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Brian Scalabrine optimistic about Celtics as he leaves Boston for Golden State
Posted By Justin Barrasso On July 17, 2013 @ 12:18 pm In General | 8 Comments
Brian Scalabrine is in the midst of a very productive offseason.
The 35-year-old native of Long Beach, Calif., is returning closer to home after joining Mark Jackson’s coaching staff with the Warriors. Scalabrine also is working as a spokesperson with 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey, and he served up the popular “Big Ginger” cocktail behind the bar to excited patrons for three hours at Granary Tavern on Tuesday night in Boston.
“Scal” also sat down for a one-on-one interview with WEEI.com, and the former Celtic and Comcast SportsNet broadcaster shared his insight on topics ranging from the Celtics’ championship in 2008, the bitter loss to the Lakers in 2010, and the work Danny Ainge has performed this summer. Scalabrine also quieted any speculation that he was in the running to replace Doc Rivers as coach in Boston.
“If four people would have passed on the Celtics, then I would have been interviewed to be the coach of the Celtics,” Scalabrine said. “But there’s no way four people were going to pass on that.”
Scalabrine was eager to share how greatly he evolved as a basketball player during his time with the Celtics.
“You have to look around at what you have,” he said. “That year [in 2007-08], we had Kevin Garnett directly from Minnesota coming in and changing the culture of our organization. He made sure guys were ready and focused. We could have fun in the locker room and joke around, but when it came to game time or practice, or the weight room or your individual time, it was time to lock in and get serious. Later on, on the bus or the plane, that’s when we could joke around. At the end of the day, we were about winning. We were about being successful.”
Winning a championship on a team driven by the likes of Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen helped Scalabrine perfect his own philosophy on the game of basketball.
“I’m about having success in life, but also having fun. There’s a misconception that I joke around and I’m not serious about the game of basketball. I’m ultra-serious about the game. I like the challenge of working with young guys, making them better, and getting them ready for a championship-caliber type of team. It’s not about getting better so you can be mediocre. I’m about getting you better so we can win a championship. That’s my focus.”
The opportunity to improve young players will be a major priority for the Warriors, who are on the cusp of contending for a championship after advancing to the Western Conference semifinals and using their speed to exhaust Tim Duncan’s Spurs for six games. Scalabrine’s goal is to help the Warriors win series against teams like the Spurs, Thunder and Rockets.
“My focus is the Warriors becoming a championship-caliber team,” Scalabrine said. “We were so close to getting there last year, playing San Antonio really tough. We have size, which is very important when you’re trying to win, and shooting. My job is to develop the size and make sure that the shooting continues to develop.”
Scalabrine’s tenure in Boston was positive for both himself and the Celtics. Nevertheless, there were frustrations and difficulties along the way, with none more painful than the loss to the Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals.
“Losing the way we did in ’10 changed my life completely,” Scalabrine said. “It made me realize that you never know when your opportunity is going to present itself. I was sitting on the bench for three straight months, and Doc called on me in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.”
Game 7 marked the only time that postseason Scalabrine played.
“If you want to know what that’s like, when you sit for three months in the NBA, and Doc’s putting you ahead of five other guys, you need to go out there and do your job,” he said.
Scalabrine holds nothing but the utmost respect for Rivers, but he said newly hired Celtics coach Brad Stevens will do just fine in Boston permitting he and Rajon Rondo learn to work together.
“One thing [Stevens] needs to do is get Rondo on his page,” Scalabrine said. “And the way you do that is by explaining to him that there are smart players around him. Having smart players around him will make Rajon Rondo trust you more. Holding guys accountable when they make bonehead plays will make Rajon Rondo trust you more. Rondo is probably the smartest player I’ve ever played against or with, and he is the type of player that you can build a championship organization around as long as you hold people accountable to that championship level.”
Scalabrine is also optimistic about the future of the Celtics. For those concerned that the team acquired draft picks in lieu of All-Stars, Scal has a little advice: Don’t worry.
“Danny Ainge took two aging superstars, traded them away, got three first-round draft picks, and that is unbelievably valuable for your team moving forward,” Scalabrine said. “It’s all about acquiring assets. A draft pick is an asset, and having those assets can help develop this team and make it championship-caliber once again. Moving forward, as he takes those picks and trades them or takes those picks and drafts them, that’s when you start judging the moves of Danny Ainge. Right now, give Danny Ainge an A-plus for what he’s done.”
Before heading to the bar to pour drinks and talk more basketball, Scalabrine shared what made felt 2 Gingers, the fastest growing Irish whiskey in the United States, a unique brand.
“Get out there, enjoy your life, but when it comes to work, train and work hard like you’re trying to change the world,” he said. “Be the guy kind of guy who changes the world. Whether it’s running a whiskey company or whether it’s winning an NBA championship, keep your focus the same. That’s what 2 Gingers is all about.”
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