Veteran Gerald Wallace hasn't been afraid to let his opinions be heard by his new team. (Brian Babineau/Getty Images)
Gerald Wallace has been in the NBA since 2001, playing for five different teams. In that time, he's gained a reputation as a hard-nosed player — leading the league in steals in 2006 and making the All-Defensive first team in 2010 (the same year he made his only All-Star team).
So Wallace isn't someone to stand by silently if he feels his team isn't giving maximum effort. The only problem is, his criticism came in the preseason, with a young team still trying to gel. So the Boston coaches have told him to tone down his comments.
"I'm getting fussed at by the coaches every time," Wallace told the Boston Herald. "They're trying to tell me to relax and ease up. But the main thing is I want the guys to compete. If we lose all 82 games, but we lose them going down fighting and competing hard, I can live with that. I can't live with losing and we didn't compete, we didn't give our best effort and we just gave the game away. I don't want that for these guys and this team."
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Wallace said he understands that the team is trying to learn a new system under rookie head coach Brad Stevens, but insisted that isn't an excuse for its lack of effort.
"We know it's a new coaching staff and a new system. They're putting in new defense. It's the first time I've ever played defense the way coach Stevens wants us to play defense, but it's a learning curve for all of us. But at the same time you can still give it 100 percent. Just because it's a learning experience doesn't mean you can't put forth the effort."
The Celtics, who are 1-6 thus far in the preseason, open the season on Oct. 30 in Toronto