Opening night is a couple of weeks away… and the starting unit is pretty much comfortable with each other. Sure, there are some tweaks to the way things have been done in the past (like Kendrick Perkins getting some more touches), but overall… these guys don't need much more game time. Meanwhile, there are still some second unit questions… so Doc's giving the starters a good amount of time off the rest of the preseason.
"We change things with the starters, too, so everything is not
exactly the same," the coach said following yesterday's two-hour
workout. "There are tweaks in everything you do. They have to get the
timing of that right and have to get back to the execution of that.
That's what they're trying to focus on now.
"For the new guys, they are trying to figure out all the stuff
you're running, plus their roles. Then they are trying to impress you.
So they have a lot of stuff going on."
Welcome to preseason basketball. Some of these combinations should be interesting. And we don't mind the extra pine time for the starters.
One starter who will enjoy whatever time off he'll get is Paul Pierce, who turns 32 today. Jessica Camerato has an excellent piece on Pierce today… showing how he's staying young. Basically, he taking better care of himself. Just listen to what workout freak Ray Allen is saying about Paul.
“Just yesterday in the weight room I told him he was starting to look
skinny,” Allen said. “You know, Paul has always had like a heavy look,
a heavy body. Now you see in his legs he’s slimming down, his upper
body is slimming down. I think it’s the natural evolution when you get
into your 30s and your metabolism starts to slow down and you start
thinking about eating better, getting more sleep, and then your body
starts to show it. And then as for us, this schedule is so demanding
you really have no choice, your body will tell you you need more rest.”
Steve Bulpett took the opportunity to ask Paul and Doc about his contract, which Pierce COULD opt out of… if he's crazy and decides to pass on more than $20 mil.
“Yeah, I think he’ll take the money,” Rivers said with a laugh.
The only realistic issue would be if the situation here changes and
Pierce is lured by a long-term deal that allows him to recoup anything
lost next year down the line. Either that or a sudden loss of sense.
“I might get hit in the head,” Pierce said. “You never know.
“I don’t know yet,” he continued. “Maybe I might leave my options
open. Hey, what if they trade Kevin (Garnett) and Ray (Allen) and
Rasheed (Wallace) away? What if they trade everybody? You want me to be
here on a 15-win team? I already did that.”
Pierce stopped laughing in time to add, “Truthfully, I’ll evaluate
everything at the end of the year. I’ll talk to Danny (Ainge, general
manager). But, you know, I’ve always said I want to end my career as a
I'd be shocked if Pierce goes somewhere else to finish his career. That would be a sad day.
Tomorrow, I take off for Vegas for Blogs with Balls 2.0… where I will take part in a panel on blogger access (and our lack thereof) to pro sports franchises. If you're going to be in the area… or if you just really want to go, check out the website for details. ESPN has knocked the ticket price down to $100… there will be a big afterparty at the ESPN Zone, and a big charity poker tournament to cap the event off.
The blogger NBA previews continue. Here's the full list of the Southwest Division previews.
New Orleans Hornets
San Antonio Spurs