In the latest Timeout with Thompson segment, TNT’s Coach John Thompson interviewed Celtics guard Sam Cassell on joining Boston late in the season and what he brings to the team with the best record in the NBA.
Cassell on the adjustments he has to make joining a new team late in the season: “First of all, when you go from last (place) to first (place), it makes it better. The Clippers have some great basketball players, but they are missing (injured forward) Elton Brand and that makes everyone’s job more difficult. To go from that to (playing with) Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen…I just named a Ferrari, a Bentley and a Rolls Royce. Not to knock the players (on the Clippers), but these are three future Hall of Fame players.”
Cassell on his role with the Celtics: “(Celtics head coach) Doc (Rivers) told me the other day that he wants me to be Sam Cassell. Whatever that means, that’s what I want. I don’t have to take 15-20 shots to make the Boston Celtics a championship team. From what I’ve heard, there’s nothing like getting a championship in Boston. Getting a Celtics championship is like getting a (New York) Yankees championship.”
Cassell on comparing playing with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston and Kevin Garnett in Boston: “(Hakeem) Olajuwon was so gifted as a basketball player. He was a great ‘X and O’ guy but who cares? When he wanted the ball, he scored…we’d come down the court, give him some space, get him the ball and half of the time, (I could) just sit back and watch and say, ‘Did you see that?’ That’s how great of a ball player he was. Kevin Garnett is more hands-on. He’s a guy that wants everything to be perfect. He wants everything to be right; he wants everyone in the right position. He rebounds, he’s unselfish, he does it all.”
Cassell on the Celtics starting point guard Rajon Rondo: “I like him…I like what he brings to the Boston Celtics. He’s young and athletic, he’s faster than me, he’s younger than me. I just want to get to him and show him how (the game) is supposed to be played.”
Cassell on becoming Rajon Rondo’s backup on the Celtics: “I’m 38-years-old, I’ve had my time as a starting point guard. I’ve scored a lot of points in this league. (Rajon Rondo) can have (the starting point guard spot), I don’t want his job. I’m just here to make the team better.”
Smith on Cassell’s role with the Celtics: “(Sam Cassell) is ending his career the same way he started it…as a backup. His job was if the starter wasn’t doing his job, that he would finish the game. He did that for me (in Houston) and he is now doing that for Rajon Rondo. Now if Rondo is having a great game, (Cassell) might not come in…Sam understands that you can’t be in competition with a teammate, you can only bolster and push him.”