Collins realistic about role with C's
September, 25, 2012
By Greg Payne | ESPNBoston.com
BOLTON, Mass. -- When it comes to accepting his role with the Celtics this season, Jason Collins will be nothing but realistic.
The 7-foot veteran of 11 NBA seasons certainly has value when Boston opposes the Dwight Howards and Andrew Bynums of the league, but on a nightly basis, consistent minutes might not be in the cards for Collins, and that's just fine by him.
"My role is to be ready," Collins said Tuesday prior to the Celtics' Shamrock Classic golf tournament at The International. "I never know what night my name and number is going to be called, but my job is to go out there, be physical, play solid defense, and contribute on the offensive end whenever possible. We have a lot of scorers. I don't think they'll be counting on me for that."
Collins' size, veteran status and professionalism were all alluring from the Celtics' perspective, and Boston stood equally enticing in his eyes, with a talented roster, an appealing coach and a chance to compete for a title.
"It's a great organization, starting from ownership and all the way down," Collins said. "It's an opportunity to play for Doc Rivers and playing with hall-of-famers, and this is my best opportunity to win an NBA championship. We have a lot of depth on this team, so a lot of guys who could be playing a lot of big minutes someplace else are all buying in and sacrificing and trying to win a title."
Rivers' reputation as a coach players want to play for was only enforced by Collins, who sought out the perspective of several others who've played under Rivers in the past.
"I've heard nothing but good things," Collins maintained. "Brian Scalabrine was a teammate of mine in New Jersey for a long time and he talked about him, and just hearing nothing but good things about the kind of person he is and the kind of coach he is, and I'm looking forward to having a great year."
Collins, who slimmed down considerably this summer, might have helped his free agent stock after emerging as a reliable backup center for the Atlanta Hawks the last three years, particularly during last season's playoffs, when he entered the starting lineup for a short period due to injuries to Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia. In four games against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last season, Collins averaged 2.4 points and 2.4 rebounds over 17 minutes of action per game. It was yet another example of the way Collins conducts himself as a reliable veteran.
"I showed them that going into [last] season, I was the third center, and then with injuries and everything, I'm the starting center against Kevin Garnett, and just showed that I'm always ready," Collins explained. "For me, it's always about being a professional and always being ready."
Collins said he's already impressed with his new teammates. He spent part of last week with the team out in Los Angeles at UCLA for a series of workouts and practices organized by point guard Rajon Rondo. He said the coveted team chemistry was already beginning to take shape.
"It was impressive watching the pickup games and the depth that we have. We have a lot of good players, a lot of talent on this team," he said.
Collins' role could fluctuate all season, depending on how much of the Celtics' other talent avoids injury. But it's his own talent for always being ready to contribute -- even at a moment's notice -- that could help Boston the most this season.
Collins was equally realistic about his golf game before heading out on the course.
"I don't know. I might have to foot-wedge it out a couple times, give myself a good lie here and there," said Collins. "I'm not a beginner, but I'm terrible."