WALTHAM — Talk may be cheap. Actions may speak louder than words. But for now, the Celtics look favorably upon the willingness of the younger players to assert themselves vocally on the court and in huddles. Sebastian Telfair doesn’t shy away from communicating with his new teammates during drills. Delonte West spoke up after the first practice. And according to coach Doc Rivers, no one can shut up Al Jefferson these days and even usually quiet Ryan Gomes has been talkative.
If the big talk is followed by big numbers, the Celtics should be in good shape this season. If not, it can still be taken as a positive sign, that the younger players feel more comfortable and want more leadership responsibility.
”I felt I wanted to say something,” said West of his post-practice pep talk. ”It was nothing in particular. I was speaking from the heart. We have 17 guys on the floor and 17 guys should be able to step up in the huddle and say what they feel. Whatever the intention, we’re a team and you should be able to talk to your teammates. We’re all in that same age range and we’re all in the same stage in our careers except for a few guys and there’s got to be a push pull effect. We’ve got to pull each other along.”
So far, coach Doc Rivers likes what he hears. He just hope the younger players say and do the right thing and the right time.
”To anyone who talks, and I tell them this all the time, it can’t be a sometime thing,” said Rivers. ”If you’re going to try to lead then you can’t lead when it’s convenient. All the time you’ve got to take that mantle. … I really stay on all of them about that, especially in games. There’s two minutes left and guys are on the bench [saying], ‘We’ve got to play defense.’ I’m thinking, ‘Well, yeah, 46 minutes ago.’… It’s really important all of our guys understand that [vocal leadership has to be constant]. Then, they are true leaders.”