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Passing Chemistry 101

02.27.09 at 10:48 pm ET
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Stephon Marbury wasted no time making his intentions known.

“I’m not looking to improve my game,” he said at his introductory press conference. “I’m coming here to try to help the Celtics win another championship.”

Wearing a Boston Celtics shirt with a handwritten number eight on the shamrock, Marbury addressed the media prior to Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. (RECAP HERE) He shrugged off talks of selfishness and expressed his willingness to do whatever is asked of him on the court.

Marbury said all the right things as the newest member of an organization driven by chemistry and teamwork.

“This is a very selfless team,” said Ray Allen. “We don’t care about individual accolades.”

Even though Marbury received a standing ovation in his first game, the skepticism of his team-first attitude is not going to go away overnight. He comes to Boston with the baggage of a tarnished reputation, one that isn’t forgotten by wearing a new uniform. The front office explained to Marbury how the team operates, a discussion which is protocol for every new player.

“We establish what the rules are, how we run things here, and how it’s about the team,” Celtics president Danny Ainge told WEEI’s Big Show. “We’ve established those rules with Steph. (Head coach) Doc (Rivers) and I had a good conversation with him this morning and I’ve had a handful of conversations with Steph about those things even before now, as the Knicks gave us permission to talk.”

Marbury wants to look ahead. And so do the Celtics.

“I’m not afraid of Steph, Doc’s not afraid of Steph, and it really comes down to Doc,” Ainge said. “I think Doc understands Steph and can manage him and that Steph will respect Doc, first and foremost.”

Last season Rivers coached five veteran first-year Celtics to a championship. He knows firsthand that a new environment can turn a vet’s career around.

“That was New York and wherever else. That has nothing to do with today and tomorrow,” Rivers said of concerns about Marbury. “I’ve always had an open mind with everyone who’s come in, and you know, we’ve done pretty well. Our locker room is very strong and we just have good people. And so, no, I’m not that concerned about that at all.”

The players are on board with personnel. After winning a title with a reconstructed team, the Celtics know that a midseason acquistion (think P.J. Brown) can be the missing piece to success.

“You’ve just got to welcome him in, make him feel like he’s at home. Other than that, just do things together off the court,” said Kendrick Perkins. “I think [adding so many new players last season] helped us a lot. We’ve just got to keep getting better and help these guys just keep improving as a team. I think we’ll get better as they get to play more games.”

The key to Marbury’s success with his new team is just that, playing as a team.

“You never know what’s in front of you as far as your basketball career,” he said. “That’s why you just play as hard as you can and do the best that you can.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins
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