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Chat transcript: June 27
The Quotable Coach

Jim O'Brien took over as Head Coach of the Boston Celtics on January 8, 2001, and led the Celtics to a 24-24 mark. O'Brien's ascension to Head Coach sparked a turnaround from a 12-22 record to a memorable second half charge which saw the team make its first run at the playoffs in a half-dozen years.

Under O'Brien, the Celtics recorded a 15-10 mark in games decided by five points or less, reeled off seven consecutive home victories, the club's longest in five years, as well as five in a row on the road, the team's longest win streak away from the FleetCenter in eight seasons. O'Brien was rewarded in the off-season with a multi-year deal that will allow him to lead the C's into the future.

O'Brien originally came to the Celtics as Associate Coach to former Head Coach Rick Pitino in 1997. After graduating from St. Joseph's in 1974, he took a series of assistant positions at the collegiate level before becoming Head Coach at Wheeling Jesuit College (1982-1987). He garnered his first NBA experience on Pitino's staff at the New York Knicks, serving as an Assistant Coach from 1987 to 1989. He then accepted the Head Coaching job at the University of Dayton, a position he held from 1989 to 1994. He then rejoined Pitino at the University of Kentucky, where he served as an Assistant Coach from 1994 to 1997.

O'Brien chatted live on June 27.
Todd from at 12:54pm ET
Have you considered taking Vladimir Radmanovic at pick 10 or 11 since the zone rule is familiar to European players?

Jim O'Brien at 12:55pm ET
I don't think there is going to be as much zone as people think there will be, because there is a three-second rule for defensive players as well. Radmanovic is definitely somebody we would consider if he is still around.
Peter Drosos from at 12:55pm ET
Coach- What do you feel the teams greatest needs are, and do you think anyone in this upcoming draft can help any of those needs?

Jim O'Brien at 12:56pm ET
Everybody in the NBA wants a great center. We have three solid centers, but we are not drafting by position. We are drafting for best player available. We are putting a premium on the ability to shoot the basketball.
MIKE from Michigan from at 12:56pm ET
I love the Celtics...would Jason Richardson be a good fit with Walker and Pierce? PS - You're an awsome coach.

Jim O'Brien at 12:57pm ET
Thank you for the compliment. We don't anticipate Jason being around by the time we pick. Jason would be a great addition to our team. He is great defensively, a super athlete and is improving rapidly on offense.
Adam from at 12:58pm ET
Hi Coach, who do you think is the best guard in the draft?

Jim O'Brien at 12:59pm ET
I believe the best point guard is a coin flip between Omar Cooks and Tony Parker - who played in France last year. At the two spot, I would say Radmanovic or Jason Richardson.
Rob Anthony from at 12:59pm ET
Coach, how comfortable are you with the prospect of having three rookies on the team, which was not an old team to begin with? Thanks.

Jim O'Brien at 1:01pm ET
Certainly, that might cause some concern, but we think the caliber of players at the 10th and 11th pick can make immediate contributions. We think our veterans can carry us for the first part of the season. We are very happy to have three of the top amateurs playing for us next year and think they can pay big dividends in the future.
Infinine at 1:01pm ET
Can you give any insight into the rumors involving Portland with the 11th and 19th pick?

Jim O'Brien at 1:01pm ET
The rumors are totally untrue.
Zev Hersch from at 1:01pm ET
What players in the draft do you think will make an instant impact on their team?

Jim O'Brien at 1:03pm ET
I believe Shane Battier, - due to his maturity, Rodney White, Joe Johnson and Troy Murphy can all have an immediate impact. Maybe even Pau Gasol. Pau is a guy that can make an impact due to his length.
Tom T. from at 1:03pm ET
Jim, I've seen in some mock drafts Forte going to the Celtics at #21. How do you think Joe Forte can help the Celtics?

Jim O'Brien at 1:04pm ET
I am a big Joe Forte fan. I don't think he will be around at pick 21. He is impressive due to his intelligence and his ability to score. Joe had the best nose for the basketball. When he goes into a loose ball pile, he usually gets the ball. He gives you scoring and more possesions due to his nose for the ball.
Will from Rhode Island from at 1:04pm ET
What are the challenges you face related to the salary cap and the draft and/or trades?

Jim O'Brien at 1:06pm ET
We need to get our team to the playoffs. The salary cap issues are that we intend to Paul Pierce to a long-term deal, and we are going to make sure we don't pay a luxury tax. We have to use our draft picks well, because free agency is not really an option.
Mark Handley from at 1:06pm ET
Coach, why do you think Shane Battier has slipped in the draft according to basically everyone? I think that he would help a team more than anyone next year.

Jim O'Brien at 1:07pm ET
That remains to be seen. I have heard that he doesn't have as much upside as others, but I don't know if I believe that. He shoots well, is mature, plays great defense and brings so many intangibles. Whomever gets Shane will be happy with what they get.
Bobbo from at 1:07pm ET
If you had the #1 pick whowould you take?

Jim O'Brien at 1:08pm ET
I would take Kwame Brown. He seems level-headed and has great physical skills. He has the most potential and a good work ethic.
Ryan from at 1:08pm ET
Do you see the Celtics moving up in the draft to select a high school kid?

Jim O'Brien at 1:09pm ET
We don't plan to move up. Simply because, we believe the players we get at 10 and 11 will be fine NBA players. There are no guarantees in front of us, so we like our position as it stands now.
Tim Heffernan at 1:09pm ET
Any chance that the C's will implement a different defensive philosopy/style next year, with Dick Harter coming on board?

Jim O'Brien at 1:10pm ET
We will play tough man-to-man. Dick will help us with defense. He knows the game inside and out, and will make a great impact on our defense.
Jared Deame from at 1:10pm ET
Do you believe in having the young high-schoolers come up and play in the NBA?

Jim O'Brien at 1:12pm ET
You have to consider players that have as much talent as these young players have. Hockey and baseball do the same. We draft them young because we believe they will be the best players. It comes down to NBA scouts have to view the person regardless of age or experience if you want to be competitive.
Larry Bird at 1:12pm ET
Coach, who do you think could be the steal of this draft?

Jim O'Brien at 1:13pm ET
Maybe Pau Gasol. It's a tough call. You have to wait to see what the high school players will do.
Rod Tirrell from at 1:13pm ET
Are we involving "miracle Milt" in tonight's event? We could use his luckiness he brings.

Jim O'Brien at 1:14pm ET
It's not about luck. We know what we have to do. We might use Miracle Milt next season.
Larry Bird at 1:14pm ET
How much will Antoine man the point? Would you rather take the point guard from France, Tony Parker or Joe Forte at 21 if both happened to be available?

Jim O'Brien at 1:15pm ET
We would probably take Joe Forte at pick 21. Whether Antoine plays point or not, the offense goes through him, so no matter where he plays, he is going to get a lot of touches.

Jim O'Brien at 1:16pm ET
I appreciate all the questions from the fans. We look forward to NBA Draft 2001 and next season. Thanks.
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