AP Photo/John Raoux
Rookie Kris Joseph at work during summer league.BOSTON -- Celtics rookie Kris Joseph, taken with the 51st overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, still has his work cut out for him to make the team's final roster following training camp in October, but he said Thursday he won't be intimidated when it's time to prove his worth to a club filled with veterans.
Speaking at the Celtics' annual Summer Soiree at the Boston Children's Museum on Thursday night to help raise money for the Shamrock Foundation, Joseph maintained he'll be more excited than nervous when it's time to share the floor with the likes of Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo during camp.
"I guess it happens to every rookie, but at the same time, we're teammates now, so I don't think I'll be too intimidated," Joseph said. "If anything, I'm more excited. I'm not intimidated at all. I'm just looking forward to going in there, working hard, and learning things from [Celtics head coach] Doc [Rivers] and the coaching staff and the players."
Joseph stressed the importance of the educational aspect of training camp, as the Syracuse alum will surely be able to pick up a wealth of tips from his more-experienced counterparts.
"Getting to meet the veterans, bond with the guys, learning from everybody, not just Paul Pierce who plays my position, but learning from a guy like [Kevin Garnett] and learning from Rondo," Joseph said when asked what he's looking forward to most about training camp. "They've been around for so long that I can learn from each and every one of those guys and just be like a sponge and take everything that they're telling me, while still using my own skill set. But listening to those guys can only do positive things for me in the future."
If Joseph doesn't make the final roster, he could latch on with the Maine Red Claws, as part of Boston's recently announced single-team affiliation with the D-League club. But if things work out in his favor, he stressed the importance of accepting a bench role and delivering consistent energy.
"Definitely just coming off the bench and being some type of a spark," Joseph said of where he could carve out a niche. "Rebounding the ball, just being a high-motor guy for the team off the bench, whether it be 5 minutes, whether it be 10, just coming off and doing what I do best -- rebounding the ball, try to excel in transition, and things like that."
Joseph made his presence felt during the NBA's summer league last month, averaging 9.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in five games in Orlando, and coming back with averages of 8 points and 2.4 rebounds a week later in Las Vegas. Despite falling in the June draft, Joseph was still pegged as a player with first-round talent, and even though he might have slid more than he would have liked, he stressed that he's not approaching the coming season with a chip on his shoulder.
"I wouldn't call it [a chip], but just the fact that I've heard that [I was good enough to go in the first round], and deep down I knew I was, but I couldn't ask for a better situation to be placed in," Joseph explained. "Like I said, this is a first-class organization, and I get a chance to learn from some future Hall-of-Famers, so there's definitely no shame in that. I'm definitely not disappointed, either."
Joseph said he took some time off after summer league action to rest up and has paid more attention to his diet and his body since. With roughly two months to go until training camp, he said he'll spend his remaining time working on consistency and improving his jump shot.
"I liked the fact that I was coming off some pin-downs in Orlando and Vegas and knocking down that mid-range shot, so I just want to be consistent at that, find a niche, and get great at it," Joseph said. "Because you know, in this league, it's good to be good at everything, but you want to be great at at least one thing, so I need to find that and keep working on it."
Even though Joseph will be trying to prove himself amid the wealth of veteran talent on Boston's roster, he acknowledged the strong bonds he's made with fellow rookies Fab Melo (who he played alongside at Syracuse) and Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger. Summer league helped the trio grow closer, and Joseph joked that they don't discuss Ohio State's knocking Syracuse out of the 2012 NCAA tournament in the Elite Eight.
"Jared and I, we've been real cool," said Joseph. "We both share the same kind of personality, we're pretty silly guys. And I've gotten over the fact that Ohio State beat us in the tournament. So yeah, we're all getting along. The three rookies are getting along really well."
* The Celtics teamed up with XFINITY and New England Baptist Hospital to host Thursday's Soiree, which featured food, live music, a performance by junior dance team Lil' Phunk, and appearances by Celtics legends Tommy Heinsohn, JoJo White, Dave Cowens, Cedric Maxwell and Walter McCarty.
* Prior to serving on the panel, Bradley reiterated earlier claims that he's taking his rehabilitation from shoulder surgeries "day-by-day," but that he hopes he can be back for training camp overseas in Milan and Istanbul. "It'll be my first time going over there, so I'm excited. Like I said, I hope I'm able to join training camp," Bradley said, stressing that no set timetable has been established for his return. "I'm just taking it day-by-day, but I hope I am. It'll be cool to go over there; I know it'll be a fun time."