Man… this offseason just flew by.
Tomorrow, the Celtics will hold their media day in Waltham… and we’ll be treated to all the mugging, posing, crazy questions and re-lived memories of last season. And then its back to work for the boys in Green… as they head down to Newport to start playing basketball again.
And while there are a lot of little questions for each individual player… there is the one big-picture question hanging out there: After spending their entire careers chasing that elusive championship… how will Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen react to starting the season as defending champions?
It’s a fair question. Will they take the foot off the pedal at all? Will they be surprised at the level of intensity their opponents bring because they’re playing the defending champs? Doc Rivers knows it will be a challenge.
“We’ll see when we get into it,” Rivers said. “At the end of the day, I can give them a great rah-rah speech, but it’s got to come from them.
“They set their minds to do something last year and they did it. The question is, do they want to do it again? It’ll be harder, no doubt about that.”
But Doc’s not worried about Paul Pierce.
“You just don’t know how guys are going to come back after they win it. He’s come back hungry. He’s had a taste of it and he wants more.”
I’ll be honest… he’s the guy I’d worry about most when it comes to this. KG is just wired differently so I’d expect him to just be him. Ray might be too OCD to approach things any differently. But Pierce… Pierce is the guy that could fall into the trap.
Hey… it’s not a knock on Paul. It’s just human nature. He’s been a pure Celtic almost every day of his career… and he’s been under intense pressure to add the ring to his resume so he could finally be considered among the all time great C’s. Now he’s got it. An entire career’s worth of pressure on the NBA’s most storied franchise is now off. I don’t care who you are… there’s a potential trap there. The great thing for Paul is that he’s still got to play up to KG’s intensity… so drop offs on this team will be less tolerated.
Marc Spears, as usual, has some of the best little Celtics tidbits at the end of a totally unrelated column. At the end of this piece on the Hawks, Spears reports no new players will be brought to camp. So they’ve got 16 now… and we’ll see if someone is waived or traded to make room for Darius MIles and Sam Cassell. Also, the starting 5 will appear in GQ’s “Men of the Year” issue. And there’s a quote from Andrew Bynum about whether he would have changed the outcome of the finals.
Also… I’d like to share this story from a spy at Showcase Live in Foxboro (which is part of Patriot Place). This was from a party last week:
last night we had Timbaland host a party for his little brother Sebastain’s birthday. Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Gabe Pruitt & Darius Miles all showed up. Paul went up on stage next to the DJ & all 500 people went crazy. They spent about 3 grand on liquor in about an hour because they got there so late