A humble Darius Miles stood in a No. 7 Celtics jersey and patiently answered questions from a couple of media members.
“This is the first time I get a chance to play on a team that’s already a winning team,” said Miles. “On every other time I’ve been on we’ve had to rebuild. I was mostly like the first or second option. On this team I’m one of the help guys…It’s easier. You’ve got a lot of weight on your shoulders when you play on any other team. On a team like this you don’t have to do too much, just play a lot of defense.”
Miles said he has big expectations for himself, and that he hopes to get significant playing time with the Celtics. Miles does not have a guaranteed contract, so in essence he has to try out this season. He last played for the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2005-06 season when he averaged a career high 14.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 40 games. Miles missed all of the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons due to microfracture surgery on his right knee. Jason Kidd, Anfernee Hardaway, and Amare Stoudemire are players who have undergone similar procedures.
“I think I’m better than what I was,” said Miles. “This is the first time I’ve felt real healthy, with no problems, in like 4 years.”
Should Miles make the team, he’ll serve a 10-game suspension for violating the NBA’s substance abuse policy at the end of the 2007-08 season.
“Danny [Ainge] told me not to worry about it,” said Miles. “We talked about it before I signed. They wouldn’t have brought me in here [if it was going to be a problem].”
Add to that the great tradition of the Celtics, and Miles said fans should expect him to be on the straight and narrow.
“You see the pictures of the older players in the locker room, and you really don’t want to mess up,” he said.”
Miles said fans shouldn’t expect him to replace James Posey, because he isn’t a three-point shooter. He said he hopes to bring defensive intensity to the team. But most of all he just hopes to play.
“I kind of wanted to see my son (8-month-old Bryce), even though he won’t understand it, I kind of wanted to have him see me play,” said Miles. “I’m in a position for the first time since I was a rookie, that I have to make a team. It’s kind of scary, but I’m confident in myself.”