Media day for the 2013-2014 Boston Celtics came and went Monday without much fanfare. While SportsCenter gave us live check-ins with the defending champion Miami Heat, the Celtics quietly gave us a lot of what we already knew. We learned players were excited to work with new coach Brad Stevens, and Rajon Rondo would need some time to recover from knee surgery. There was a noticeable void of “spirit”, for lack of a better word, without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in the building, but we probably already knew that, too. Outside of a visibly shaken Gerald Wallace, the players said all the right things Monday, affirming their commitment to winning and denying any possibility that the process could fail. Considering training camp starts Tuesday, it’s hard to argue with the optimism. The team hasn’t even held an official scrimmage yet. Celtics staffers set the clock to 18:18 with a score of 18 all to signify the team’s quest for an 18th championship. ”I don’t really pay attention to what the media said or what anybody said about me,” Rondo said when asked about lowered expectations for the team.
Brad Stevens put his Boston Celtics through two practices on the first day of training camp Tuesday. The first was a 50-minute, non-taped session consisting mostly of offensive skill work. The Celtics taped the second one, which lasted almost two hours. It focused more on defense and featured some work “up and down,” as Stevens put it. Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard probably would have recognized much of what Stevens had the Celtics do. Early in his Boston tenure, the first-year coach has decided to keep a lot of his Butler habits.
Point guard Rajon Rondo went through a non-contact, morning walkthrough as the Boston Celtics opened training camp on Tuesday, then rehabbed on his own while (vocally) observing the team’s full-contact afternoon session. That should remain the plan as the Celtics navigate three days of double sessions at the Rodgers Recreation Center on the campus of Salve Regina University. Rondo is working his way back from ACL surgery in mid-February and has hinted he won’t return to game action until December.
If you’re anybody but Brad Stevens, your first honest-to-goodness practice session as the 36-year-old head coach of one of the most decorated franchises in sports is that moment the emotional roller coaster that has been slowly climbing the past three months since you were hired tips over the ledge and you go screaming into the formal start of your NBA journey. But Stevens is an emotional robot. The same guy who ho-hummed his way to center court after a heart-stopping buzzer-beating win over Gonzaga back in January showed up at Salve Regina College on Tuesday for Day 1 of training camp with the Boston Celtics and bashfully admitted he didn’t even get a tinge of butterflies when he stepped onto the floor and blew the whistle to huddle his squad for the first time.
“Being out for six months, not playing basketball, it’s really tough,” Sullinger said. “I got a lot of work to do. And only training camp can help that.” Asked what he needs to do, Sullinger said, “Just get in the best shape as possible. Not playing for six months, then trying to jump into the fire, you have those days where you’re really good, then you have those days when you suck. Now I just have to stay consistent.”
Some of the video from Media Day via the Boston Celtics on celticslife.com.