(Video from Celtics Hub)
Until I can waste six hours of every night watching NBA League Pass, the NBA season isn’t really back. For now, training camp will have to suffice. Here are a few storylines from the C’s first real practice.
Doc Rivers: Kevin Garnett looked phenomenal
Doc told WEEI that Kevin Garnett “was phenomenal, really, yeah. Explosive.” I was ready to dismiss the talk as the normal preseason hyperbole, when everybody looks like an MVP, but then I looked up Doc’s comments from last year. Here’s what he said about Garnett during last year’s preseason: ”The only part lacking is he’s not explosive yet, but it’ll come.”
If you ask Doc, it came. Just a year later. Scary, if you’re the rest of the NBA. And if you’re a Celtics fan? Erection-iffic.
Doc puts Big Baby in his place
Doc handled Big Baby’s complaints from yesterday perfectly: with an iron fist. “If Baby doesn’t know his role by now, he’s going to be sitting down a lot,” Rivers told ESPN. “I’ll just leave it that simple.” Rivers also added, “I think he’s living up to [his nickname] again.”
Big Baby, some advice: put that fat foot of yours in your hand, then insert it into your mouth. In the words of The Rock, know your role and shut your mouth. And what is Big Baby’s role? Whether he’s playing the four or five, it’s the same thing — he’s supposed to come off the bench and affect games with his energy. That’s it. It’s not rocket science.
Celtics aren’t in good shape
Don’t be alarmed by Doc’s observation that the Celtics weren’t in great shape today. It’s day one of training camp –they aren’t supposed to be. I was always one of the hardest-working players on my teams, but after the first day of practice I would inevitably be sucking on pondwater. Staying in shape over the offseason is one thing. Basketball practice is quite another. Within a week or two, everyone will be fine. Even Shaq. The Big Shamrock says he’s putting in extra work after hours, doing some yoga. Which means he’s already done more homework than Rasheed Wallace ever did.
Speaking of Shaq, Doc told WEEI, “Shaq was great, actually. He looked fine.” And Jermaine O’Neal, Doc? “He’s gonna help us.”
Who’s the starting center?
Nobody, yet. Both the O’Neal brothers (coined by me, stolen by Doc) took reps with the first team, but Doc hasn’t made a choice yet.
“What I don’t know with either guy,” he told ESPN, “is: How long can each sustain their play? I just don’t know that. I won’t even know that, maybe into the season. But we’ll figure it out.”
Shaq reasserted that he doesn’t care who starts. “Nope, my game is real limited,” he told WEEI. “I know to look for Garnett and to look for my shooters. I’ve always played with great big men and great shooters, so it’s no different.”
Always played with great big men, Shaq? What about when you started alongside Samaki Walker and Slava Medvedenko?
- Celtics Hub interviews Tony Gaffney.
- Doc Rivers’s full interview with WEEI.
- Shaq’s Q&A with WEEI.
- Paul Pierce on the O’Neal brothers’ ability to learn the playbook: “Believe it or not, most NBA teams run the same plays,” said Pierce. “Except maybe Phil Jackson with the triangle [offense], but [the O'Neals] are going to bring it each night on the offensive end. Picking up the defense will take a little time, but they’ll get it.”