Most people foresee the Celtics struggling this season due to a shortage of talent. Few expect the Celtics to suffer from a simple lack of effort.
The preseason is not even finished, though, and already calls from within the team questioning the players’ commitment have started to add up. Gerald Wallace was the latest to add his opinion of his teammates’ level of effort after Sunday’s loss to the Timberwolves in Montreal.
“We’re not playing with effort,” Wallace said, according to The Boston Globe. “Guys are out there being selfish. The opponent is giving it their all, regardless of how the night is going.”
Coach Brad Stevens challenged the Celtics to supply a full 48 minutes earlier in the preseason, and Wallace more quietly questioned how hard his teammates were playing last week. Use of words like “selfish” take the internal criticism to a whole different level, however. One wonders how anyone on this year’s team could possibly have deluded themselves into being Doc Rivers‘ old “cool Celtics.”
“When we step out on the basketball court, we get paid to do this,” Wallace said. “We’re professionals. So our main thing is, you should want to go out every night and win. It shouldn’t be a question of the effort. You’re going to miss shots, you’re going to turn the ball over, things aren’t going to go your way, but it shouldn’t be because you’re not playing hard or you’re not giving your all.”
Wallace led the Celtics with 16 points in the 104-89 loss to Minnesota. The Celtics committed only 12 turnovers but also registered just 12 assists to the T’Wolves’ 20 assists, while being outrebounded 54-40. They attempted 26 3-pointers, missing 23 of those shots, including three by Jared Sullinger and two by rookie center Vitor Faverani.