In It For A Minute With Von Wafer

"The bigger the opportunity the better I’ll play because I just love pressure. Under pressure…that’s when I’m at my best."

So says Celtic new comer Von Wafer. That’s not just talk. He has some stats to prove it.

Decision time will be coming soon for the Celtics’ final roster spot. One of three players: Von Wafer, the offense minded guard, Stephane Lasme the defensive forward, or Mario West, the defensive swingman will get an opportunity to play for the Celtics this season, a team that has its eyes set on another championship run.

Von Wafer has the best NBA resume, brief as it’s been. Von has climbed a crooked ladder, working his way up from playing in summer leagues, on 10 day contracts, and short and uneventful stays with other teams. He was one of those guys who lit it up in the summer leagues and pre-season camps only to get cut, only to get picked up somewhere else. Von has done 2 stints in the D-league, with the Fort Worth Flyers, and with the Colorado 14ers (21 points per in 42 games and .453% from downtown, 2.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 32 minutes).

 He played for the Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets, and Blazers, before getting his big break with the Houston Rockets in 2008-9. Von Wafer even signed a 10 day contract with the Mavericks last February 24th but didn’t play.

Von Wafer's Day in the Sun


With the Rockets in 08-09, Von averaged 19:23 minutes in 63 game regular season game, scoring 9.7 points on 44.7% overall and 39% from the three point line while taking 2.6 per game. But he opened eyes with his play in the post season games. He averaged 8.2 points in just 13.9 minutes, while shooting .409 from the arc.

That was the year Yao Ming went down with injury in the 3rd game of the Western Conference Semis against the eventual champion Lakers. Everyone thought the Rockets were done. They went on to push the Lakers to 7 tough games. Von Wafer played an instrumental role in that run.

Now Von is with the Boston Celtics. Extremely focused on obtaining another championship, the Beantown Ballers may need another shooter who isn't afraid of  the spotlight and the pressure. If he can first make the team, he might get some early chances to impress. Delonte West will be serving a 10 game suspension to start the season. Von can provide long distance scoring off the bench.

Celticsblog spent a few minutes with Von Wafer recently:

What are the hardest adjustments you have to make coming to a new team like the Celtics?

"Just finding a rhythm with the guys. Just getting in tune with these guys and just knowing what to do and how to interact with guys. But it’s getting better so I’m getting more used to it."

You had a pretty good game last game (Toronto) (14 points and 3 of 3 from downtown). He also made 2 of 2 from the arc in the recent Knicks game.

I read that Doc kind of challenged you in a practice before that Toronto game. Did that help you step up and realize that it is do-or-die right now?

"Well I don’t really think about the do-or-die but he challenged me definitely and I thought about it and I just wanted to step up to the plate, you know.

The bigger the opportunity the better I’ll play because I just love pressure. Under pressure…that’s when I’m at my best.
"

And you proved that the last time you were in the NBA with the Rockets. You stepped up in the playoffs.

"Definitely yeah. Those big games, those important games…the serious game when all the pressure (is there) when it’s all on the line, those are the ones I love. Those are the ones I’ve been loving since I’ve been little.
"

On this team, defense is a big part of everything they do. You are considered an offensive player. Do you think you can do the things Doc wants you to do defensively when you step on the floor?

"I’m trying my best to get more familiar with what is going on out there, where to be. How to play. I feel like I’m getting better. The more time I get, the better I get so…."

Are you learning things here that you haven’t learned on other teams?

"Definitely, because the coaches take time out to help me more and I’ve made great strides.
I just have to keep fitting in better. There’s room for improvement.
"

Are there things you are doing better now than before you came to the Celtics?

"I think I’m just recognizing things better now. Recognizing what is going on before it happens. But I’m still trying to get back adjusted to the speed of the game because I haven’t played in the NBA in a year. But it’s coming though. The game is getting slower to me."

Soon Doc will have to make some tough decisions. Do you have an alternative plan should you be the one cut?

"No I haven’t thought about that. No, so long as there is somewhere I can go and play basketball. I just want to play basketball. That is all that matters to me."

If you get picked to stay has Doc discussed what kind of role you would be expected to play?

"No we haven’t had that discussion. But hopefully I’m in their plans and get a few minutes. Because just making the team, I said….is not enough for me because I’m 25 years old, this is my 6th year. I’ve sat on the bench every year except for one. And the year I didn’t sit on the bench, I produced. I had my best season so…I just want to grow from that.

I just have to be ready whenever my name’s called."

Last year at this time the Celtics had Lester Hudson as their 15th guy. This season it could be Von Wafer. Who would you rather have? It speaks to the Celtics' improved depth this season.

 

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