Some will see it as Doc Rivers keeping things in perspective. Others will say the coach is raining on another parade. The bottom line is that Rivers believes people might be going a bit overboard with their opinions on the present version of Al Jefferson.
No one in Celtics Nation wants to see Jefferson leave, and when his name was raised in trade talks for Kevin Garnett, the coach thought Big Al’s stock might have risen beyond its current actual value.
"I walk around Boston right now, and if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought Al had been on the All-Star team the last five years," Rivers said. "He’s got a chance to be a great All-Star player, but he ain’t yet. He’s still got a lot of room to improve. That’s where coaches are more realistic than the public sometimes."
According to Danny Ainge, however, the reality isn’t exactly shabby when you put it in place with others of his modest experience.
"What Al has done at his age (22) is as good as we could have ever hoped," Ainge said. "He’s continued to improve. He loves the game. He’s got a great attitude and character.
"He hasn’t done things at the All-Star level yet and proven that he can do all those things and help us win consistently. But there’s also never been a player at age 22 who has done what he’s done and hasn’t gotten better. Al has room to grow like every 22-year-old. Al will have room to grow until he’s 28. But he’s definitely trending to be a very good NBA player."