I have been reading several books that cover the Celtics' championship teams of the 80's. In every one of them, the players mention how important Greg Kite was to their team. Greg Kite was never a starter, he never made an all star team, and averaged 2.5 ppg and 3.8 rpg over his career. But yet, Larry Bird credits Kite with helping to make them a championship caliber team.
The value of Greg Kite wasn't in the games, it was in practice. Greg came to practice every day. His games were on the practice floor since he rarely got much playing time in the official games. He played very hard in practice and gave everything he had there on the practice floor and in doing so, pushed Robert Parish and Kevin McHale to have to play hard against him and thus lift their own games to a higher level.
That's not to say that Kite never contributed in a game. When he was called on to fill in due to an injury or foul trouble, he played his hardest and did the best job he could.
Danny played on those teams in the 80's and knows first hand the value of having players who can push each other in practice. We have players that we hope will develop into dominant players, but we also have players that I have seen mentioned as never being more than good role players. Both are needed to make a championship team.
Players like Leon Powe and Scal may not get much playing time this season, but their value will come in playing against Al and Gomes in practice and pushing them to be all they can be. Danny made mention in an interview on FSN that Al is working hard to win playing time from Gomes and Scal. I hope Scal is pushing him in practice to be his very best. Dwayne Jones may not play much in games but he has a good work ethic and plays hard and will push Perk and Ratliff to play harder in practice.
Every off season Danny signs players like Pittsnogle, Allan Ray, Alan Akingbala, Will Bynum, etc to partially guaranteed contracts. I believe that many of these are meant to push the players currently under contract to play harder to win their spots. We may have a Greg Kite among the players that are on the fringe that Danny sees as being the one who can push the other players in practice to become a much better player. If so, that player will stick with the team even though they don't see much playing time in the present.
Danny was quoted as saying that there will be worthy players who won't get playing time. But those players can still be a valuable part of the team by working their hardest in practice and being ready if they do get the call to do whatever is asked of them. We shouldn't underestimate the value of a Greg Kite type player in building a championship team. Every player isn't going to be a star, but they can all contribute in a big way even if they don't play big minutes. Don't underestimate the value of a Greg Kite. Discuss this topic on the Celtics Green Forums!
We must remember those who don't get the attention and the spotlight. They provide their roles in other ways that aren't seen, and its just as important as the roles of the players who are being seen.
So true Derren. You never know which player is in the Greg Kite role and pushing the stars to be the best they can be. I kind of see Scal in that role possibly. He got off to a very rocky start last season, but the fact that he was the one who injured Perk's shoulder in practice tells me that he goes all out in practice.
Yeah, I think Scal is not given enough respect for what he does. He's actually a useful player, once he realizes that dancing around with the ball and trying to be cute is not good for anyone. I do appreciate the rebounding hustle he shows as he crashes into the paint. He's also got some offensive game that just hasn't been utlized yet. He does have the ability to knock down shots, but he's a lot better when he's got his feet set and when he's shooting in rhythm. He isn't good when he's trying to score off the dribble.
But beyond Scal, there are players who play the Greg Kite role for us. It was mentioned that one of the benefits of having Leon Powe on the team was so that Al will have a PF to go up against in practice to help him work on his post defense. Powe is physical and he's a good low post scorer, so Al can get good training guarding Powe in practice.
Rajon and his sticky defense will be more than Sebastian and Delonte can handle. Both of them should get better by going against Rondo daily.