Drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 30th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, J.R. Giddens has yet to make an NBA start. That will all change after tonight, as Giddens will start at small forward against the Toronto Raptors.
Giddens is doing all he can to prepare himself for tonight's game. He was in the gym late last night and back there again early this morning, making sure his body is ready to go. He also claims that he's staying as relaxed as he can, but his smile from ear to ear shows how excited he really is.
"I slept with my dog last night, I needed a little extra snuggle," Giddens said with a laugh. "He was wiggling this morning and got me up a little early- I think he wanted to go for a walk or something."
On a serious note though, this is a dream come true for Giddens, who hasn't had a whole lot to put on his resume thus far in the NBA.
"All year, all summer, my whole life I've been waiting for this moment to just capitalize on this opportunity," he said. "I'm going to go out there tonight and try to play my heart out- it's what I've been dreaming about my whole life and it's just a moment for me to step up and show people what I'm capable of doing."
While JR Giddens is clearly on cloud nine at this moment, coach Doc Rivers is quick to point out that Giddens isn't the focus of tonight's game and is in there to do his part.
"He's played well," Rivers said as to why Giddens got the nod to start tonight. "We wanted size and quickness at all three positions- 1,2,3- and that's what Tony (Allen) and JR can give us. They can make sure we have a defensive presence to start the game."
As long as Giddens realizes his role on the team, and doesn't try to do too much out there, he should be able to fair well tonight in his first NBA start. There were questions about Giddens' attitude and behavior in college that made people weary of the Celtics pick, but Giddens has not shown any signs of frustration with his position on the team thus far.
"I go from not even getting any minutes to all of a sudden getting a chance to start," Giddens said. "So that's why you got to try to stay positive everyday and make sure you're working on your game and everything is clicking so when you get these opportunities make the best that you can.
Asked what advice players are giving him, Giddens responded by saying, "Everybody's telling me to play hard. I'm not really going to be out to try score 50 million points. I'm just a defender, rebounder, energy guy and if I play hard and give effort than hopefully everything will just come."