Crammed camp big problem to Big Three
December, 13, 2011
By Chris Forsberg and Tom Lakin | ESPNBoston.com
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Celtics stars Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce all voiced great displeasure Tuesday with a cram-session training camp cobbled together in the aftermath of the lockout in order to allow the NBA to engage in a condensed 66-game regular season starting on Christmas Day.
Garnett, who admitted he was "coming off emotional" and "being very, very, very upfront" with reporters, sounded off on NBA commissioner David Stern and a disjointed start to the new season.
"I think what you see, we're a rushed league right now," said Garnett. "Everybody is paying attention to the Chris Paul situation. But I don't know why everyone's shocked, because Stern has been pretty adamant about when he wants to do things and how he does things.
"Timing is everything. Chemistry is something that you don't just throw in the frying pan and mix it up with another something, then throw it on top of something, then fry it up and put it in a tortilla and put in a microwave, heat it up and give it to you and expect it to taste good. You know? For those of you who can cook, y’all know what I’m talking about. If y’all can’t cook, this doesn’t concern you."
Horrible cooking analogies aside, Garnett is clearly ruffled by the way things have played out in recent days. The Celtics practiced with less than 10 bodies each of the first three days of camp, only getting a full roster worth of players on Monday. Now there's a mere 12 days until the season tips off Christmas Day in New York against the Knicks.
For a Boston team that puts a heavy emphasis on chemistry, this is hardly an ideal path.
“I feel very rushed,” said Allen. “I can’t say that I’ve been particularly happy with the way things have transpired over the last two or three weeks, but I think everybody is in a situation where we just have to do the best with what we have. We have to adjust to the situation at hand, and it’s a challenge for all of us. We’re all going through it, so there’s nothing more you can do about it but prepare yourself physically and mentally."
Echoed Pierce: "We talk about it. This is something that could have been avoided, especially when you see all the different trades falling through, the disorganization of rosters at this point. There probably should have been a period where you had a free agent signing period and then training camp. Christmas Day was something that was really pushed amongst the players as a key day, and that’s why we’ve rushed the way we’ve been rushing."
When it was noted that a simmering Garnett was choosing his words carefully, he stressed that he didn't want to come off as mad, simply professional.
"I’m going to use Doc Rivers saying here, and I hate this saying, but 'You gotta get past mad,'" said Garnett. "Come in, do your job, understand what this is, and that’s what everyone is doing."
While Rivers has noted his team is not in basketball shape yet, Allen suggested that players are generally in good physical shape and it appears most of the Celtics players were ready to return to basketball activities when the lockout ended.
“Everybody’s coming in and showing that they’ve at least kept their mind on playing the game and being ready for whenever we got back at it,” he said. “There were some guys back in ’99 [after the lockout] that when you saw them, it was like, ‘Holy cow, this guy was on vacation for the last three months and didn’t do a thing, didn’t pick up a basketball or a weight.’ In this locker room, that’s not the case. And we knew it, because we got too many strong-minded individuals in this locker room. For us, working out is a way of life, so we never have to worry about that with our team."