Xavier Tillman Opens Up About ‘Interesting’ 1st Impression With Celtics

Xavier Tillman

Getty Xavier Tillman is trying to get used to life in Boston.

Xavier Tillman has played just three minutes with the Boston Celtics ahead of their showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, February 27. The 6-foot-8 power forward/center came over at the trade deadline in a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.

While he hasn’t been able to get on the court and find a rhythm just yet, the fourth-year player out of Michigan State recently spoke about his first impression with his new team. He spoke plenty about some off-the-court findings, calling the city “very interesting.”

Xavier Tillman Trying to Get Used to Boston

Tillman has had to make some adjustments ever since he’s come to the Celtics. With the Grizzlies, he could put up some big numbers on any give night. In Boston, on a team loaded with stars, he’ll be asked to do much of the dirty work, cleaning up the boards.

For now, his adjustments are being made off the court. He’s trying to not only get used to new teammates but to a new city.

“The city’s very interesting,” Tillman said during an exclusive interview with CLNS Media. “Where I was in Memphis, I was in the suburb out there, so there wasn’t a lot of traffic going on. The roads weren’t crazy, pretty standard.

“When I got here, all the tunnels and the weaves and stuff. I was like, oh man, this is crazy. Traffic is bad out here. I’ve never been in the city vibe like this, so it’s been awesome.

“I found one good restaurant so far. Obviously, I haven’t been around to really explore yet. I’m a foodie myself, so there’s definitely a lot of restaurants I want to try out here.”

Tillman Knows His Role With the Celtics

The Celtics brought in Tillman to help take some of the pressure off Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford. Frontcourt depth was Boston’s biggest issue this season, but the Celtics addressed it with the deadline deal.

Tillman knows he’s not sending either one of them to the bench. Tillman averaged 17.7 minutes per game with the Grizzlies, primarily coming off the bench. He’s been dealing with a knee injury this year, and he knows exactly what his role will be when he’s healthy.

“For me, my impact is going to be crashing the offensive boards and to be finishing down low, stuff like that,” Tillman said. “That’s a lot of the stuff that we’re working on, me just crashing and me working on different finishes around the rim. We’re shooting and stuff like that just in case I’m spaced out, but the main meat and potatoes will be down low in the paint.”

Tillman, taken in the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, played three-plus seasons with the Grizzlies, averaging 6.2 points and 4.3 rebounds. He said he feels welcomed by his new teammates.

“Everybody has done a pretty good job of welcoming me and giving me any types of advice, from Al, Svi (Mykhailiuk) to Payton (Pritchard) to different guys like JB (Jaylen Brown) and stuff like that.”

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