Settling in Boston
It’s been a rollercoaster last few months for me.
The season didn’t start out the way we expected in Memphis, and we were struggling early on. We were on the verge of getting it turned around, but then I got traded.
Everyone knows how fondly I felt about the city of Memphis, and that was difficult to leave. But it’s just part of how this industry is. It’s something that, as a player in the NBA, you have to deal with sometimes, and move on.
I’ve done that, and embraced being here in Boston. Everything happens for a reason, and it’s been a great transition so far. The Celtics organization is wonderful. It’s one of the best organizations in any professional sport. I’m happy that I was traded here, and not somewhere else.
I want to thank Boston fans for embracing me in this short time that I’ve been here. It’s been a great ride so far, and an unbelievable experience playing in the Garden. There’s all this history here with the team, and of course, in the city. I’m looking forward to learning more about it.
The Celtics fan base is really second-to-none in the league. I’ve been lucky enough to play in places where they’ve had really great fans. This fan base takes it to another level. I’m excited to let the relationship continue to grow, and hopefully, it will continue to for a long time. I really want to try to make this work, and make this my home not just this season, but going forward.
I’ve had some good conversations with Danny Ainge since the trade, just talking about the situation I’m in here, among other things. Danny and I have had a connection for a while. He spent time in my hometown of Phoenix during his career, and his son actually played against my brother in high school when I was younger. So he’s been around me and known me for a long time. I think there’s kind of a certain degree of understanding between us, which allows us to talk about different things. It’s cool to have that with him.
Danny has done an amazing job here in Boston, and he’s kind of been the architect of the Celtics for the last decade or so. Hopefully, he sees me as a piece of the new puzzle.
GETTING TO KNOW THE CELTICS
One of the great things about coming to the Celtics has been the opportunity to play with Rajon Rondo. Obviously, he’s the franchise player here, and we’ve been able to develop a pretty cool relationship in a short period of time. He’s one of the guys that I can really identify with on this team. We can have conversations about a lot of things outside of basketball as well as the game.
He’s a very clever guy — that’s one of the characteristics that has stuck out to me. That’s what kind of makes him who he is as a person and a player. His game fits his personality. He’s a great and creative passer. He can find angles and places to put the ball where a lot of guys wouldn’t.
There aren’t too many point guards out there like Rondo right now. He’s arguably the best in the league. He’s the ultimate floor general, and there are a lot of things I can learn by just watching the way he commands the court. It’s been a really good experience so far getting to know him, and play alongside him.
One of the other players who has really stuck out to me since I got here is Avery Bradley. I didn’t know how good he was before I got here. When I was in Memphis, we only saw them once or twice a year, and when I was in Toronto, he was playing behind Ray Allen here, so I didn’t see him as much.
But ever since he’s been starting and playing a lot of minutes, he’s been doing really well. He’s probably the best on-ball defender in the league. He’s a very good player, and I think he has the potential to be a great player. Unfortunately he got injured recently, but we hope he’s able to come back soon.
I’ve also been impressed by coach Brad Stevens in my short time here. I knew a little bit about him from when he was at Butler, and they made those runs in the NCAA Tournament. When you have a school such as Butler — which is not a major Division I program – and are able to coach that team to where they went, it’s an amazing accomplishment. It says a lot about him.
Obviously, the NBA part of basketball is a little bit new to him, but he knows the game and has an amazing basketball mind. He eats, sleeps and breathes basketball, and you have to love that.
The way he goes about teaching sets him apart a little bit. He’s a very positive guy. A lot of coaches are screamers and yellers. Brad stays positive no matter if it’s good, bad or ugly. That’s something that’s kind of rare in the league, especially nowadays.
FINDING MY ROLE
One of the toughest parts of coming to a team in the middle of a season is trying to learn your role on the fly. When you haven’t had training camp with a team or anything like that, trying to figure out what they want is not easy. So I’m just trying to listen and learn what this team needs from me, what exactly they want me to do and what is expected of me. It’s something I can only figure out through playing. If I continue to work at it, I think it will work itself out.
The biggest thing I have to focus on is continued growth as a player. I don’t have any personal goals or anything like that. I just want to continue to grow and see what happens from there. If I can do that and play the way I’m capable of playing, I think I’ll be okay. Hopefully, that will put the team in a position where they want to bring me back. One of my main goals is to go out there and play well, and just try to help as much as I can. So I’m hoping to get back on the floor real soon and start working at that.
Looking at what we have here in Boston right now, there are a lot of good people in this organization, and a lot of quality players on this team to put us in a position where we can be a good team. We’re a young group, but I think we’re capable of being a good team as long as we all continue to grow into our roles.
With any young team, one of the challenges is being ready to play every day. It’s a matter of finding that consistent approach, and that’s tough for guys who haven’t been in the NBA that long. Consistency is something even I’ve struggled with since I’ve been in the league. But that’s something as a team, we have to continue to get better at as well. Honestly, I think that’s the most important thing for us.
Making the playoffs is definitely a reasonable goal for this team, especially in the East. You just never know what will happen. I think we have the pieces, the right mind frame, and a great coach, so we should be able to accomplish that.
But we’re not really thinking about that right now. We’re just thinking about getting better every day. With this young team, I think Brad’s main focus is to continue to build and have everybody get better as a unit. So I wouldn’t say that making the playoffs is the main goal, but I’m sure they wouldn’t be disappointed if we did.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
Before I go, I want to shout out all the people who have followed and encouraged me through this up and down journey. Thanks for sticking with me. Hopefully, Boston could be one of the last stopping points for me in a long career.