Newcomers learning Celtics brand of basketball

Newcomers learning Celtics brand of basketball
March 3, 2013, 2:45 pm
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WALTHAM -- The championship banners lining the walls around the Boston Celtics practice facility send a message to anyone who steps on the court. As if they weren't enough, the retired numbers reiterate the tone.

The Celtics are integrating four new players into the mix as they prepare for a playoff run with 24 games left in the regular season. There is no opportunity to re-do training camp and spend weeks diving deep into the system. Instead, Terrence Williams, Jordan Crawford, D.J. White, and Shavlik Randolph are learning on the go. Retaining the Xs and Os is just as important as understanding the core of the franchise.

"The tone is set by (head coach) Doc (Rivers) and the tone is set by how we practice," said assistant coach Armond Hill, who ran Sunday's open practice while Rivers traveled to Maine to watch his son Jeremiah play for the Red Claws. "KG is one of the leaders when we step on the floor and we go to work. Doc doesn't have to say anything. It's a feeling and you can see (it)."

Hill stressed the importance of repetition when teaching Celtics basketball. Running through plays as much as possible on the court helps, but practice time is also limited during the season. If the new players embrace their roles and understand where they are supposed to be on the court, the Celtics will be able to smoothly run schemes.

"It's challenging whenever you get a new player in because you're trying to teach them the philosophy and the way of how we like to play and what we like to do on defense and offense, and it's a lot of stuff," said Hill. "They're caught behind the eight ball as far as they have to learn. For us to continue on, they've got to step up and do what they're supposed to do."

While some players will be called on more than others, it is key for everyone to be ready to go at a moment's notice should their name be called. That goes beyond knowing when to set a screen.

"What I like the other day is that someone fell on the floor and got knocked down, and I saw Jordan run and pick him up," said Hill. "Well that's how we do things. KG and someone else ran to pick him up and Jordan was right there with them. It's an understanding of how we play, how we share the ball, how we share defense, and I think they pick that up."