The Celtics are in the market for a free agent, and likely will cut the roster to 14 players to keep a spot open, coach Doc Rivers said last night.
“First come first served,’’ Rivers said of the team’s search. “We’re looking around. I still think there’ll be buyouts probably starting [today]. So many things can happen, we want to make sure we can do it quick.’’
Rivers did not announce cuts after last night’s 81-73 win over the Raptors at TD Garden and likely will have a 15-man roster at least until tomorrow, he said.
Wilcox looks super
Rivers has been impressed with the team’s physical prowess, calling reserve center Chris Wilcox a “super athlete.’’
“Athletes, guys who can get the ball, yes, we have a lot of those,’’ Rivers said. “Brandon [Bass], JaJuan [Johnson] are super athletes and Avery [Bradley] didn’t play last year. We absolutely have added team speed. The Olympics, clearly last year we come in last because Shaq [Shaquille O’Neal] would be the last guy with the baton. Now, we have a chance and that’s nice. Miami still wins the Olympics but the game we play is basketball.
“Defensively, Brandon and Chris have both been great. Schemes, that’s where they’re a little behind, and probably will be for a while. Brandon has a little advantage because [Magic coach] Stan [Van Gundy] and I run a lot of the same stuff. Chris is behind - they ran a lot of zone, he’s probably the guy with the furthest to come, but his athleticism makes up for a lot of the mistakes.’’
“[Wilcox is] learning there’s another pace, another focus,’’ Rivers said. “The mental part of the game, there’s another level. He’s not been on playoff teams in his career . . . He’ll be a big surprise.’’
Allen weighs in
Ray Allen on the short preseason: “We need six more [exhibition games]. It’s always a process. Even this morning’s shootaround, we’re putting in new stuff. When Doc calls a play and put something new in, I go exactly to my spot. I don’t remember the play but once he calls it I go right to my spot.
“But other guys don’t know. We have great position players but timing is so important. It’s executing out of timeouts, it’s inbounds plays. For those things you have preseason, games spread throughout a two-week period, scrimmaging in the evenings when we had two-a-days. Nobody has it, so it requires an intense amount of focus when you’re out there and shootarounds have to be longer.’’
Rivers has been impressed with the progress of rookies Johnson and E’Twaun Moore. “You can tell the difference with them because they are four-year [college] players,’’ Rivers said. “And it’s an obvious difference with [Bradley], Gerald Green, Al [Jefferson], [Kendrick Perkins], you can just go down the list. JaJuan and E’Twaun, they get it quick, they pick it up, they quickly ask questions. So, there’s a clear advantage with them. I don’t know if it’s with every four-year player, it may be just those two guys. They have great confidence, you can see difference.’’ . . . Rivers on Kevin Garnett: “The first couple days he was out of synch a little bit but now he looks great. His jumper looks good again, he’s aggressive. I like the fact that he looks more aggressive offensively, which we need him to be. He needs to score more this year. And I don’t care where it’s from. The purists are saying on the post. I don’t care - if the ball goes in it still counts as the same. Where he gets it from, he just has to be more aggressive offensively for us.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.