Yesterday I came up with some “funny” thoughts on the Celtics training camp that will take place in around 4 weeks. Purpose of that was to 1) keep your mind away from that not-so-fun Sullinger arrest and 2) make myself push harder for creativity.
So today I decided to write a “serious” thoughts on training camp article. Do not expect any jokes here, but rather some sort of predictions and expectation of what should be taking place in Waltham (or wherever Stevens decides he wants to have camp).
This time, training camp will be a lot different from what it has been for the past 6 years. Now the team will not be preparing to win a championship, they will be starting an era of rebuilding and establishing the process Brad Stevens wants to create.
Without further ado, here are some thoughts:
Brad Stevens has to earn his player’s respect fast: This will be the key of how training camp –and the entire season, really- goes. Stevens, a rookie head coach with no NBA experience, will have to somehow show his players that he knows what he’s doing, has a solid plan for the season, and most importantly, can coach an NBA team. We know he’s been studying a whole lot in this offseason. He’s worked on learning the NBA game and the opponents he’ll face. But the real important part of his studying is in his players. He has been studying them on and off the court. Their tendencies, what they like/hate, what they’re good/bad at, everything. If he can show that to them, he will get their attention at least. If he can show them that his studies will bring good results for the team and them individually he will have their respect fast.
Will Rondo exercise as a leader even if not playing? : Sooner rather than later Rondo will be the Boston Celtics team captain. He is the longest tenured Celtic and the best player on the team so to me there is no question that will be happening. For most of his career he has had Kevin and Paul next to him either to help him lead or to lead him. Now, they’re both gone. Rondo will be the team’s leader. What he will do about it is the question. He has to communicate with every single player, let them know what the team expects from them, what they’re doing great, where they’re messing up, where they can improve, how each of their teammates plays, and any other thing you can think of. Even if on crutches, Rondo will have to make his presence felt, and not only that, he has to make his presence create a nice working environment for everyone.
Avery Bradley going against MarShon Brooks will be fun to watch: Super talented offensive-minded player against a natural defensive phenom. It can’t get much better than that. Brooks and Bradley have near complete opposite skills that will make a matchup between the two a more than pleasant sight for basketball lovers. Going further, it gives the Celtics a nice combo at the shooting guard position. The development of both in training camp will probably depend on one another and will define their roles for the season.
Sullinger will place the bar for practice intensity: Jared, despite his latest incident, has shown he is the guy with Celtic Pride written all over him. He has embraced the franchise’s culture and tradition as I had only seen with KG and Paul before. It has been truly gratifying to watch him and listen to him talk. Because of that, he should exercise what was KG’s role for the past 6 years: making everyone bring their all to practice. The Celtics want no Allen Iverson’s in the team, especially during these rebuilding times. Sullinger will be in charge. We know he’s a hard worker and has worked his butt off to come back good from that back surgery. I bet many young guys have already seen his passion during workouts. Now the whole team will do the same, and Jared will show them how practice makes perfect.
Kevin, Doc, and Paul will no longer be there: For Danny, Rondo, and fans, this will be an extremely weird site. I mean, how will we not see KG’s long arm with his index finger pointing up in the middle of the huddle? Can the Celtics actually practice without that happening? New guys will have to take their roles, and make us fans and Danny get used to the new sight and let us enjoy it. Of course Stevens will be the coach yelling instructions replacing Doc. Who “replaces” Kevin and Paul? My bet is on Rondo and Sullinger. I think they’ll do a great job at it, too.