WALTHAM, Mass. — The Boston Celtics formally introduced its rookies, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart and Kentucky's James Young, to the media on Monday.
"If you're going to be a good team, you have to have guys that have the passion and the fire and guys that have the skill," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said, "and I think both of our new young kids have both."
The Celtics, though, have a long way to go to become a good team. Last season's 25-57 record was the third worst in the history of a franchise that has won 17 NBA championships.
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Young already has played for a school with a history of success — 16 Final Four appearances and eight titles.
"There's a great tradition at Kentucky and there's a great tradition here," he said. "I want to come out here and put a banner up there, that's my motivation."
The 18-year-old Young, who will wear No. 13 with the Celtics, was second on Kentucky with 14.3 points per game and led the team with 20 points and seven rebounds in its loss to Connecticut in the championship game.
Smart averaged 18 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists last season.
Both are young with plenty of room to improve, particularly as shooters.
"Me and James, we're coming in, we're two new guys to a new system that we're not used to playing," Smart said. "I just want to go in and me and him can jell with our teammates (at summer league) and keep improving as individuals."
Numerous players have entered the NBA Draft early in recent years, but facing so many young players won't necessarily speed their development.
"I don't think it's an easy transition anyway," Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said. "I would say, for the most part, that you don't have an advantage, necessarily, coming in younger now. The most accomplished players in the league are still the most accomplished players."
Smart and Young both said Stevens could have special insight into the transition from college to the NBA because he took his first pro job last summer with the Celtics. In 2010 and 2011, he coached Butler to the NCAA championship games before losing.
"I would say that if they feel that way, that's good," Stevens said, "but I don't know if there's an advantage or not. Like any other time when you're coaching somebody, it's how much effort you put into them and how much effort you put into your team."
Smart and Young join a backcourt that includes star point guard Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, an outstanding defender. The Celtics extended a qualifying offer on Monday to Bradley, a restricted free agent.