PJ Brown without a Jump Shot?

Ioannis Bourousis Ioannis Bourousis # 15 of Armani competes with Jason Collins # 98 of Celtics during the NBA Europe Live game between EA7 Emporio Armani Milano v Boston Celtics at Mediolanum Forum  on October 7, 2012 in Milan, Italy.

"Scal always bragged about him," Paul Pierce said of former Celtic Brian Scalabrine, who played with Collins in New Jersey. "He thought he was the best post defender in the NBA. He's a solid veteran. He won't be asked to play big minutes for us, but he's a true professional. He's in the gym, in the weight room keeping his body in shape. There's probably going to be some point during the season when he's called on to play some big minutes for us."

Case in point, Collins' 15-minute run during Tuesday night's loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Milicic was out with a sprained right wrist, and Collins provided his signature brand of interior defense. There's a lot to be said about a player who can naturally slide into the mix with virtually no learning curve.

"He's a solid pro, first off," said Celtics assistant Armond Hill, who coached the team in the second half Tuesday. "When he comes out there he's going to rebound, he's going to set picks. He understands the plays, he knows all the plays already. So he's a guy you don't have to call anything for, but he's going to do all the little things. He's going to do all the dirty work, really. So he's valuable."

Collins' ability to grasp sets, and a series of defensive rotations that have confused other newcomers, shouldn't be underestimated.

"A lot of the sets we run here at the Celtics have been run at different places I've been," he said. "Obviously they're called different things, but there's a lot better talent here executing it. I'm familiar with the sets, but that name recognition when the play is called and getting to the spot is most important.

No one in Boston likes Rick Pitino. Personally, I don't hold a grudge against the man. In fact, I still find a few of his aphorisms entertaining and worth borrowing to this day. Take one of my all-time favorite Pitinoisms. He once referred to Bruce Bowen as John Havlicek without the jump shot. Yikes. That is possibly worse than comparing Greg Steimsma to Bill Russell. Nonetheless, it is such a classic one-liner, at least humor-wise, that I  find myself invoking time and again.

Kris Joseph?

Stacy Augmon with a jumper.

Jason Collins?

Well, you can figure that one out from the headline.

While we're on the subject of Jason Collins, #98 has pretty much flown under the radar.

Don't let the lack of attention fool you.

Mr. Collins will contribute.

Collins came into camp in the kind of shape Glen Davis only ever achieved in his dreams, and the kind of height Leon Powe will never achieve. He's looked very active on the offensive glass, and while he may not be a lock-down defender against Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard, I don't think anyone will dispute that Mr. Collins is a load.

Comparing him to PJ Brown might not be fair, since Brown has earned a place in Celtics lore as one of the more impactful bench players in the history of the team, at least when it comes to playoff contributions. Then again, JC is four years younger than PJ Brown was in 2008, and will be with the team all year. As far as locker-room presence, from what I hear we'll call that a tie.

I look forward to Doc keeping JC fresh and alternating him with Darko as the circumstances dictate.

One more exciting storyline to watch unfold.


Lex said...

Collins' typical playing weight used to be between 255 and 260 pounds, but he managed to get as low as 235 during the summer. At that point he was too light, though, and he got himself back up to 245. The most encouraging part of the regimen was that Collins was able to shed weight without sacrificing the strength he needs to be a stable post defender against some of the NBA's juggernauts.

"I'm strong as ever," Collins said. "That wasn't so much an issue, just as, for me to be most effective, I need to be around 245. At least."

Lex said...

"For me it always starts with the core," Collins said. "I've learned that the stronger that your core is, the better you are. And it's a great way just to warm up your whole body, especially as I get older in my career. I do a lot of core stuff, a lot of different core exercises. I have about 30 to 40 different things I can do. I just mix it up."

Winning also served as a motivating factor for Collins. Knowing a championship was a very real possibility, he wasn't about to cheat himself, or his new club.

"I knew that this was my best opportunity to win a championship, and I did everything in my control to put myself in the best possible shape to help the team."

Lex said...

A professional no less than pj

bballee said...

When you think about the backup centers playing for the Celtics the past five April's, how can we not be excited about Collins and be amazed that he is probably our 4th string center.

Lex said...

about as well as it can be put

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