The Boston Celtics have made their way to Turkey for training camp this year. Media day came and went earlier this week, and it is now time for the team to get to work and get ready for the upcoming season. In 2008, the Celtics traveled to Italy for training camp and every player on that team will tell you how important it was in helping them find their identity for that season.
They even coined the phrase “Ubuntu”, which head coach Doc Rivers categorized as togetherness. Rivers told them that there would be times during the season where they would have to go through the most challenging situations they ever have faced, but working as a team, they could succeed.
What do the Celtics need to work on most while abroad? I would say the two biggest areas are rebounding and overall team chemistry. The Celtics have been one of the weaker rebounding teams in the league over the past few years, so defensive rebounding needs to be one of the biggest focus areas. The team has never put much of an emphasis on offensive rebounding, instead focusing on transition defense and making sure they don’t get beat on fast break lay-ups. However, the team appeared to have made a conscious effort addressing that issue over the off-season by drafting Jared Sulinger and Fab Melo, and by signing Darko Milicic and Jason Collins. Coupled with the returns of Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox, one would think that the Celtics should be much improved on the defensive glass.
The other area that needs to be worked on is chemistry. There are many new faces this year, so it will be essential for them to be integrated into the system, especially by being taken under the wings of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. If the Celtics never made that trip to Italy five years ago, who knows if they would have won the championship? I would bet Rivers and most of the players from that year’s roster would have said “no.”
Training camp can go a long way in shaping a team for the upcoming season and you can bet Rivers will get the troops ready for another basketball season.
Rob Lunder covers the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. For all Celtics news, check out the team homepage on Rant Sports. Follow him on twitter at @rlunder18