He's a man on a mission
BDodgers at aol.com
BDodgers at aol.com
Wed Sep 26 18:35:58 UTC 2012
He's a man on a mission
Celtic Jason Terry is doing (& saying) everything right to endear himself
By _Chris Forsberg_ (http://search.espn.go.com/forsberg-chris/) |
BOLTON, Mass. -- Do you think _Jason Terry_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/841/jason-terry) is going to fit in around here?
The 13-year veteran hasn't even formally slipped on his new No. 4 _Boston
Celtics_ (http://espn.go.com/nba/team/_/name/bos/boston-celtics) jersey,
but he's already endeared himself to the fan base by (in no particular
order): tattooing a leprechaun on his bicep next to the Larry O'Brien trophy;
mentoring Boston's crop of young guards; hanging out with the Sausage King
outside Fenway Park; diving headfirst into charity events in the community; and
promising to be exactly the bench scorer the team has so desperately
lacked in recent seasons.
And just in case there was anyone in the region reluctant to hop on the JET
bandwagon, he casually suggested Tuesday that he's here with the singular
goal of erasing Boston's chief rivals.
"My mission is to kill," Terry said before teeing off in the team's annual
golf tournament at The International. "Whoever that is, whether it's the
Heat, whether it's the Lakers. Hopefully both. That's my mission and that's
what I'm here to do."
Yep, Terry is doing everything in his power to get everyone to forget about
-- _as Rajon Rondo_ (http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/3026/rajon-rondo)
might call him -- that guy. In fact, that guy's name did not come up one
single time as Terry, _Jason Collins_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/987/jason-collins) , Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge met with reporters Tuesday
No, a summer saturated with Boston players expressing an array of emotions
over the departure of _Ray Allen_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/9/ray-allen) (errr, that guy) has given way to an autumn of unbridled optimism
about the upcoming season.
And that's in large part because of the bodies the Celtics have brought in
to replace Allen, including Terry and _Courtney Lee_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/3445/courtney-lee) . When you couple that with a returning
backcourt of Rondo and (when healthy) _Avery Bradley_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/4240/avery-bradley) , that's a potent four-guard rotation.
"We're really excited about our guard play," Ainge said.
Then Rivers made a stronger declaration: "I don't know if anyone has a
better guard core than us."
Ainge, fresh off a summer that featured the signing of a whopping 13
players, took a bit of a victory lap for the overall roster his staff has
constructed. Not only did the team re-sign starters _Kevin Garnett_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/261/kevin-garnett) and _Brandon Bass_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/2745/brandon-bass) , but it added two
midlevel-caliber players (Terry, Lee); brought back _Jeff Green_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/3209/jeff-green) on a long-term deal; drafted a pair of
first-round big men (_Jared Sullinger_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/6624/jared-sullinger) , _Fab Melo_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/6608/fab-melo) ); and added depth at almost every spot on the floor.
Steve Mitchell/US PresswireTerry, one of the players brought in to replace
Ray Allen, has vowed to be exactly the bench scorer the team needs.
"I think we're deep at every position," Ainge said, admitting that injuries
depleted the team in recent seasons but adding that he really likes the
team on paper heading into the 2012-13 campaign. "We have a lot of depth.
We're deep at the point, the 2, 3, 4 and 5. I'm excited about our depth."
So is Rivers, who for maybe the first time has the flexibility to mix and
match pieces all over the court. He was speaking about the guards, but he
could have been talking about the entire roster when he noted, "I've always
thought that [versatility is] the way I would love to coach and I'm going to
have the opportunity to do that."
The Celtics finalized their offseason roster construction last week with
the addition of center _Darko Milicic_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/2171/darko-milicic) . Coupled with the retirement of _Keyon Dooling_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/209/keyon-dooling) , the Celtics still have 16
players under contract (three of which are on non- or partially guaranteed
deals), and Ainge said the trio of second-round pick _Kris Joseph_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/6599/kris-joseph) and first-year guards _Dionte
Christmas_ (http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/4025/dionte-christmas) and
_Jamar Smith_ (http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/3118/jamar-smith) would
compete for the final roster spot and a chance to add depth at the guard
With the roster set, the focus has been on building chemistry. Informal
workouts have been going on for the better part of a month in Waltham. Then
last week Rondo organized a field trip that saw the team convene in Los
Angeles for workouts on the UCLA campus. Players who were working out in Boston
(including Rondo, Terry, Lee and _Chris Wilcox_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/1731/chris-wilcox) ) went west to join up with California
residents Garnett, _Paul Pierce_
(http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/662/paul-pierce) and Collins for nearly full-squad work.
"It was impressive watching the pickup games and the depth that we have,"
Collins said. "We have a lot of good players, a lot of talent on this team."
Rivers said he hasn't given much thought to individual roles, knowing that
will sort itself out both in camp and over the course of an 82-game season.
He does envision Garnett sticking at the center position but didn't rule
"It's going to work itself out," Rivers said. "I'm pretty sure I think I
know. But, again, you get in the gym and guys change your mind."
That happened last season when Garnett shuffled to the 5 and Bass hopped
into the starting lineup, helping to ignite Boston's second-half surge (which
ended just a few minutes short of the NBA Finals).
Asked whether renewed depth at the center spot could allow Garnett to play
the 5, Rivers bottom-lined it.
"I don't think Kevin cares as much as he says," Rivers said. "I think Kevin
just wants to win. If I told him he had to play point and we would win the
title by him doing that, he would give it a try. I just think that's who
With that in mind, Garnett should get along swimmingly with Terry, who
didn't hesitate to set lofty goals for his new squad after listing off his own
"I'm very excited. Obviously another opportunity to win a championship,"
Terry said. "That's what it's all about. There's no other motive here but to
go out there and win, and win it all."
Yup, he's going to fit in just fine around here.
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