Opening Comments from Doc Rivers:
I can't tell you how excited I am to be coming to Europe. I think for me and for our team being so new, I don't know if this is the exact number but I think we have 9 team players of our 15. I'm really going to use the European trip obviously for our training camp and preseason but mostly as a bonding trip for us so I think it's a great time for us to come over.
Q: With the different talents you have on the roster how much pressure, how much more pressure is on you this time to win and how does it change your approach to this new season.
A: It doesn't change it a lot. As far as the pressure goes I think there is far more pressure when you have a team that you don't think you can win than when you have a team that you think you can win with. I prefer it this way far more than having low expectations or no expectations so I will prepare differently in the fact that I am coaching veterans so probably understand the game a little bit better so I think in those ways I will prepare the game a little differently otherwise you know not a lot of changes.
Q: I was talking with Danny Ainge the other day, we were talking about the early impact of Kevin Garnett just in terms of his enthusiasm and the communication he has had with the coaching staff. Can you talk about that a little bit, what you've noticed about him and how he's interacted with the other guys so far.
A: What you notice the first day you're around him is his enthusiasm it's not anything that is manufactured it's just how he is. I've always thought that having a great shot at a talent is having great energy. Some people have it and some people don't and the more of those energy players you can have the better. It's just rare that you have an energy player that's also an NBA star. So having that in your locker room it just helps just your every day work process, it helps in the locker room on those days in the middle of January when you had a 4 and 5 and you have a guy that comes in your place with that type of energy and that type of talent. It tends to become contagious and that way I love it.
Q: Have you noticed any specific interactions you know with him and the other players?
A: No, just with the young guys. Even this morning he walked in and one guy was just sitting here and he busted in the locker room and he's just so energetic he said 'hey guys let's go, it's another great day'. You're looking at guys like Gabe Pruitt and Glen Davis looking at a guy like this who has had so much success with that type of spirit. There's no way they can walk in acting tired or say 'hey man we worked hard yesterday' because Kevin just keeps moving forward and I think that's a good thing.
Q: Could you talk about how you will make up your team outside of the ĎBig Threeí and how what roles still need to be filled or are you happy where you guys are right now?
A: Yeah I'm happy I mean we are always trying to look at ways of improving our roster. I thought the signings of Eddie House, Posey and Pollard were huge for us I just thought we needed that experience to add to the ĎBig Threeí we have and surround the young guys that will play. I just think it's a great mix. You know the young guys will still have that youth and the energy that they bring and the veterans will have that knowledge. I just think it's a great way of pulling sometimes the young guys along and the young guys will push the veterans with their energy so I like to mix a lot. Obviously if we see someone out there that we think can improve our roster than we are going to do that as well.
Point guards are important in our league there's no doubt about that. You win with them, it's tough to win without them. Having said that I really am proud and love to watch what Rajon has done over the summer. His progression is going to be key to our success and I think he'll be up to the test I really do. He's really put in a lot of time and so I think he'll be ready. The backup position is something that we're just going to figure out you know I do run an offensive
Q: With three veterans on the roster who do you think will emerge as the leader in the new Celtics?
A: I don't know the answer I think that will happen during the process of playing games and going through the practices. Obviously or energy leader will be Garnett it's just who he is. He's always been that. Paul has been one of the leaders here I don't think that will change at all so I think all three will lead at some point during the season. Who will be the leader I don't know. There could be a case that there isn't they all could be that but I think instead of us trying to guess we just have to wait and find that out.
Q: What are you feeling about coaching the ĎBig Threeí Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Is it something different in your coaching experience?
A: Yes it is, I guess I had a chance earlier in my coaching career of coaching with Orlando. It wouldn't have been at this scale but when I was with Orlando we went out and signed Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady and we drafted Mike Miller. Now unfortunately Mike Miller was just a just a rookie and Grant Hill never really played so really I was down to the big one in Tracy. I mean it's nice and it helps the coach to coach talent. This is a talent league so I'm excited about that. I go from a guy that last year had to teach players how to play to teaching how to play together. I like that as well and I think it will work so I can't wait to get started.
Q: Have you ever been to Rome before?
A: No I have not; I'm really looking forward to it. I'm probably the least traveled coach in the NBA! I haven't traveled a lot, I've been to Spain and I've been to London once but it was a quick trip and more on business, I guess this is in a lot of ways a business trip but I'm definitely going to try to take advantage of some of the historical venues in both cities.
Q: What do you expect from the Italian fans in Rome?
A: If it goes by soccer I expect a lot of passion that's what I've seen from that in the past. We have three pretty popular players, we're playing a good team over there as well. I just think you'll see a lot of great support. The NBA is obviously a hot game, it's a game that people have a lot of interest in right now over in Europe so I expect to see that. For a lot of them it's their first and only time that they'll get a chance to see our players and I don't take that lightly. I look forward to our player doing a great job over there and hopefully getting out in the community and meeting some people.
Q: You coached a British player for a couple of seasons, what insight did he give you of British culture and what's your memories of it?
A: Well I know he liked tea! But John Amaechi was terrific he had a great couple of years under me and we didn't talk a lot about the culture to be honest. It was more my job to figure out who he was and he was fantastic in that way. So that's all John gave me in that way. What he did give me was some rebounding and some scoring! And that was far more important!
A: Usually when NBA teams are playing another NBA team in an exhibition game they can be a little bit halfhearted. Does it help that the European teams will all be out to compete as competitively as possible with you guys?
A: Yes it helps. You want to be pushed as much as you can. It's important for our guys to mix so our guys will play a lot of minutes together in preseason, probably more than usual. I will have our starters on the floor, they won't be playing the normal 40 minutes that they would be playing during the season but they will be out on the floor.
Q: Just to get back to the bonding experience about taking the team out on the road for training camp versus doing it back at home and what you expect from that especially having so many new guys on the roster?
A: I'm a big proponent of going away for training camp. We did it the first year when I was here and we had a lot of success that season so I'm a big fan of getting the group away especially is there's a lot of changes involved and just the experience of when you've finished your practices instead of going home and being with your friends and family you end up going out to dinner with teammates etc. and before you can start really playing together I've always thought you've got to know each other a little bit. This gives them a chance to do this. We get an extra week obviously because we're going over to Europe and I like that as well.
Q: What do you think the team will gain from holding training camp in a foreign country? Do you think it will help your players to create bonds, especially for the new players?
A: Yeah I do I think it's great. I'm a big fan of going away really early and I just like that fact that with all the new guys and all the attention that will be thrust upon them I couldn't pick a better year for use to come over to Europe and spend time together and see some of the sites together as a group and I am really going to try and take advantage of that.
Q: People are staying that with the ĎBig Threeí you will have a lot of pressure on you but as a coach Iím sure this is pressure that you want right?
A: Yes Iíll take it any day. The pressure speaking honestly will be on us if we didnít have this would have been greater as we would have had to find ways just to win games, just to maybe sneak into the Playoffs. This type of pressure is great I mean every coach wants this pressure. There are a lot of great coaches in our league who have never had the opportunity to coach players like this and their record doesnít necessarily show the type of coaches they are, so Iíve waited around, I have some pretty decent teams but this gives you a chance to win Ė thatís all you want, you just want a shot at winning and when Danny went out and spent the money, he did a great job and it was clear that the ownership was investing to win. It gives me a great opportunity to bring a group of guys together who have had a lot of individual success but no team success and it gives me a chance to get those guys together and get team success.
Q: Have you spoken to any colleagues or former coaches who have been in similar situations Ė have you been given any advice?
A: Not that I would share but I have talked to a lot of coaches. You are always seeking and getting great advice. There are so many networks where you can reach out and tap resources, so yes I have done that a lot and when you have an opportunity like this in your life you donít want to leave any stone unturned so yes I look everywhere.
Q: How much does coming over to London disrupt what otherwise would have been your training period for that time of year?
A: Well I guess it disrupts things a little bit Ė itís a longer flight than usual Ė but other than that not that much at all. I looked at the schedule again and actually we will be doing an extra week of preparation, so any disruption as far as travel that it causes we make up in days of being able to practice four or five day extra so I donít see this as a disruption at all. Going over to Rome and then to London is not that long of a flight so I like it and Iím really looking forward to it.
Q: I wanted to know how important it is for you to rekindle the Celtic Pride with the recent new signings and how important it is for you to be part of the Celtic community?
A: Well being part of the whole Celtic community has been an unbelievable experience for me and thatís obviously why I took the job. When you have the chance to work for the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Yankees you take it and itís much the same as with the Boston Celtics. Also I would love to bring back the Celtic Pride. Thatís one of the reasons I came here but I knew it would not be easy and that there would be a process and I knew we were going to go young. Infact in my first year we got older by getting Gary Payton and Antoine Walker and we won our division. My goal is to get things back to the way it was and hopefully I can do that and obviously having the talent to do that sure helps.
Q: What do you know about Italian basketball and the players drafted this year?
A: Well I donít know a whole lot a part from what I have seen in film but I know that European basketball overall has really caught up, we do know that and the Italian basketball system has been one of the more powerful systems in the last 10 years in Europe so we understand that as well. I just canít wait to go out and play and even get to meet some of the coaches over there and even spend some time with them as well.
Q: The fact that you will be facing the Timberwolves in London and facing all those guys that were involved in the trade and seeing them again, especially Al Jefferson what will the feeling be like?
A: Well it would be nice to see him. All of us still talk and our lines of communication havenít stopped Ė obviously I donít coach him anymore and Ryan and SebastianÖI mean people donít understand in our job that we not only coach them but we also have relationships with them and in a lot of ways they become part of the family and when you trade guys or loose them for whatever reason, even free agency, it takes a bit out of you so it will be nice to see him and to share some time. But when the game starts all bets are off.