Pietrus: 'I came to the Celtics because of Coach Rivers and KG'

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Pietrus: 'I came to the Celtics because of Coach Rivers and KG'

BOSTON -- Following the Celtics blowout win over the Toronto Raptors, Mickael Pietrus sat at his locker and talked very passionately for ten minutes about a single topic -- the player who sits next to him, Kevin Garnett.

Pietrus has admired Garnetts game since he entered the league in 2003. Not for his stat line or athletic ability, but rather Pietrus liked Garnetts intensity and wanted to incorporate that into his approach to basketball. So much so, in fact, that Garnett and head coach Doc Rivers were the two driving factors in his decision to play in Boston.

He played hard for 16 years, Pietrus said following the Cs 100-64 victory. Ive been watching him the last 10 years since Ive been in the NBA, and the way he gets ready for a game, he gets ready to compete every night, thats where I got that from. Today, for me to play with him, its great because we have the same mentality and thats what Im trying to bring to the Celtics.

To be honest with you," he added, "the reason I came to the Celtics is because of Coach Rivers and KG. I knew that they had Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, but he makes everybody play hard. I was like, thats going to be a good fit for me to play with the man. I was very happy from when I got here a month ago, he told me, I cant wait to have you on the court with me. I was like, Yeah, were going to have fun.

Read more from Pietrus thoughts on Garnett, why he would never copy his pregame trademark, and just how close he considers his teammate. Oh yeah, cant forget why he doesnt want any other fish than that in Boston.

Sharing the Same Mindset
I love his mentality. I love it. Thats my mentality, too. People who dont understand, they cant call themselves winners. Theyre losers. If you want to win, youve got to play with that man. Hes going to give you some respect and youve got to give him some respect, too. If youre not all about winning, KG and the Celtics, they are not for you. Youve got to go somewhere else and get numbers, but it wont make any sense. Youre going to get numbers but at the end of the day, youre going to watch us in the playoffs.

His Dream Lockermate
Youve got to learn from the best. I love that man. He plays hard. The thing people dont see, on some teams big time players want to take 25 shots but it doesnt take sense to take 25 shots. But what I like with KG, hell share with you on the plane. You sit down, hes going to share some story with you. Hes going to share some of his life. Youre going to share some of your life, too, with KG. Thats what I like. On the floor, he makes things easier for you because he likes to compete and you want to compete too. I love that man. I love playing with KG. thats what Ive got my locker right next to him.

Playing Hard No Matter What
My favorite memories with KG is from watching him when things werent going well for him in Minnesota, and he kept working the same way he is working now. And then that trade came and hes still the same KG. Thats what I like. Some superstars play differently if your team doesnt win, hes still going to bring his best and thats why Ive been watching KG from when he was in Minnesota. That team wasnt good and thats why I kind of learned like whatever team you are, youve got to play hard and get the best out of you and get the best out of your teammates, and thats how youre going to get the respect in the league.

Respecting the Toughness
"We got into a fight last year with the Suns. But that wasnt any fight, like big time. Thats something I like from him is that toughness. I respect that. Thats what he tried to transfer to everybody on the team, is dont take anything for granted. Every day in practice, youve got to come to work. The game, youve got to come to work too. No days off. Every day is a challenge. Every day youve got to step up and try to get the best out of the day. And thats what I like. Thats my main challenge in the NBA since Ive been in the NBA, just keep fighting because at the end of the day good things are going to happen.

From what Ive learned in ten years now is numbers, people always want to get numbers and numbers, and at the end of the day, I told you, Ive seen a lot of scorers in the NBA that dont even have a job. Every day you can do little things to make the team a winning team, thats what it takes. I kind of learned from him, every day the way he gets ready, the way he prepares himself for practice, he prepares himself for the game.

To me, KG and KG off the court is a different KG. If I can spend the summer time, learn from that man I will. I know its kind of too late because Ive been in the NBA ten years, but if I was a rookie Id be sitting right next to him, asking him a lot of questions because hes the man. Hes why the Celtics are the Celtics.

Soaking It In
Im trying to learn from him. Thats why I came to the Celtics, because he has a toughness that I like and Ive got a toughness that he likes. And on the floor we understand each other because its all about working hard and getting stuff done. It was easy for me to be on the floor as a Celtic my first game because from the opposing team when I played him, it was kind of tough to beat the Celtics. Ive seen the other side of the sea and the fish is different. I dont want to go back there.

Leaving KGs Pregame Tradition Alone
Some people have their way to get ready for a game. (Garnett bangs his head on the basketball stanchion before tipoff.) No I like my forehead. Im not going to do that to my forehead. (Rubs forehead) It would have dents in it. My forehead, I like, were going to be ok, dont worry. Im not going to do that to you.

More than a Teammate
KG to me is not a friend. No. He is part of my family because we are trying to win a championship together. Were trying to make a big thing together. At the end of the day, once we retire and we win a championship, hes going to be a friend. But right now the Celtics, this is all about family. Thats why everybody stays together, eats together, does stuff together. On some teams its not like that. You dont have the same feelings. Its hard. But I definitely want to be here.

Tanguay: Celtics should roll the dice on Dragan Bender

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Tanguay: Celtics should roll the dice on Dragan Bender

Danny Ainge recently hinted on Toucher & Rich that the Celtics were interested in drafting Dragan Bender.

And they need to do exactly that. 

No, I'm not crazy. Neither is Danny.

Drafting Bender is the Celtics' best option. As Ainge pointed out, his job is to make the move that's best for the team. Not just for the short term, but for the long haul.

Now, I can't say I've been to Croatia to work out Bender. Like many of you, I 've only seen him via the Internet.

It is easy to look at him and think he’s a project. That’s because he is. He’s 18 and, even though he's 7 feet tall, he only weighs about 220 soaking wet. He's a kid, too skinny at the moment for the NBA, and would no doubt get killed if you put in the post today.

And, like I said, I'm not crazy. I'm not committed to Bender. If  Sacramento calls and offers Boogie Cousins for any combination of picks the Celtics have, the deal should be made immediately. To a degree, I feel the same way about Jimmy Butler. However, the consensus is those two players aren't going anywhere. (And even if they are available, suppose the Lakers decide to dangle the No. 2 pick for either of them? That would make a trade nearly impossible for Boston.)

But if the Celtics keep the third pick -- and he isn't taken by either Philly or L.A. (highly unlikely) -- Dragen Bender should be Ainge's choice. And it will be the right move.

Let’s break it down.

There's just no one else in this draft with Bender's upside. Buddy Hield is a 22-year-old shooting guard who completely disappeared in the NCAA championship game. He has a shot to be a very good NBA player, but he won’t transform the organization. Neither would Jamal Murray from Kentucky. Nor Kris Dunn from Providence.

The risk for Bender is HUGE. The reward is even HUGER. Ah, that’s not a word, right? Well then, BIGGER THAN HUGE! Or HUGEST!

Bender could be that guy.

And, I also admit, he also wind up playing in Europe or Israel.

Still, Danny has to roll the dice on this guy.

Bender can handle the ball, block shots, shoot the 3, and -- like all European players -- is fundamentally sound. The issue for this kid is toughness in the low post and getting stronger. I put my money on Celtics strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo to get him ready for NBA life.

And I'm not one those boneheads who are pushing for Bender because Kristaps Porzingis has worked out for the Knicks. One has nothing to do with the other. For every Porzingis there's at least one Stojko Vrankovic. Or Darko Milicic.

Take Bender, Danny. In two years this guy may have gained 15 to 20 pounds of muscle, learned the rigors on and off the court of the NBA, and look like the next Porzingis, Or Dirk Nowitzki or Porzingis. Then use the other two Brooklyn first-round picks, and the Celtics could be back on their way to greatness.

But if you play it safe, Danny, and don't take Bender, the Green will simply be stuck in the mud of mediocrity.