off some personality as they chatted with the Boston media for the first time. If one thing was clear from Monday’s press obligations, it’s that Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters have grown pretty close in the short time since they became Boston’s 2019 draft class on Thursday night.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
As they all arrived in Boston on Sunday night, Williams started a group text between the four. They started to chat about their new lives in Boston (and/or Portland, Maine), and it eventually turned into a FaceTime chat where they discussed the most important part of Monday’s introduction: What they were going to wear. Based on everything we heard late Monday morning, there were no conflicts between the four of them, a much-needed breathe of fresh air surrounding Boston basketball.
“Every one of them has had great, successful college careers and they’re good people,” Danny Ainge said Monday. “I believe in talking with them, the background checks we do … these guys have the desire to become great and they’ll put in the work and have the focus to live up to the potential they have.”
People lover jersey numbers, and now they have four new ones to learn. Here’s the new laundry Boston’s four new players will be wearing — at least for now:
Romeo Langford – No. 45
Grant Williams – No. 40
Carsen Edwards – No. 29
Tremont Waters – No. 51
Williams mentioned to Cedric Maxwell over the weekend that No. 11 was available in Boston, which is newsworthy considering that has been/was Kyrie Irving’s jersey. But he opted for a different number, so we’ll like the winds of speculation continue to blow around Kyrie’s offseason decision.
However, Williams is warning everyone not to rush out and buy any No. 40 Celtics jerseys just yet.
OK, we make fun of players for having those stock answers. Because no one is actually going to say they’re coming into the NBA and playing for a max contract; they’re always going to say that they want to lead their new franchise to a title.
But Williams’ stock answer when asked what he’d be bringing to Boston was pretty darn great.
“Whatever it takes for us to hang the next banner here,” said Williams. “Because I’m the type of team player that it doesn’t matter what you need me to do. However I need to make an impact, whatever you ask me or whatever coach Stevens needs, that’s what I do.”
That answer no doubt made Ainge, Brad Stevens and all of the Boston brass smile. Heck, it probably got a wry smirk out of Bill Belichick.
Langford and Williams faced off during their time in the Big 10, and Langford gave a pretty succinct scouting report for his new teammate.
“Don’t let him touch the ball,” he said of the dynamic Purdue guard.
Give that man a whiteboard.READ MORE: Man Stabbed After Apparent Road Rage Incident In Cambridge
The Celtics aren’t sure if Langford will play in the upcoming Summer League due to his lingering thumb issue. The guard played most of last season with a torn ligament in his thumb, which he underwent surgery on after declaring for the draft. Boston will determine his summer status over the next few days.
Grant Williams: Huge Nerd
He said it, not us.
“I’m a nerd and a goofball,” Williams told reporters.
We know Williams is into space, since his mom works at NASA, and that gave us a great moment leading up to the draft when he called out Kyrie for all that flat Earth nonsense. That does not make him a nerd by any stretch.
His love of competition — mainly, board games –, does. Edwards said that Williams asked him if he wanted to do some gaming Sunday night after they arrived in Boston.
“And I’m like, ‘Dude, I just got here.’ He’s like, ‘I play board games too,'” Edwards relayed.
Williams is a big fan of the board game Catan, which he brought up a handful of times on Monday. Unfortunately for him, no video games or board games were played on Sunday night.
Waters Needs To Step Up His Chinese Food Game
The second-round pick relayed a Chinese food order that would have Red Auerbach coughing up a cigar. Waters said he was watching Edwards play (he believes against Langford and Indiana) last year while he was in a Chinese restaurant. While that part of the story didn’t garner much of a reaction, his order did. After Waters said he was waiting for his chicken wings and french fries, Williams interrupted and questioned what kind of Chinese restaurant Waters was in.
“It was last resort,” admitted Waters.
He did add that he’s excited to learn from Edwards, who made a ridiculous play while Waters was enjoying his meal.
He’s Also A Kyrie Fan
“This might touch some people, but growing up in high school I watched a lot of Kyrie Irving videos,” said Waters. “No hard feelings towards him, he’s one of my favorite point guards. It’s a business, but I had to say that.”
Ainge Acknowledges Team’s ‘Flexibility’
Given all that hasn’t officially happened to the Celtics yet this offseason, Danny Ainge couldn’t say much of anything after the draft. He still couldn’t say too much on Monday, but he did discuss the team’s “flexibility” this offseason, which essentially acknowledges the fact that both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are heading elsewhere this summer.
“I like the fact that we have different opportunities. We have some flexibility but I don’t really know what is realistic yet. That’s what we’ll spend the rest of this week trying to figure out, is what even do we have a chance to do and where should be our priorities,” Ainge told reporters. “But I’m excited about the opportunity. I’m excited about the flexibility that we have. I’m excited about the youth that we have and some of our returning players. I think it’s going to be a really fun year. Looking forward to it.”
Ainge saying he’s looking forward to a fun year is a line he drops just about every offseason. But he did spend time discussing the character of his draft class, and it sounds a lot different from what we saw the Celtics display last season.
“I think it just makes life more enjoyable when everybody is humble, hard-working, and will play any role they have to to help the team succeed,” said Ainge. “You do have to have a certain amount of talent to win, as we all know, but good people makes coming to work more fun.”
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The Celtics reportedly signed 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall after the draft, but Ainge said that deal is still not finalized. The Celtics still hope to have Fall on their Summer League roster, with the summer games tipping off on July 6.