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Celtics Morning Joe: Russell speaks about the C's offseason

Posted by shawn cassidy on September 14, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Russell's doing better, and he sounded off about the Celtics offseason.

The Q&A: Russell on his health, the Olympics and today's NBA- NBA.COM


Russell also talks about the Celtics' offseason, including the loss of Ray Allen:

Russell: You don't know how [the new Celtics] will play together. Getting a better player doesn't necessarily make you a better team. That may sound kind of weird. You may acquire a player with better statistics but may not make you a better team. Red Auerbach and the Celtics, we used to talk about that all the time. The question you have to ask yourself, 'How does his style fit with what you are going to put him with and will it make you a better team?' What Miami is doing is similar to a theory that Red used to have. You have a core group and you bring in some veterans so you don't have rookies coming off the bench. Most of the time it worked but sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes, we would bring a veteran in hoping to get one more year out of them but they were psychologically destructive, so we can only use them one year. They were not about winning. They were about their career. See, a lot of guys give lip service to the concept of winning but they don't mean it.

NBA.com: Were you surprised Ray Allen left the Celtics to sign with Miami?

Russell: No. During the playoffs, I kept hearing people say that his legs were going so his jump shot wasn't as effective. Sometimes, management doesn't make their own decisions and takes the word of someone who doesn't really know. So, Ray can be a boost to Miami. But Jason Terry going to the Celtics can also be a boost. Basically, you're by trading a shooter for a scrapper. So, you have to see how it blends in with the guys who you kept.

I love when Russell calls out some players from his generation, and the same goes for today. "See, a lot of guys give lip service to the concept of winning but they don't mean it." How many players have walked into the Celtics locker room in the past five seasons, and that was the case? Jermaine O'neal comes to mind, but Russell has a good mind for the game. Russell said what most of us think. Terry's the scrapper we need, and Ray's great, but the Celtics have grown without him.

Russell points out that having better players on paper doesn't always mean a title. I agree with that. That's proven almost every NBA season one way or another. The Celtics may not win the title this season, like most of us think they will. Things could come apart at any moment, but I love the C's chances this season.

Categories: Celtics Morning Joe

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Reply paul
07:35 AM on September 14, 2012 
I find Russell's comments unedifying. Yes, a shooter for a scrapper. That's right. That's a good point. But read between the lines. Russell is siding with Allen here. He's saying that the Celtics wrecked their chemistry, believed in rumors about Allen being too old, and that the Heat made the smart move. Why would Russell do this? What is he really saying here? I think he resents Rondo. I think he sees the tremendous potential that Rondo has, and it irritates him. The subtext here is that Allen was great for the Celtics' team chemistry, but isn't that increasingly plainly not true? Allen was increasingly a problem, as it appeared to many of us, and the way he left, and the comments he made about it seem to blatantly confirm this. Who is the one obsessed with his career, Bill? Basically, Allen seemed obsessed with his Three numbers. Going to Miami is brilliant from that point of view. It should be like shooting practice threes for him. He'll pad his numbers like crazy. If he cared about winning, as in EARNING IT, he'd have stayed.

The Celtics radically redesigned the team with Rondo in mind. Russell doesn't want to address that. So he focuses on less important issues. Will the players gel? That's the obvious question. But yeah, they will. Doc virtually handpicked these guys. The Cs are lucky that most hot shots don't like them. Only the ones who 'get it' want to come to the Celtics. And out of those, Doc chose the ones he thought would compliment Rondo.

Sorry Russ. This team is about to craft a legend. You will always be our foundational legend. But new legends do come along.
Reply paul
07:47 AM on September 14, 2012 
And what a nauseating picture of Russell with Lebron. Major ick factor.

Still, get well and be well Russell. You'll never know what you mean to Boston.

Really great comments by Russell:

"Basketball -- out of all of the sports -- is the most evolving. Whoever the best player is, that's how the game is played for a generation.
You never hear the name George Mikan being discussed. But George Mikan won five championships in six years and where does that put him among the all-time greatest players? You can't do it because the game is always changing. The game is dictated by centers. You had Mikan, Wilt, Kareem. Then you build off that with the forwards, Elgin, Larry Bird. Then there is Michael and the guards."

And now, Russ, there is Rondo. Rondo is redefining the game. Catch up.

The interviewer lobbed Russ a great opportunity to talk about Rondo. Look what he does with it:

"NBA.com: Bill Bradley called you by far the smartest player to ever play in the NBA. Who among today's players stands out from a basketball IQ standpoint?
Russell: I don't think there is such a thing as a great athlete who's dumb. He knows what he's doing and the great ones never approach a game and see what's going to happen, they approach the game to make things happen.
I would never say who is the smartest but there are some players who stand out. Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Those guys all know what they're doing. They go out to do things, not to see what's going on.
What I admire about Kevin Durant is that he even though he's the leading scorer, he's not always the first option. And that's unusual for an elite scorer because they are usually the first option. Kevin gets his points within the flow of the offense. I don't recall seeing him calling for the ball.
There are probably a dozen-and-a-half guys who know how to play."

Come on. The guy is jealous. He knows what Rondo is. Rondo is the gateway to the next generation of ballers.

Interestingly, Doc gets the same treatment:

"NBA.com: You played under one of the greatest coaches in NBA history in Red Auerbach. Who are some of the coaches you admire today?
Russell: In football, Bill Belichick's attitude is, win with what you have. The coaches I watch over the season are the ones who maximize the most with what they. To me, that's a criteria. I thought Scott Brooks did a great job in Oklahoma City and same with Erik Spoelstra in Miami."

Russ senses that something special is coming this season with the Cs, and it seems that he's not totally happy about it.




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