Media Day: a time when every team in the NBA feels good enough to win a championship. A time when players claim that they're ready to play all 82 games. A time full of optimism. Nothing was different for the Boston Celtics, hosting their second consecutive media with at least two first-ballot Hall of Famers on the roster. Following the news that Rajon Rondo broke his hand Thursday evening, Boston's star point guard was surely in focus. Another bit of important news in Boston was that Evan Turner just signed his contract today, despite coming to a verbal agreement with the Celtics 71 days ago. Read on for some more quick hits:
- Rondo fielded a plethora of questions regarding the accident that led to him breaking a metacarpal on his non-shooting left hand. After being spotted at a Skyzone park earlier this week, that led to plenty of speculation that he broke his hand doing something (and this is crazy) for fun. This was not the case. "I do spend time with my kids," Rondo said in his usual style of dry humor. That said, Rondo did not partake in the jumping. He insists that the injury was sustained in the shower where he slipped (but not a "banana peel" slip), and while trying to catch himself on his windowsill with his fist, he broke the bone in his hand. He was seen sporting a black sling for his arm this afternoon, and in the photo shoots, he was shown wearing a white cast covering his forearm. The projected timetable by some is ten weeks, but Rondo stated that a doctor that he trusts pegs his recovery to take about six weeks instead. The whole injury situation has put a damper on his training camp plans, but it hasn't affected his confidence:
- While Rondo is recovering from his broken hand, he will no doubt take part in the skeleton parts of training camp along with stretches. For scrimmages, though, it looks like there will be competition between rookie combo guard Marcus Smart and second-year point guard Phil Pressey. The two of them played alongside each other in Summer League with Pressey taking the bulk of the ball-handling duties. While the popular option among fans would be for Smart to take Rondo's place in the starting lineup in practice, Brad Stevens is a coach who likes to play with his options. Stevens stated that Pressey, Smart, and newcomer Evan Turner will handle the ball the most during Rondo's absence (finally no more Avery Bradley dribbles). Expect both to get some run with the white team in Waltham. Ultimately, though, I expect Pressey to spend most of exhibition slate starting next to Avery Bradley.
- Speaking of upcoming camp experiments, Coach Stevens says to expect to see Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace to get some run at the power forward position despite the long list of available power forwards on the roster. Stevens stated that the Celtics' "fours can play the five, and the fives can play the four." One of his main jobs this year will be evenly distributing minutes throughout a team full of capable players with logjams at the shooting guard and power forward spot. At this point, the only real centers on the roster are Vitor Faverani and Tyler Zeller.
- In reference to his alleged drunk driving incident in Spain, Faverani states that no alcohol was involved in the incident. Apparently, someone tried to run him off the road, and Faverani points to a reporter who's just out to "get him." The Celtics do not appear as if they'll fine "El Hombre Indestructible" for the incident.
- Evan Turner, having to wait 71 days for the Celtics to move the roster around to make room for him, has been in contact with Stevens all summer to try to catch up on Boston's system. He cited the draw to Boston being the team's "mystique" accentuated by the fact that the Celtics and his former team, the Philadelphia 76ers have "played like a thousand times." Turner is pretty familiar with the green, so I don't expect for him to need a long adjustment period as training camp progresses.
- Tyler Zeller was excited when he was traded in July along with Marcus Thornton. Being one of only two "real" centers (even though a few power forwards could play that position), Zeller has a real opportunity to get some playing time. Given the fact that he's put on some weight, maybe he could even grow into the rim protector that Boston needs. We can dream, right? Fellow newcomer Marcus Thornton had nothing but praise for the Celtics organization and Rajon Rondo's vision. Thornton is widely seen as an expiring contract, but he has a chance to clear up the logjam at the two to create some minutes as a spark plug, scoring off the bench.
- James Young thinks that he won't spend time in the D-League. He also stated scoring as a skill that he brings to the team multiple times. Here we go . . .
- Jeff Green is ready to face another season of bloggers criticizing his inconsistent play. His response?
As you can see, the Celtics have a lot of story-lines to deal with this season. One of the main ones will be how to get playing time to all the talented young guys on the squad while keeping the older players happy. Also, roster moves will be in focus as the season progresses. Above the obvious potential Rondo trade (I still think it's unlikely), General Manager Danny Ainge, could look to make a return to prominence sooner than later. Will the Celtics end the year at the bottom of the standings, or will they make a surprise playoff run? All of these questions will be answered sooner or later. For now, though, just like the other 29 teams, the Celtics are ready to go.