|Carlos Arroyo ‘truly honored’ to be a Celtic||03.17.11 at 10:54 am ET|
A Heat team that has struggled to surround its All-Star trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the supporting cast to win as expected jettisoned Carlos Arroyo, but somehow a deeper Celtics team that has enjoyed more success found a role for the veteran point guard.
For Arroyo, that juxtaposition is perplexing. So, what happened in Miami?
“If I knew, I’d be there right now,” he said, and later added, “You can’t just throw 15 guys together and expect to win. It takes time. That’s what they have here in Boston, and that’s what every other team in the NBA is trying to achieve.”
Adjusting to a new team with fewer than 20 games until the start of the playoffs has been a whirlwind process for Arroyo, but nothing a guy who’s played for seven teams since 2001 hasn’t been through before.
“I’ve been talking a lot with my friends, and I compare this team to the team I was on in Detroit,” said Arroyo. “We went all the way to the Finals. I got there midseason, and it was similar types of players – veterans mixed with young guys – a similar city – not taking anything away from Boston – similar weather. Just the same atmosphere. I’m kind of enjoying that, and that brings memories.”
Arroyo played 40 games for that Pistons team that took the Spurs to seven games in the NBA Finals, averaging 5.4 points and 3.2 assists in 17.7 minutes per game off the bench. He then recorded an assist every 3.8 minutes in limited playoff action. It’s hard to imagine production like that couldn’t have helped the Heat, because even for 10 minutes a night it could benefit the Celtics’ second unit.
“I think [Celtics head coach] Doc [Rivers] does a great job of handling everybody’s egos and understanding their roles,” said Arroyo. “We have guys that have been here before. They understand that it’s not about them. It’s about the team. It’s about winning. It’s about our biggest goal, which is winning a championship. That’s the reason we’re all here. …
“I think every one of us is competitive and wants to be out there more than we normally are, but it is what it is, and we have to respect that. We have to be ready when we’re called.”
In five games with the Celtics this season, Arroyo has averaged 3.8 points and 2.6 assists in 16.4 minutes per game, and it appears he’s taken grasp of the reins as floor general for the second unit that Rivers has strived for all season long.
“I’ve been watching a lot of film – more than usual – just to get acquainted with what we’re trying to do and not lose a step, which is very important in my precision,” said Arroyo. “I’m put in a position where I have to be a leader out there, as far as being a point guard and vocal leader on the floor – putting guys in their spots.”
After playing the Celtics in the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs and the hype surrounding the C’s-Heat matchups this season, Arroyo had a jumpstart on his new team’s offensive sets. Although, he never thought he’d be the one running them.
“Especially this year,” he said. “We obviously concentrated on playing Boston, so to be on the other side now is kind of weird. It’s going to feel weird when we play Miami on the 10th [of April], in Miami.”
What kind of reception does the Puerto Rican National Team point guard expect to receive when the Celtics travel to play the Heat in a game that could have meaning with only a few days left in the season?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve done what they asked me to do in Miami. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity they gave me. They opened the doors for me, and you always have to be thankful for that. But I’m truly honored to be a part of this franchise now.”
As for his former franchise, can the Heat figure out the chemistry equation in time?
“I hope not,” he said, “because we want to win the championship here.”
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