Inside Celtics open practice

Each year the Boston Celtics invite their season ticket holders in to the Garden to catch the team practicing on their home floor. I attended practice last night with hopes of letting you in to the on court experience like I was able to for the first preseason game.

Coach Brad Stevens geared the event more towards the fans than an actually practice, much more conservative on what he showed the fans compared to Doc Rivers' practices in the past.

Here were some points of interest:

  • Brad Stevens was very encouraging. Even though he did not get too deep into strategies, he was vocal and welcoming to the season ticket holders. 
  • Gerald Wallace did not practice. Wallace was in street clothes and sporting a walking boot. 
  • Rajon Rondo did not practice, but did play a role in most drills. In shooting drills he was used as a passer and rebounder, however Rondo did not do any running or take any shots. He seemed upbeat though, and just like last time I saw him in person, he seemed like a huge vocal leader on this team without even partaking in drills. 
  • Ronald Nored, who played point guard for Stevens at Butler - now involved in player development for the Celtics, stepped in on certain drills to create even numbers. Essentially taking Rondo's spot. 
And for those of you interested here is how the practice was run:

  • It was the second practice of the day, so there was a brief warmup period. 
  • Started off with shooting drills broken down by bigs on one end of the floor and smalls on the other. Bigs worked around the hoops while the smalls were mostly shooting from three point range. Rondo worked with guards as a passer.
  • Then some shooting competitions were run. The two teams were a mix of different positions. First team to hit 21 shots from a certain location on the floor won. Vitor Faverani was impressive with his range as was Kelly Olynyk. Phil Pressey needs to improve from three if he is going to be effective in the regular season.
  • Switched back to shooting drills, but this time with more ball movement leading up to the shot. Again Rondo was used as a passer.
  • Then they broke into transition reads, basically running after a made basket. Teams of five ran the floor finishing with a transition basket. Pressey, Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford ran the point in that order. This is the type of drill where Pressey makes up for his jump shot. Compared to Bradley and Crawford who both looked suspect in the lead role, Pressey shined and put on display why he is considered a true point guard. 
  • Finally, practice ended with some knockout and free-throw drills. 
Although this was not a very challenging practice for the players, it is always useful to observe them up close outside of a game setting. My man crush on Phil Pressey only grew and my despise for Jordan Crawford was amplified.

Next up for the C's is opening night Wednesday in Toronto. Curious to see who the starters will be and what the initial rotation will look like. These practices leading up to the season are all the more important. Once Boston gets going with a busy schedule practices will become few and far between in the month of November.

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