Week one of training camp is in the books… and by all accounts, the Celtics have picked up right where they left off. Yes, it's early… but there are a lot of positive things coming out of camp. Here's a sampling:
In between college football on Saturday we caught NBA TV’s “Real Training Camp” with the Celtics. During the week we noticed the “We can win this thing” swagger surrounding the Hornets during their episode, but the C’s had that definite “We DID win this thing” swag. Paul Pierce, who lost about seven pounds over the summer, was looking like he increased his vertical as well. He got up for some dunks, and during the five-on-five scrimmage he chased down Eddie House from behind and swatted his shot against the glass (which the ref whistled for goaltending).
From the same link… on KG and Perk:
Kevin Garnett was in his usual dark place, cussing at everyone and everything from himself to his water bottle… Kendrick Perkins (shoulder) didn’t practice but looked ripped; Danny Ainge said he might be the most in-shape player in camp.
"Eddie has been in the league a long time," Rondo said. "He did a pretty good job last year – we won 66 games and he played well. I am working with him and pressuring him and he's handled it well."
“Kevin said: ‘Hey, you guys. This is a different journey, but ubuntu never leaves the way we play,’ ” Doc Rivers recalled. “I couldn’t have summed that up better.”
“He gets in these try-to-do-too-much habits at times, but I think overall he’s been good,” Rivers said. “He’s been one of our best playmakers, just making plays and attacking the basket.
“His first step has 100 percent returned. He doesn’t mind going into traffic anymore and taking hits. Last year he would not do that, so I’m real happy with Tony.”
… and on Patick O'Bryant
“Patrick’s really good so far as long as he plays with the starters, and he struggles when he’s not. Honestly that’s probably with everybody, but especially at that position because you play alongside Kevin (Garnett). When Patrick plays alongside Kevin, it really makes him good because of his length.”
And our boy, Rajon Rondo, is finally packing on some pounds:
"I've gained 7 pounds," Rondo beams. "I guess you have to win a championship to gain weight."
The spindly point guard has added muscle, but he's also added confidence over the short summer.
"I want to be the best point guard in the league one day," said Rondo. "My coaching staff believes in me. The Big Three believes in me, and the rest of the team believes in me. I'm going to keep working hard regardless of how much I've accomplished so far."
We've already told you that Bill Walker is impressing people. All-in-all… not a bad bunch of stories coming out of the first week. On the flip side, JR Giddens isn't picking things up quite as quickly… and Gabe Pruitt is looking like he'll fall behind Sam Cassell on the depth chart. And it will, realistically, take a little while for us to really see what Darius Miles can give us. But still… for the first week of camp… I'm impressed at how the Champs came back.
And now for the weekly "cool Celtics tidbit at the end of an unrelated Mark Spears notes column":
An NBA source said the consensus among the league's referees is that the player and coach who give them the hardest time verbally are Boston's Kevin Garnett and Utah's Jerry Sloan. The source also said the referees take into account that it's just part of their intense makeup and they have learned not to take it personally.
Another Spears note: The Celtics currently have 5 first-round top 10 picks on their roster. Can you name them without clicking that link?