WALTHAM -- The first practice of the Boston Celtics 2012-13 season was called for 11am on Saturday morning.
Rookie Dionte Christmas went to bed at 10 oclock the night before in preparation and woke up at eight. By the time and he Jamar Smith arrived together at the Celtics practice facility shortly after nine, fellow rookies Kris Joseph, Fab Melo, and Jared Sullinger were already there. The five first-year players were ready to get to work.
I wanted to get a lift and condition in before practice actually starts, Joseph explained. Then youve got to come on the court and get your shots up because at the end of the day, once practice starts, if Im shooting on a basket and Paul (Pierce) wants to shoot, sorry young fella. So youve got to get your work in early and thats what I had heard from my teammates back in college and people around the NBA -- get your work in early because the vets will take over.
Saturday was the rookies first opportunity to run through a practice with the entire team, but they had been in Waltham for weeks working with the large group of players who returned to Boston ahead of training camp.
The sessions combined with the teams offseason trip to Los Angeles for informal workouts (organized by Rajon Rondo) gave the rookies a sense of familiarity with their new teammates and a glimpse into the level of intensity they would have to bring during practice.
Those guys, to be their age, they have so much energy, said Christmas. They have equal energy or more than some of the us and the younger guys on the team. KG (Kevin Garnett), Paul, Rondo, and JT (Jason Terry) bring the best out of you. Its humbling and Im just being a sponge.
The rookies have taken to their veteran teammates, seeking out advice as they run through plays and drills. This open communicated translated on to the court.
It was great, said Sullinger. We had a lot of fun. We learned a lot as a team. The team chemistry worked well. Everybody had a little something with one another.
Sundays practice is once again slated for 11am. That start time doesnt mean much to the rookies. They will be in the weight room and on the court long before that.