Joseph makes roster out of camp
Joseph had legitimate competition for the final spot in Dionte Christmas, Jamar Smith, Micah Downs and Rob Kurz, but the C's ultimately went with the 6-foot-7 swingman from Syracuse that they drafted with the 51st overall selection in last June's draft.
The Celtics haven't formally announced the release of Downs and Kurz, a pair of camp invites who had strong showings, but that should come soon.
"Just happy, proud," Joseph said Wednesday after learning he made the final cut. "I put in the work necessary to make it this far throughout my life, and when I got here, I continuously worked hard. So it's just a blessing. It's a weight off my shoulders now. But the hard work doesn't stop here. You've got to always keep working hard."
Though his immediate NBA future was on the line, Joseph said he did his best to ignore the pressure that had built up over the last week and a half.
"Honestly, I wasn't thinking about it," Joseph said. "Because I feel like I know myself and if I were to think about it, I wouldn't be able to perform when the time came for me. My mind was just on playing well and doing the things necessary for me to succeed. So I wasn't really thinking about it too much. But had I thought about it, I'm sure I would have been nervous, I would have felt pressure. But when I was out there I felt really calm and at ease."
The Celtics weren't necessarily making it any easier for Joseph. Though he ended up being their man, they didn't give him any indications along the way that that would be the case.
"Not at all. Not at all. You can never tell because everyone is so nice here in this organization, like they talk to everybody the same way, so you never really know," Joseph explained. "But when Jamar and [Christmas] got cut, we still had two other guys and you never knew what was going to happen, so it's just the waiting game, really, and I just had to keep working hard. I couldn't worry about others. I had to worry about Kris Joseph and that's what I did."
Joseph distinguished himself during two of Boston's final three preseason games. In the Celtics' 115-85 blowout of the Brooklyn Nets last Thursday, Joseph played all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter, scoring 11 points and grabbing five rebounds. He followed that up with a 26-minute effort in Boston's comeback victory over the New York Knicks two nights later, registering 13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. He converted back-to-back 3-point plays to start the fourth quarter that helped propel Boston to victory.
Asked what he proved in those games, Joseph said, "Just that I'm able to play at this level. I was able to get in there and bang with the big guys, try to get some rebounds, and help this team win some games. And while I'm out there, all I'm trying to do is work hard. And, like I always say, that's the one thing that you can control, is how hard you work, and that's what I was able to do."
Joseph is still playing on a non-guaranteed contract. On Jan. 10, deals become guaranteed for the remainder of the season.
While the immediate pressure might be off, don't expect Joseph to slow down. True to his belief in hard work, he didn't kick back and relax when the C's were given Monday and Tuesday of this week off, opting instead to spend his days in the practice facility, working on his game.
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