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News » CELTICS NOTEBOOK 2009-01-03


Even if nothing comes of all the trade rumors currently hitting the sports wire, one thing remains apparent.

The Celtics need help, especially in the spot occupied last spring by P.J. Brown.

How else to explain Kevin Garnett's decision to try and coach Patrick O'Bryant toward legitimacy as an NBA big man following Thursday's practice.

Despite all the talk about the Celtics being a target of Stephon Marbury, backcourt help is not this team's greatest need.

Backup frontcourt length holds that distinction.

Doc Rivers believes Brown is missed not only because of the mentoring he provided for Leon Powe and Glen Davis, but also the competition both players engaged in when forced to compete for minutes.

Said competition doesn't exist at the moment.

``Our improvement has to come from within right now,'' Rivers said of potential changes. ``Leon and Baby are inconsistent, but they're getting better, too.

``Sometimes they push each other with all they've got,'' he said. ``The other players used to laugh, because they pushed each other so much. So there's a little void there right now.''

There doesn't appear to be much chance of O'Bryant plugging that hole anytime soon, either.

``They all want Patrick to do well,'' said Rivers. ``But he's just not there yet. It takes time, and it's up to Patrick.''

The Celtics coach agreed with the suggestion that O'Bryant, in his third season after two unproductive years with the Warriors, is essentially a rookie.

``In some ways it is his rookie year,'' said Rivers. ``He would actually be a rookie this year if he had gone to college for four years.''

Back in town

Mike James has hit the stage that can haunt some players, where every road stop is a former home.

The Wizards guard - one of Danny Ainge's first free agent signings for the Celtics - faced his third former team in as many games with last night's matchup between the Celtics and Wizards.

The Wizards had played New Orleans and Houston - two former employers of James - heading into last night's game.

It seems like a long time since James played for the Celtics - the first 55 games of the 2003-04 season, to be exact. But the Celtics have come a long way since those days.

``I'm not at all surprised by how things changed,'' said James. ``It's easy to turn it around when you have Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

``I think back when I was here, things were pointing to us playing good Basketball, right up until the situation with coach (Jim) O'Brien happened,'' he said. ``I thought we were headed in the right direction, but then he left.''

Read the Celtics Insider at

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 3, 2009


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