Just mention the possibility of playing and J.R. Giddens gets weak in the knees. The Boston Celtics  rookie is trying to be patient, but it isn’t always easy when his dream is dangling right in front of him. Giddens can see the big picture, though, and knows waiting is part of his game for now.
‘As a competitor, it’s always going to be hard because you want to play,’ Giddens said before Wednesday’s game against the New Jersey Nets . ‘But as a realist, all I can do is just be slightly frustrated and just keep working.”
Patience is one of the most important things Giddens has focused on over the past three months with the NBDL’s Utah Flash. Being energetic is part of his personality. Now the challenge is controlling it on the court.
‘I was just talking to someone about that last night, about one of the hardest things of being on that court when you’re playing at that level is trying to calm yourself down,’ he said. ‘You’re so amped and you see veterans out there that are so calm, composed, and relaxed. But when you’re out there and you’re so excited and you feel like you’re going a million miles an hour. You’ve got to calm your motor down a little bit. I think going down to the D-League and getting the chance to get some games under my belt, I was able to get a more relaxed feeling out there on the court, just kind of maturing my game a little bit.’
Celtics rookie Bill Walker  played with Giddens in Utah and saw changes in his demeanor.
‘I think he’s slowed down a lot,’ Walker said. ‘He’s an extremely quick player, but he used to have a hop in his step before he would take off. But now he’s slowed down and he is taking advantage of every possession he gets.’
Being more focused has allowed Giddens to zone in on what he calls his deficiencies. He hit the free throw line to improve his shot, shifted his attention from offense to defense, and strived to become ‘a more balanced team player.’ Knowing how to take two steps back has helped in his shift from the leader boards in Utah to the bench in Boston.
‘I feel like when you’re down there and you’ve got to do everything and then you come up here, I should be able to be more effective in my minutes,’ he said. ‘Less energy offensively, being more active defensively, so I just apply my work ethic around whatever role I’m needed to perform, which is probably going to be defender, rebounder, and just help on defense. Hopefully it’ll make my transition easier to the NBA instead of having a lot thrown on me. I get to come in, get a feel for it, get to see and be around great players, and just try to add that to my game.’
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers  does not put players on the court until they have earned their minutes in practice, so it may be awhile before Giddens is on the parquet. It’s tempting to be so close, but ultimately he knows it is the best decision. He is still nursing a sprained wrist which he injured twice back in the D-League.
‘If somebody needed me to play right now I’d be able to play,’ he said. ‘But I think probably a little rest wouldn’t hurt.’
The competitor in Giddens wants to play. The realist knows he will when the time is right.
“Time is going to come,” he said. “Just in the meantime, do everything I can to make myself better.’