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.

Did Suns ask Josh Jackson to cancel his Celtics workout to keep him from Boston?

Did Suns ask Josh Jackson to cancel his Celtics workout to keep him from Boston?

BOSTON – It appears there may be an answer to the mystery surrounding Josh Jackson’s decision to not work out for the Boston Celtics leading up to Thursday’s NBA draft.

While conventional wisdom tells us that such decisions are often made by the agent who in this case is former NBA player B.J. Armstrong.

Boston instead selected Jayson Tatum at No. 3 with the Phoenix Suns scooping up Jackson with the No. 4 pick.

MORE: Danny Ainge on Josh Jackson: 'He didn’t want to play for the Celtics'

During Jackson’s introductory press conference, there was a sense that it wasn’t necessarily Armstrong who strong-armed Jackson into not working out for the Celtics. But apparently, he got an assist from Suns General Manager (and ex-Celtics assistant GM) Ryan McDonough.

A reporter asked McDonough if Phoenix may have encouraged Jackson to cancel his workout with the Celtics who were flying into Sacramento, Calif. to watch Jackson workout only for it to be canceled after they had departed which as you can imagine, did not go over well with Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations.

“I’d like to consult my attorney B.J. Armstrong (Jackson’s agent),” McDonough said, smiling.

The more McDonough talked, the clearer it became that he and Armstrong were in cahoots to do all they could to get Boston to pass on Jackson at No. 3 which as McDonough mentioned, doesn’t break any rules.

“You guys all know my history with the Celtics and the respect I have for Danny Ainge and the organization,” McDonough told reporters on Friday. “But I think you guys who know me well know how competitive I am. Look, it is a competition. The Celtics were ahead of us at No. 3 and they could have selected whoever they wanted to. I think they got a very good player in Jayson Tatum, but that doesn’t mean B.J. and I and … other members of my staff couldn’t talk and try to formulate the best plan to get a player we were really high on to a place we felt he really wanted to go and would be a great fit for him.”

McDonough is right in that no rules were broken if he and Armstrong did decide to work together in an effort to get Jackson to Phoenix.

But to cancel the workout after the Celtics executives and head coach Brad Stevens had left, forcing them to spend a night on the road for a workout that Jackson’s camp probably knew wasn’t going to happen well before the Celtics contingent boarded for Sacramento … not cool.

Here are words I thought I would never say … the Ball clan got it right.

They told Boston from the jump that Lonzo Ball wasn’t going to work out for them, so the Celtics knew he didn’t want to be a Celtic from the very beginning.

Jackson’s actions said the same, but his words kept hope alive that he would work out or at the very least, talk to the Celtics organization – neither of which happened.

He kept referring to the fact that he didn’t think Boston was interested in him when they had the number one pick (that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if they asked him to work out for them; otherwise, what’s the point from the Celtics'  perspective of asking to work out a guy they had no interest in drafting?)

After they traded down to the number 3 pick, a deal that was cemented last weekend, Jackson said there wasn’t time to do a workout for Boston.

The draft was nearly a week away and he didn’t have time to work out for a team that had the third pick overall knowing that the top two picks (Markelle Fultz at No. 1 and Lonzo Ball at No. 2) were essentially accounted for?

“If I could have, I probably would have worked out for them,” Jackson said (with a straight face). “But I think everything worked out for the best.”

Yup.

Boston will once again be among the better teams in the East and will contend for the best record like they achieved this past season before their season ended in the Conference finals to Cleveland. 

Jackson will spend his rookie season playing a lot of minutes with a Suns team that probably won’t win as many games as he did a year ago at Kansas (33).

Enjoy.

Bruins take a flier on skilled Victor Berglund in 7th round

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Bruins take a flier on skilled Victor Berglund in 7th round

CHICAGO – While the Bruins went strong two-way defenseman early in the 2017 NHL Draft, they took a shot at a more offensive-minded Swedish defenseman late with seventh-round pick of Victor Berglund.

The six-foot, 165-pound Berglund clearly has a way to go in physical development and will need to get much bigger and stronger before he’s potentially ready for the North American pro ranks, but B’s assistant GM Scott Bradley raved about the Swedish defenseman’s skill set and potential. He also noted that Boston’s entire European scouting contingent, including former B’s forward PJ Axelsson, were fully on board with taking a flier on a talented player that simply needs to develop in the Swedish hockey system.

“Our Swedish guys were on top of Berglund. They think he’s a mobile D, he’s ultra-skilled and he skates well. He’s a six-footer, but [PJ Axelsson, Svenake Svensson and Victor Nybladh] were all pounding the table for him,” said Bradley. “We went along with it and I think we might have something there. Talking to his strength coach after the fact he’s working on putting some muscle and weight on, so we look forward to seeing him at development camp.”

In 62 games at three different levels, Berglund posted five goals and 18 points last season and displayed the kind of speed, creativity and play-making that one needs from their defensemen in today’s NHL.

"I'm an offensive defenseman, who likes to play with the puck, with a great short pass," said Berglund. "I like to follow the rush up ice and want the puck."

It will be a matter of building size and strength and for Berglund to continue developing his game in Sweden for the time being, but the Bruins are certainly happy with him at the 195th pick in Saturday’s second day of the draft.