It was a great day for the players to try on their Celtics uniforms (some for the first time) and smile big for the cameras. The entire C’s roster posed for individual pictures and the vast majority took time to speak with the media, including Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett as well as new comers Chris Wilcox, Keyon Dooling, and Brandon Bass. The defending Atlantic Division Champions held their 2-hour media day from 10am-12pm at their practice facility in Waltham today. Here are some quick comments and observations.
Ray Allen feels as though the season is being rushed. For a guy who is very routine oriented, you can tell he is frustrated by the short training camp, 2-game preseason, and little practice time. I get the impression it’s not about conditioning for him (always in top shape), but timing, both individually and with the team.
Kevin Garnett is still clearly annoyed about the lockout. He mentioned Stern and the Chris Paul deal almost out of no where, and made a point to say that no one should be surprised by how Stern is dealing with this. KG also mentioned the fact that the league is a business more than any other player.
Paul Pierce doesn’t think the window is over after this season. Despite Doc Rivers saying this, and Allen and Garnett’s contracts up after this season, Pierce never even thought that this could be it. He acknowledged that Ray and KG’s contracts are up, but believes both will play next season, either here in Boston or someplace else.
Brandon Bass and the guy he was traded for Glen “Big Baby” Davis have been close friends since they were 13. Bass said it’s crazy down in their hometown right now following the news that they were traded for each other. Bass already admitted that he likes practices here more than Orlando. (He held back saying “Stan Van Gundy is awful.” But I think he wanted to.)
Marquis Daniels is as healthy as he has ever been, and that is saying something after his neck injury almost cost him his career. That’s great news, but probably not as interesting as the fact that he got the number “4″ branded on his left arm when he was 11. BRANDED… 11! His cousin did the honors. He will wear #4 this season, I’d say he earned it.
I asked Keyon Dooling if he has talked to Ray Allen about the fight they got into when Ray was with the Sonics and Keyon was playing for Orlando. Dooling said the next time they saw each other they talked, and they both have more respect for each other than they did before. He was asked who won that fight, his response, “Man, nobody wins in a basketball fight… The NBA won, they got all the fine money. They always win, right?” I like this guy.
Jeff Green thinks that the time he spent with the team last season will help him this year. He says he already feels more comfortable. Call me crazy, but I’m still worried about him.
Doc Rivers said the team had a great practice yesterday (finally had enough guys to scrimmage) but in the same sentence said they are not in shape. With just 12 days before the season (and Christmas), you got to think teams with good coaches are going to have an advantage early.
Despite having only one true center (Jermaine O’Neal) Doc believes he has a number of guys who can play that spot, naming Garnett, Bass, and Chris Wilcox. I was surprised to hear him say that if Bass and Wilcox were on the floor at the same time, Bass would be the center with Wilcox at the 4 spot.
Speaking of Wilcox, the guy has never played in a NBA playoff game. After winning a National Championship at Maryland, Wilcox has spent 9 seasons in the league with the: Clippers, Sonics, Thunder, Knicks, and Pistons. If he makes it through the whole season, I’ll go out on a limb and say he sees his first post season action.
The very soft spoken JaJuan Johnson is eager to learn from all the quality veterans on the roster. He wants to gain weight, but it’s not his only priority. A did say he wants to be able to defend 3′s-4′s-and 5′s someday.
Rich Keefe is the Celtics Reporter for 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and writes the “Around The NBA” column for the CelticsHub. You can follow him on twitter @Keefe21 and check out his blog The Sports Brief.