A columnist for Comcast SportsNet New England urged the Celtics to put former Dayton standout Chris Johnson in the starting lineup. A. Sherrod Blakely called Johnson “a bright light for Boston that lately seems to shine game after game, even in defeat.”
That’s a sign of just how much Johnson has impressed everyone in his short stint with the Celtics. He signed a second 10-day contract last week, and through Thursday, he had averaged 9.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in six games.
Johnson, Dayton’s all-time leader in games played (138 from 2008-12), spoke to the Dayton Daily News on Friday. This is his second stint in the NBA after playing for the Memphis Grizzlies last season.
Q: How has your experience in Boston been?
A: It’s been great. It’s a great organization, first class, great coaching staff, great players. They welcomed me in.
Q: Did you expect to get this chance after playing so well in the NBA D-League?
A: I was just playing as hard as I could, trying to showcase my talent. I knew if I could do that, everything else would take care of itself. It just shows hard work pays off. I just had faith in God, believed in him, that he was going to direct me on the right path.
Q: How has this compared to your first experience in the league last season?
A: I learned a lot from my teammates last year. It’s a great opportunity. This year, I feel more comfortable, experience-wise.
Q: What is your role on this team? How do you approach every game as a guy on a 10-day contract?
A: I just try to not do too much. In this league, they have scorers. They have elite players. When you have the opportunity to play, you have to show you can do the little things on the court. That’s what I’m trying to do. Like getting the 50-50 balls.
Q: What’s it like playing for a rookie NBA coach, former Butler coach Brad Stevens?
A: He’s smart. He likes guys who work hard. He’s pushing everyone on a daily basis even through the rough times. If we stick together, everything can turn out to be something good.
Q: What are the chances the Celtics sign you for the rest of the season when your second 10-day contract runs out?
A: I’m not sure about that. I’m just taking it one day at a time, making the most of my opportunities and enjoying the journey.
Q: Have you been able to keep up with the Flyers?
A: I’ve kept up with them. Obviously, they’re not doing too good. I see that they’re struggling in the conference. I’ve been there in my four years. It’s hard to play in the conference. I just hope they can pull through the rough times and stick to it.