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NEW YORK – It's time for Boston's rookies to learn what the NBA life is really about.
The team's trip to Europe was certainly beneficial for R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey and Terry Rozier. However, that experience was far different than what they'll face back here in the States, beginning with tonight’s preseason tilt with the Nets in Brooklyn.
First and foremost, the game itself is different. It is played with more pace and structure. Even more noteworthy, in Avery Bradley’s mind, is the mindset of the players who participate in these games.
"You have guys that are going to go out there and prove themselves,” Bradley told Hunter, a fellow shooting guard. “Guys that think they should have been drafted. Guys that think they should have been drafted ahead of him. Guys are going to be going at him.“
That type of motivation was nonexistent in Europe. The competition was strong, no doubt, but there were no personal vendettas.
Boston’s rookies are also learning today that an NBA game day is much different than anything they’ve ever experienced in the past.
“It’s completely different,” said Hunter. “One, you’re on your own a lot of the times. You wake up, watch film, shootaround, and then you’ve got to kind of figure out what to do, instead of always having a structured schedule.”
In other words, Hunter, Mickey and Rozier must create an organized daily plan for themselves.
“I always hear about a routine,” Hunter said. “[The veterans] don’t really tell me what to do; I just kind of watch what they do. Everybody has a different weird routine. I think you kind of need to go through a couple of months to kind of figure out what works for you.”
Still, Bradley is attempting to teach his protégé the ropes when it comes to a game-day routine, as other vets are doing with the other rooks.
“I have told him that he needs to start a shooting routine,” Bradley said. “He’s a shooter, so he should make sure he’s making a certain amount of shots each day.”
Additionally, Boston’s starting shooting guard has also advised the rookie to put the right foods and liquids in his body.
“That’s one of the things I struggled with being young,” said the sixth-year guard. “I was eating all of the wrong foods. I think it will be a while for him to be used to that.”
It will likely take a while for Hunter and the rookies to get used to the NBA life in general. After all, today is their first real taste of a life they’ve yet to truly experience.