Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“Hopefully I’ll be ready to go (tomorrow),” [Shaquille] O’Neal said, “but if I’m not I’ll just sit back until it gets right.”
Jermaine O’Neal plans to play against the Pistons, but his recent injury history (back, hamstring, wrist and knee problems) since the start of camp make everything about him day-to-day.
“My comfort level is probably at an all-time low as far as chemistry, because I’ve been in and out of the lineup,” O’Neal said. “That’s the only way you can get comfortable with a new system. It’s been rough. I’m not going to lie. I’m disappointed.”
This latest malady caught O’Neal off guard the day after he fouled out in the loss at Cleveland.
“It was strange,” he said. “I played the game and woke up the next day and had a lot of soreness and some swelling. So I wanted to be a little proactive about it.”
Semih Erden got in most of the reps with the first team yesterday. If neither O’Neal plays tomorrow, the rookie will get the start. Rivers wants to keep Glen Davis in a reserve role because he’s backing up two positions (power forward, center).
This would not surprise me one bit. If Jermaine isn't ready to go, then Doc will start a guy who's had a 3 DNP's so far. It's not the first time Doc has done that… it won't be the last.
The message there to everyone is "be ready."
Semih was impressive this preseason, and I think he'll do just fine with these other 4 guys helping him along in the starting line up. He won't look great out there, but he'll be fine.
Baby meanwhile, absolutely should continue to come off the bench. Without Delonte in the lineup, he's the second unit's biggest scoring threat… so he needs to stay in that role. If I'm Glen Davis, I'm proud to say that Doc wants me in that role, because it's a critical role on this team: Play well enough to make sitting Garnett and O'Neal for the minutes they're sitting a comfortable option. Play so well that the coach has the confidence in you to play crunch time minutes even though you started the game on the bench.
Ultimately, the bottom line is: get healthy. If Shaq is sorta, kinda ready… then sit him. Same with Jermaine. If KG's got the sniffles… if Paul Pierce has an eyelash out of place… sit them. I don't care. Be healthy.
On Page 2: The rookies talk about life in the NBA:
"The travel [surprised me], getting into a city at 2 o'clock in the morning," he said. "There are so many back-to-backs in the NBA, you don't really see that in college where you never really travel from one city to another. You’re usually coming back to campus every time after a game. When you have a chance to get some sleep, I think you need to take care of your body. Watching the veterans, I learn from them and how they approach the game and how they take care of their bodies, especially in the training room.
"[I was also surprised by] the amount of time rookies have to get here early and put their work in. It's something that we want to do just to get better. We want to get here early and be the last ones out of the gym because as a younger guy, I don’t get as many reps in at practice so I have to put more work in in the weight room and conditioning. I'll get here two hours before and leave an hour to two hours after. I like to get some shots up and conditioning on the floor. Usually we play two-on-two because the younger guys aren’t getting as many reps in practice.
"The atmosphere at the Garden threw me off guard. The fans love the Celtics and that was great to see and great to be a part of a team like that. They threw me out there [for a preseason game introduction] and that was pretty nerve-wracking, but I was happy to do that. It was great and I've even run into some fans who've said they were there for that and they told me what a good job I did. I told them they were just being nice (laughs)."
Definitely check out that link for what Avery Bradley and Semih Erden said.
I like Luke's comments because it touched on so much. To be a rookie on this team… with zero opportunity for minutes but an absolute necessity to be as much a part of this team as KG, Ray and Paul… is trying. You gotta put in a full 8 hour work day just to get a 2 or 3 hour practice in. You gotta make a huge adjustment to the type of travel you're used to. And then you've got to play in the greatest pro sports town in the country underneath 17 championship banners and a couple of others with a million retired numbers on them.
The rest of the links: