Training Camp is in full tilt now. Reports are coming out of great chemistry and we are getting articles on individual players stepping up and the work they put in this off season to come into camp in their best shape. Some exciting stuff if you are a Celtics fan.
Finally some news from Tony Allen. All summer, we would get reports from players who were in Boston working out but not much from Tony, even though reportedly he was in Boston all summer as well. It is no secret that Tony in good shape would really help us with his athleticism and his defense. Allen's trial date should be set later this month after a long delay reportedly due to the judge's illness. The good news is that his confidence and hops are back this season and he has worked hard to get back in shape. It is also good to read that Pierce is being a big brother to Tony and trying to keep his spirits up. I love the chemistry on this team.
Shira reports that Rondo is impressing people in camp, including Tommy Heinsohn.
``If I was playing right now, I wouldn't leave this guy's side because he passes," Heinsohn said.
I really like this kid and believe that he will be the starting point guard eventually as his defense will set him apart from Telfair. Shira mentions Telfair helping Rondo adjust to the NBA game. Another instance of the great chemistry on this team. Doc likes what he sees in Rondo as well.
``He's going to be a very good basketball player. His speed is impressive to everybody, but he also has great feel. He makes great passes. He tends to want to run the club instead of trying to get Rajon Rondo [points]. That's also refreshing. That's nice to have. Rajon and Sebastian do the same thing and that's why you like them."
Much has been made of Rondo's inability to score, but after working very hard on his shooting this summer, I don't expect that to be the case any longer.
In another piece from Shira on her blog, she details how the young players are all being more vocal and speaking up. This is very good. We have a young team, but we no longer have a very inexperienced team. Even though Perk is only 22, he is entering his 4th season. Others are entering their 2nd or 3rd season. I like the fact that Gomes, Al, West, Rondo, Telfair et al are speaking up and taking a leadership role.
Jim Fenton has a good piece on Gerald Green that gives us an idea of his training regimen this summer. He is coming into camp much more relaxed and knows more now what to expect with some playing time under his belt last season.
"I worked out extremely hard with John Lucas (the former NBA player and coach),'' said Green, who returned to Houston. “It was kind of tough. He pushed me through a lot of things that I didn't think a human being could even do, but I got through it and it helped me out this summer. “I was running hills, running when it was 105 degrees outside and just doing a lot of drills. I was working out three times a day. It was a lot of hard stuff that he put me through. “My ballhandling is pretty good now. It wasn't really all that (good) last year. My court awareness is pretty good. My passing is a whole lot better. My defense, I'm more aware and active on defense. I think I got a little better than last year.''
Last year, along with all of the basketball stuff he had to learn, he had to learn to be on his own for the first time and I believe missing his family may have made the basketball part of it rather overwhelming. But we have a very confident Gerald Green coming in this season and it should mean more playing time for him and some good things for the Celtics as well.
"For me, it was just impressive to watch how hard he worked. I thought he worked harder than anyone this summer," said Rivers. "I didn't see everyone but I saw Ryan almost every day in our gym with our coaches all summer. Every day."
I expect Gomes to improve this season and play at both the 3 and the 4. I just love the attitude and work ethic on this team from the top all the way to the bottom.
After several weeks of informal workouts and one official practice, Ratliff has already made an impression. ‘‘He’s a veteran who understands the game of basketball,’’ Paul Pierce said. ‘‘He does so many things well out there that coaches are trying to teach, especially on the defensive end.’’ Pierce said that on several defensive drills, the coaching staff was frequently pointing out how Ratliff was doing things.
I love players who play tough defense. Perk and Ratliff in the middle are going to make the Celtics very tough in the paint. He also is a great guy and fits with the team chemistry very well.
In another piece by Mike Fine, Pierce shows that he is in the best shape. As I said in another piece here on Loy's Place I expect Pierce to be willing and able to run with the point guards in a fast break offense.
Most players came through the drills exhausted but standing. Others, especially the newly svelte Al Jefferson, had trouble standing. Captain Paul Pierce finished up by running parts of the final couple of laps backwards and smiling. When he finished he exerted his captain’s influence and told his teammates to stand up. ‘‘I was feeling good. Hard work in the summer paid off,’’ Pierce said, noting that all the players were aware of the drills after getting together for a team dinner Monday night. ‘‘I put myself through worse workouts during the summer. I was prepared for this. It feels good to get this done, the running test. It’s really hard to prepare yourself mentally for this.’’
The entire team has worked hard on their conditioning all summer and should be ready to run this season. After many seasons of promising to run, I believe that we finally are going to do it this season.
Celtics17 has a very entertaining article on a subject very dear to my heart: Defense. Theo Ratliff should bring some good toughness and defense to the center position on the Celtics. Perk is already one of the toughest players in the league and should break out this season and take his game to another level, especially with Ratliff and Ray to guide him. I am very excited about the return of defense to Boston.
Its so early, but yet reading all these articles and reports of how our training camp is going is really encouraging. Almost all of our guys hit the road running, as they were preparing for training camp and this upcoming season all summer long.
Practices are sounding competitive and productive. The young guys are sounding more mature and developed. I can't wait to read about how individual players have developed their games. I want to learn what Telfair is doing and how he's impressing the team. We got to hear a bit of Rajon today, but I want more details. I want to hear how Jefferson is doing, especially defensively. I want to hear about how our team defense is looking. I want to know how pushing the tempo is going.