Doc Rivers normally treats rookies like they’re expensive dinnerware — use them during special occasions, but only during special occasions, because they’re considered fragile and might break at the first sign of misuse. Yet considering the makeup of Boston’s roster, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore might need to be thrust into a larger role than Doc is accustomed to entrusting youngsters.
It’s a good thing they’re impressing at training camp, then. (ESPN)
Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn’t mind offering a glowing first-practice evaluation: “JaJuan shot the heck out of the ball today and he runs the floor. E’Twaun was one of the best players in the gym today, forget being a rookie.”
Moore even played some point guard at practice, an experiment I certainly didn’t expect, but one that could become necessary at some point in the season since Keyon Dooling and Avery Bradley — who don’t exactly inspire the term “superstar” — are Boston’s lone backup lead guards… and calling Bradley a point guard is like calling the quarter-completed building across the street a finished home. The Celtics — even after Ainge rebuilt the bench into a reasonable, if not entirely perfect, product — should still have a few minutes open in the rotation.
But we’ve heard Doc praise rookies before. He spent 2008 training camp drooling about Bill Walker — Walker played 216 minutes during the entire regular season. Even when Tony Allen got injured and the Celtics literally did not have a backup small forward except for Walker and fellow rookie J.R. Giddens, Rivers normally chose to keep Walker rooted to the bench. In retrospect, considering that Walker still hasn’t become more than a halfway decent role player, the decision doesn’t seem so curious. But at the time, after Rivers had heaped so many compliments on Walker and with the Celtics in desperate need of an athletic wing, Walker should have gotten his shot.
My point: No matter what you hear Rivers say for the next couple weeks, don’t expect 20 minutes per game for either one of the Purdue rookies.