Competitive Energy Rising as Training Camp Wears On
The Boston Celtics are now 10 days into training camp and the more time they spend in the gym together, the higher their collective competitive spirit rises.
Josh Richardson and Rob Williams shed some light on the team’s cutthroat practice atmosphere following a particularly chippy session at the Auerbach Center Thursday afternoon, which they both thoroughly enjoyed.
“Just the level of competition, every day, every time we start to scrimmage or every time we do something live, it's like everybody is trying to kill each other,” said Richardson, a first-year Celtic wing and a seven-year NBA vet. “It's real physical, everyone is talking [trash] to each other, and the way I'm cut and the way a lot of these guys are cut, I can tell that's good for us because it keeps you engaged in practice. It's been great.”
Williams backed up Richardson’s claim as he alluded to a verbal altercation between a couple of his teammates toward the end of Thursday’s practice. Though, Williams noted that the quarrel didn’t get too nasty, likening the situation to tough love being spread among family members.
“We’re brothers, man. It’s gonna happen every day,” Williams said. “I just like the competitive energy … Everybody’s out there battling.”
Richardson enjoys having those battles with his teammates as well because he believes that they help to build better character and stronger team culture. He witnessed that first-hand during his early days with the Miami Heat while learning under three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade.
Playing in such an atmosphere allowed Richardson to appreciate heated practices, as he saw it bring out the toughness in his teammates.
“I kind of like it when it gets chippy like that,” he said. “I think it’s good for our team. For my whole life, I’ve known the guys that you get in a fight with normally come out on the other end closer. I think it’s good for us and good for our growth.”
Such a mentality is one of the reasons why Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens went after tenacious guys like Richardson and Dennis Schroder during the offseason. Knowing how competitive the East is shaping up, Stevens wanted to build a team of fighters, which is exactly what they’ll get in those two.
Adding them into the mix alongside Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, should give Boston one of the most relentless backcourts in the league.
“We’re just trying to put together a team that can really be again a team that Boston will appreciate,” Stevens said at Media Day. “A team will play the right way with great teamness and great toughness.”
That's exactly the type of team that has shown up to training camp over the past week and a half. It started off on a competitive note from Day 1 with first-year head coach Ime Udoka fostering fierceness out of his players, and the fire within them is blazing stronger with each passing day as the regular season approaches.