On Wednesday, the Celtics notified Kris Joseph that he earned the 15th, and final, roster spot. Joseph is the last man standing from a group of Camp invitees that included Dionte Christmas, Jamar Smith, Rob Kurz and Micah Downs. Christmas became a fan favorite and also was close to Jason Terry, but was waived to make room for Leandro Barbosa's signing.
News surfaced today that Delonte West had been suspended for the second time in two weeks. Later, the Dallas Morning News reported that Delonte will be waived by the Mavericks to make way for Eddy Curry who has been claimed by them off waivers. I've always been a big Delonte fan. He always did well in Boston and he's as tough a player as they come. He's also that back up point guard the Celtics don't have. But, with the depth that the Celtics already have at the guard position and the fact that they have a 15 man roster already full, I don't see West returning to Boston for a third time, even though I'm sure a lot of Celtics fans would love him back. . I'm hoping that another team will pick him up and that he ends up in a good place for him. Celtics Nation is rooting for you Delonte!
Back to Joseph. He will be the Celtics 15th man, at least for now. Joseph proved that he can play at this level during two of the Celtics final three preseason games. In the Celtics' 115-85 blowout of the Brooklyn Nets, Joseph played the whole fourth quarter, scoring 11 points and grabbing five rebounds. He followed that with 13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in the Celtics comeback win over the Knicks two nights later. He had two 3-point plays to start the fourth quarter that helped lead the Celtics to the win.
Kris was born in Montreal Canada. He grew up in the Cote-des-Neiges neighborhood, which is north of downtown Montreal. Unlike fellow Syracuse alum Fab Melo, Kris started playing basketball very early, first playing in second grade. In his early days, he and his older brother Maurice shot at garbage cans because they didn't have a court to play on. Their neighborhood eventually got a court and the two brothers spent hours on the court battling each other.
You could say that basketball is in the Joseph family. His older brother Maurice, with whom he honed his game in those early years, played for Michigan State and Vermont. He is now the Assistant Director of Basketball Operations at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Kris is also second cousin to Cory Joseph who is a reserve guard for the San Antonio Spurs and Devoe Joseph, who was the leading scorer for the Oregon Ducks of the Pacific-12 Conference during the 2011-2012 season.
Kris started his high school years at Mont-Royal high school. As a tenth-grader, he led the Quebec provincial team to a silver medal at the 2005 Canada Games. Kris' youth coach convinced his mother to allow him to leave Montreal in 2006 to complete the final two years of high school at Archbishop Carroll in Washington. In his first season at Archbishop Carroll, Joseph averaged 18.8 points and 5.0 assists per game. As a senior, Joseph led Archbishop Carroll to a 26-11 record and would earn second team honors from the Washington Post.
Joseph was a 4 year player at Syracuse. He made at least one field goal in 24 of the 34 games he played in as a rookie and played mostly off the bench. In the Big East Tournament, due to disqualifications, Joseph played center in the six-overtime epic with Connecticut. He averaged 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game as a rookie. In his sophomore season, he raised his averages to 10.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and was the team's third leading scorer. He was named the Yahoo Sports Big East Conference Sixth Man of the Year.
As a junior, Joseph gained national prominence as a go-to scorer and improved to 14.3 point per game with 5.2 rebounds per game along with 1.5 steals a game. Joseph's senior season started off with him being named the Big East Player of the Week after leading his team to the NIT Season Tip Off Championship. He was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament with averages of 19.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals. He led Syracuse in scoring during the regular season with 13.4 points per game. He was named to the 2012 All-Big East First Team and was named an AP Honorable Mention All-American. He concluded his Syracuse career with 10 points, two rebounds and 3 steals in Syracuse's 77-70 loss to Jared Sullinger's Ohio State team in the Elite Eight.
Joseph was projected by many scouts to be selected in the first round of the draft, but as with Jared Sullinger, he slid down to the Celtics where they selected him in the second round with the 51st pick. It was thought that his age (23) after spending a full 4 years in college as well as a deep draft both added to the slide.
Kris was recently one of 30 players who participated in Steve Nash's Team Canada 5 day training camp at the Air Canada Center in preparation for the next Olympics. Canada failed to qualify for the games in London but with a new manager in Steve Nash and with a group of motivated players, they are off to a good start toward the 2016 games.
Joseph has earned complements from coaches and teammates and GM alike this summer. He is still playing on a non-guaranteed contract which will become guaranteed for the rest of the season if he is still on the team on January 10. You have to love a player who gets better every day. I'm looking forward to watching him grow as a Celtic throughout this year, whether he is with the Celtics or getting experience with the Red Claws. He may end up being the real prize out of Syracuse for the Celtics. He's another player with a lot of potential that will be fun to watch develop, although a bit bittersweet for me, since he'll be wearing Perk's number 43. Here is his highlight tape from Syracuse. As you can see, he's athletic and can shoot.