It was an unusual pre-game sight. The Celtics’ locker room usually has game tape running with video coordinator Brian Adams working two MacBooks like turntables. But Carlos Arroyo was at his locker with headphones over his ears, buried in a MacBook of his own picking apart film. He had a few discs worth of video sitting next to the computer, and it spoke volumes about how much cramming the new players are doing as they try to integrate themselves into the Celtics’ system.
“I’m trying to catch up,” said Arroyo. “I’m trying to obviously be on the same page. “Try” to be on the same page is the reality. I don’t have much time. Those guys have been playing together for many years. I’m just trying to learn the plays, what they’re trying to do out there offensively, defensively.”
Things have come at him fast. He played 15 minutes in his debut against the Clippers and 13 minutes last night against the 76ers, and as a true point guard, he’s been directing traffic on the floor even with a limited knowledge of the system.
“I guarantee you that they’ll tell you, teams they’ve played on, they haven’t had as much responsibility early,” said RAy Allen. “Coming in, we count on Carlos to be prepared and ready and make us better so he can give Rondo smaller minutes and give Doc more trust in him and the second unit.”
Right now, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said getting him in good positions to run pick-and-rolls is the extend of the second team offense. Typically, the team’s dry erase board is an exercise in information overload, with point of emphasis after point of emphasis looking more like an outline for a college course than an NBA game plan.
“He’s a teacher,” Arroyo said. “Our job is to stay ready, pay attention to detail on the things that he’s putting on the board. Make sure that we execute, not to miss a moment. That could change a game quickly, so our job is to stay focused while he’s explaining but at the same time teaching.”
The question “How long will it take to come together” is getting redundant already, but it’s something that they’ll have to answer until all the new additions come together. Nenad Krstic is figuring things out defensively. Troy Murphy just made his first field goal last night. Sasha Pavlovic, a possible defensive stopper, let Andre Iguodala drive by him to his strong hand last night for the game-sealing lay-up. There are kinks to be worked out and time to get it done.
“You just have to play,” Arroyo said. “Obviously, the guys that are in, they already know the system, they already know what’s expected of them when they’re out there as far as running the plays and executing them. We have to do the job now, that way we catch up with the guys that are playing right now.”