C's Hold Limited Practice for Third Straight Day
WALTHAM, Mass. – Day 3 of training camp for the Boston Celtics was a quiet one, as they went through yet another practice with less than 10 bodies on the court.
Only three Celtics, Ray Allen, Doc Rivers and Chris Wilcox, spoke to the media after practice wrapped up. The rest of the players and coaches slowly made their way back into the locker rooms, hoping that maybe tomorrow’s practice session will be a bit closer to the standard.
Still, though, the three men who stuck around and spoke touched upon some topics of interest. Here are a few notes to take away from Day 3.
Rondo, Pierce are Recovering
Paul Pierce missed practice for the second consecutive day as he continues to rest a sore right heel. The injury is nothing serious, but the Celtics are approaching it with precaution.
Rajon Rondo also suffered a minor setback today, as he rolled an ankle while putting up a shot. That sprain is also not being viewed as serious, and he should be back on the court soon.
Doc’s Getting Creative
With less than 10 players to work with, Rivers has been forced to alter the structure of his practices during training camp. After three days of camp, the Celtics would typically have a substantial amount of their system installed. That’s certainly not the case this time around.
Boston has only plugged in minimal portions of its system, and it won’t add much more until the roster is filled out. Until then, Rivers will put his team through drills that are essentially broken down to smaller numbers.
“We’re doing a lot of 3-on-3, 2-on-2, 1-on-1,” Rivers said. “We did a ton of 3-on-3 work, breaking our offensive sets down. We did a lot of pick-and-roll defense with 4-on-4. So you can still have a practice, the problem is we haven’t had a scrimmage yet at all.”
The hope is that a scrimmage will be on tap soon, possibly even on Monday. Paperwork is still being finished for several new Celtics, and the team pushed practice back by two hours with the goal of having that paperwork done in time for tomorrow's practice.
“We were going until 2 (p.m.) tomorrow, but if we did that we’d probably guarantee not having enough guys,” said Rivers. “So we changed it to (start at) 2 o’clock, and that gives us until Monday to hopefully have some more guys signed.”
Until those players are signed, Rivers isn’t looking at this as a training camp, per se.
“The first day we have camp is when we have everyone, that’s the way I’ll (look at it),” he said. “So right now, as far as I’m concerned, we haven’t started camp yet. Right now we’re just doing preseason work.
He went on to say, “When everyone is signed we’ll go all the way back and start over. Because you have to, so everyone is learning at the same pace.”
C’s Excited About Wilcox, But Wilcox is Still Adjusting
Recently-signed big man Chris Wilcox has been productive throughout his career, and Boston is confident that trend will continue this season. His athleticism has consistently been noted by both players and coaches, and that’s something the Celtics have been clamoring for over the past couple of seasons.
Allen, who played with Wilcox in Seattle, believes that Wilcox flew under the radar as a free agent this summer and that many people might overlook his arrival in Boston.
“A lot of people don’t know him, and I think just the fact that he was on the West Coast for most of his career and then playing in Detroit, where he didn’t play a whole lot,” said Allen. “So a lot of people don’t really know him. He gives Rondo a different dimension fast break-wise, especially with so many shooters out there.”
Rivers also touched on Wilcox’s athleticism playing into the team’s fast break game, and he also mentioned that Wilcox could wind up being “solid” for the team at the defensive end of the floor.
While many of the Celtics are raving about what Wilcox might bring to the table on the court, Wilcox himself is still settling into a new environment. As we all know, things work differently here in Boston than they do throughout most of the league, and Wilcox is still adjusting to those changes.
“He was laughing today that he hadn’t had a water break in three days. And I said, ‘You’ll be saying that at the end of the year, too. You can go get it whenever you want, but we’re not going to break for 15 minutes so everyone can sit and go get water.’ “ Rivers joked. “I said, ‘The water’s there, you can have it whenever you want, just go over there, have your glass then you can get back into practice.’ I don’t believe in having a 15-minute sit-down so everyone can have a cup of water. So he was laughing saying, ‘Oh, that’s new.’ But that’s the way it is, and he’s getting used to it.”
Players, Coaches Still Adjusting to Condensed Preseason
Some of these current Celtics have been around for a while, meaning they’ve already gone through a lockout-shortened season before. With that experience in their back pocket, they have a little bit of knowledge to lean on regarding how to handle what’s to come over the next four-plus months.
What is most important though, according to Allen, is that his coach has been around the game long enough to know how to handle this condensed season, too.
“I think more importantly it’s having a coach that’s been around and understands [the situation],” said Allen, “because you know how not to push your guys, you know what to expect and you just remember how guys’ bodies felt the last time.”
Although Rivers may know how to handle what’s coming down the road, he’s already trying to figure out how to help his players get through practice.
“What’s difficult is usually you have 18 guys in a camp, guys get rest during practice,” he said. “If you go three hours, guys don’t go all three hours. They can take a break here and there in practice. There’s no breaks in the practice right now. Everybody who starts practice ends practice. They never take one break, they’re on the court the entire time.”
That could be a good thing in the long run, though, because as Allen touched on, getting in the best shape possible early in the season is of paramount importance.
“One of the things that I’ve known most of my career is that early in the season you tend to miss shots, you get tired, and mentally you make mistakes in the fourth quarter,” he said. “So whatever we can do to improve our conditioning early, it’s important for all of us.”