Finally we are getting Celtics news! I know the off season was short, but for some reason, I have been very anxious for this season to start. Maybe it is because for the first time in 22 years, we are going into the season as defending champs.
The notes coming out of training camp are very encouraging. Doc said that team conditioning was off, but that is to be expected because of the short off season and the guys didn't have as long to get ready for the season. But, he also said that the energy was great and that they were better this season than last as far as working together and their energy to get going.
There's been a lot about Darius Miles in the news. First, he said that he doesn't know how he failed the drug test. He said he never took over the counter diet pills that would cause him to test positive. He was going to fight it, but Danny said to let it go when he signed him. If it was Portland doing the testing, I smell conspiracy theory. Maybe it is a poppy seed thing. If you eat a couple of poppy seed muffins before a drug test, it is possible to test possible for drugs. Or, maybe it was another way for the Blazers to try to assure that a team wouldn't touch him. I vote for the second. To me, he seems like a kid who has gotten a bum rap all his career and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and is ready to prove himself in the right place at the right time.
Drug test aside, reports are very good on his play. Doc praised his feel for the game and his instincts. His attitude seems great. When interviewed by Dickerson, he wouldn't trash Portland in spite of all they have done to trash his reputation. Instead he said that he has no ill will toward them and knows that things happen for a reason. I know a lot of people still consider him a knucklehead, but if he ever was as bad as reports have painted him to be, it seems that is all in the past. KG said that he has been impressed by him and when KG is impressed, that is saying something. After a tough practice, he was still able to beat the rest of the big men in wind sprints. So far, it seems that even though his contract is not guaranteed, Miles seems to be on track to make the team and may go a long way toward making us forget about the loss of James Posey. Reports out of camp say that he guarded KG part of the time and did a solid job of it.
With Perk still out, Patrick O'Bryant has a big chance as he has been playing with the starters in practice sessions. It may be a blessing in disguise that Perk is still rehabbing because this team needs O'Bryant to play well and contribute and this will give him a chance to prove that he can and to get some extra playing time to get jump started with the team. More than any other player, the Celtics need O'Bryant to be solid as they need his length. I think he was in the wrong system out in Golden State and may be better than has been reported from his first two seasons.
Another player to watch is Bill Walker. On Sports Tonight, Marc Spears said that he was impressed by Walker and excited to see him play. He had a solid scrimmage yesterday and may be the steal of the draft. His knee is completely healed from the surgery he had after the draft and he seems raring to go.
Pictures out of training camp show a lot of ice packs on knees. It seems as though the Celtics entire season is going to revolve around creaky knees. Even Perk, who has been cleared for drills but not contact because of his shoulder is seen with ice packs on both knees.
ESPN's training camp Power Rankings are out and the Celtics start the season in first place. They answer the people who cite the loss of Posey and question the hunger of this team by asking the question: "Boston still has KG, right?" I tend to agree. They have the Lakers in 2nd place citing Kobe's failure to get pinky surgery and possible chemistry problems with Bynum, Gasol and Odom having to co-exist. And the Hornets, who have been picked by some to win it all, in third. After the Celtics, you have to go all the way to the Cavs in the 6th spot to find another Eastern Conference team.
This is just the first day of camp and stories to watch will be how Tony plays and if he has his confidence and mobility and hops back. How all the knees hold up including Tony, Walker, and Miles. We will watch how O'Bryant does and if he can be the answer at back up point. Who gets left behind as there has to be a cut or a trade and the player who doesn't keep up will be the likely casualty. It sure is exciting to be seeing basketball again!