It seems as though every day a different player stands out in practice. One day it is Patrick O'Bryant. The next it was Tony Allen. Now, it is Bill Walker. I was pretty excited when Danny got him from Washington in the second round. This is a kid with lottery talent but bad knees dropped him into the second round. Danny was willing to take a chance and it looks as though that gamble is going to pay off.
Bill Walker had surgery right after the draft and stayed in Boston rehabbing his knee. First reports were that Danny was planning to stash him in Europe but he impressed Danny and the coaches so much in his workouts over the summer they felt he can help the Celtics right away. After hearing reports from Camp, I have to agree.
In a scrimmage on day 3, KG and Walker were going for a ball and Walker knocked KG over. KG took exception to being forearmed by Walker and the two went face to face and were separated by the ever peacemaking Sam Cassell. Walker didn't back down from KG and I can see that making their relationship even stronger in the future as KG appreciates toughness in a player and I think that is what made his relationship with Perk so good because Perk never backed down from him when they were playing against each other before Garnett came to the Celtics. I can see Walker being in the rotation this season and really helping the team. So far, it seems that Paul Pierce has taken Walker under his wing, working with him after practice and giving him pointers. Likewise, Ray Allen is helping Giddens and trying to help him get acquainted with the NBA.
After sitting out days 1 and 2, Sam Cassell scrimmaged with the team on day 3. I was puzzled by Sam coming back since it seemed that the roster was in good shape with Pruitt set to take the next step as a back up PG and Eddie House back in place. I am still not sure that Sam is going to be on the team this season. With him back, it seems as though Pruitt is the odd man out, but I don't see Danny giving up on the kid before giving him a chance. Miles is playing well enough that I don't see them cutting him. Giddens is struggling, but I don't see him getting cut either. Unless Danny has a trade in mind, I still don't understand this signing.
The question about whether the team would have the same motivation as they did last season after winning a ring seems to be answered. According to KG, the intensity in scrimmages has been so intense that Doc has to make them shoot free throws from time to time to calm them down. This is exciting because it seems as though the Big 3 are just as intense and motivated as they were last season and the new players are buying into it big time. I can't wait to see them play.
For the second day in a row, Doc canceled the evening session. This time, he made them earn it as he lined up all 16 players and told them if he beat any 3 players they would have to practice. According to Greg Dickerson, he didn't beat even one. Now, it is possible that Doc held back because he didn't want an evening session but if not, that means that Big Baby has been working out because last season, Doc was able to beat him in a race. It also means that Perk and Patrick O'Bryant are pretty quick for big men.
They have been playing Darius Miles at power forward in camp but he will be playing mostly small forward in the regular season. So far, he is playing very well in spite of being winded. Even though his contract is not guaranteed, I see him making the team. He is playing too well so far not to.
Leon Powe replaced Patrick O'Bryant at center with the starters and picked up where he left off in the finals. According to reports from camp, it was Powe coming through with most of the hustle, as well as most of the rebounds, during his time on the floor. I love Leon and look forward to seeing him take another step up in his career this season.
Doc has told us not to expect to see much of the big 3 in exhibition games. He will use them sparingly in most of the contests and then play them closer to regular minutes in the final contest or two. I want to see more of the new guys anyway to see what they can do and I imagine that Doc does too so this is a good strategy.
Even though the scrimmages are intense, there is still time for fun and games as several Celtics broke into an impromptu game of football. It seems as though the chemistry is intact from last season as well. Wednesday's preseason opening game will be televised on CSN and I can't wait!!