One of the reserves that Danny brought back from last season was Keyon Dooling. And, bringing Keyon back wasn't a last second decision because Danny told the rookies at the draft that #51 wasn't available when they were picking their numbers. Keyon had some good moments on the court last season, especially after Avery was injured but his stats don't exactly jump off the page. He averaged 4 points, 0.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists while shooting 40.5% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc. But his stats and on court production aren't what make this move a good one. Read more » Leave a comment Link backs Tweet
Based on a series of poll questions, there's very little sapping the enthusiasm of Laker fans. There's an 87% majority of fans who say the Lakers' title chances are already a foregone conclusion. A 38% plurality simply gush over the Lakers' overwhelming talent in the Lakers' Fantastic 5 starting lineup. Even 50% believe the Lakers will collect 64 to 72 wins, meaning many expect the purple and gold at least to be within striking distance of matching the Chicago Bulls' 72-win record set in the 1995-96 season.
Now, this is funny. These same Lakers fans that last season were calling the Celtics old geezers and talking about sending them to the old folks home and making geritol jokes are predicting that this Lakers team, that is way older overall than the Celtics were last season, will dominate the league. The average age of their starters is almost 33 years old with a point guard who is a whopping 38 years old. Their prize catch to shore up their bench is 36 years old. Any youth they have on the team is mostly unproven.
Not just the age is in question, either. Kobe has struggled with 2 bad knees for years and has been known not to play well with others at times. Steve Nash has had knee and back problems. Dwight Howard, their youngster at 26, is coming off back surgery. Ron Artest is a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off. Pau Gasol has earned the name Gasoft for disappearing in big games. And this is the great team that they expect to dominate the league? My, my these fans are delusional. Read more » Leave a comment Link backs Tweet
Five years ago, the trade for Ray Allen was the turning point toward a new Big Three era. This trade was the turning point from 22 years of futility to a championship and the past five interesting roller coaster years. It was the trade for Ray Allen that changed the tide of negotiations for Kevin Garnett and convinced him that Boston was serious about becoming contenders again. The trade for Ray Allen was a turning point in Celtics history just as the acquisition of Cousy, the drafting of Russell, Cowens or Bird, the trade for Robert Parish, and any number of moves that ushered in a new era of Celtics basketball.
Now, the departure of Ray Allen signals the next major turning point in Celtics' history. The New Big Three is no more. We might argue that there is still a big three by inserting Rondo into the mix, but it's not really the same since Pierce and KG are veterans who are winding down their careers and Rondo is a young star on the rise. This is a new era. There really is no big three any more. There is a mix of young athletic players and veteran all stars at the end of stellar careers.
The departure of Ray Allen will free up minutes for younger, more athletic players. His departure will also force the coaching staff and the younger players to change their approach to the team's strategy. The Celtics no longer have to run multiple screens to get Ray open for his clutch 3 pointers. They now have shooting guards who can create their own shots and who, more importantly can run with Rondo on the breaks. They also have three shooting guards who can play tough defense on the opposing guards. Read more » Leave a comment Link backs Tweet
Guarantees have been in the news lately with first Jason Terry and now Rajon Rondo guaranteeing a championship for the Celtics this season. I know some fans don't like the players making guarantees for one reason or another. Some feel it shows too much arrogance and may put a target on the team. Others feel that a guarantee could be a jinx. And, I'm sure that there are other reasons for people to be uncomfortable with players making guarantees.
One of the most famous guarantees in the NBA came from Pat Riley when he was the coach of the LA Lakers. Riley's Lakers had just won the title in 1987. The Celtics were just a season removed from winning the championship with the Big Three. There were also other teams, like the Pistons who were on the rise and who could challenge for the title. No team had repeated as champions in 18 years so a repeat for the Lakers was fairly improbable. Yet, at the celebration following the Lakers' 1987 title, Coach Pat Riley had guaranteed a repeat championship in 1988. Talk about going out on a limb. Read more » Leave a comment Link backs Tweet
Paul Pierce has been enjoying some vacation time at the beach and yesterday tweeted a picture too good not to share. Hopefully the sand will have healing properties and he will emerge ready to get to work on his game and come into the season a mean, lean, scoring and rebounding machine. He also posted this photo.
Celtics rookie forward, Kris Joseph, was one of 30 players who recently participated in Team Canada's five-day training camp at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Canada, which did not qualify for this year's Olympic Games in London, has a new general manager in new Laker point guard and 2-time MVP, Steve Nash.
Along with the Celtics' Joseph, players who attended the Steve Nash led camp included Robert Sacre of the LA LAkers, Tristan Thompson from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Andrew Nicholson of the Orlando Magic, who impressed in Summer League, and Cory Joseph of the San Antonio Spurs.
Kris Joseph impressed many Celtics fans in the Celtics Summer League games and was featured prominently in the above video. He had this to say about the camp:
"You could just feel the passion. Everyone was engaged. Everyone in that room, we all felt that we have the talent is this room to compete for some medals down the road."
Danny Ainge has to be breathing a sigh of relief at this news. Mike Zarren isn't just any assistant. Mike is a lifelong Celtics fan and season ticket holder. His title is Assistant General Manager and Team Counsel. He is now in his ninth year with the team after starting out as an unpaid intern.
Zarren is widely recognized as one of the leaders in the field of advanced statistical analysis of basketball players and teams, and is an important part of the team’s strategic planning and player personnel evaluation processes. He is also the team’s salary cap expert and lead in-house counsel, and is responsible for the development of new technologies for team use, including the team’s statistical database and video archive/delivery system. Glad to hear that he will be sticking with the Celtics for now. As with the Celtics former numbers man, Daryl Morey who is now with the Rockets, it's probably only a matter of time until another team snaps him up for a GM spot.
With the Celtics taking over all operations of the Red Claws this season, and with the league moving to allow unlimited assignments to D-League teams, it would be a good idea for Celtics fans to keep an eye on the team. The Celtics organization will be installing their own coach and system for the team and I can imagine that rookies will be sent down with more regularity than in the past.
The Red Claws will play a 50-game schedule, with 24 games at home, 24 on the road and two games at the NBA Development League Showcase. The NBA D-League Showcase will be held January 7-10 in Reno, NV with the specific game schedule to be announced at a later date.
Over 30 NBADL games will be televised on NBA-TV this season, including the NBA D-League Game of the Week each Sunday during the regular season. They will also televise postseason games. The NBA D-League Showcase and the NBA D-League All-Star Game taking place in Houston during NBA All-Star weekend will also be televised on NBA-TV. CBS Sports Network will feature 12 live regular season games, including two from the 2013 NBA D-League Showcase, as well as 2013 NBA D-League Playoffs and Finals action. Local coverage of Red Claws games on Time Warner Cable will be announced at a later date. All Red Claws game are broadcast live on The Big Jab 96.3 FM.
Check out the regular season schedule after the jump.
Lex and I have been going back and forth about how Jeff Green will fit into the rotation and what to expect from him this season. I'm willing to throw out what he has done in the past and start with a clean slate. He will be playing his natural small forward position for the first time in his pro career. He also is coming off heart surgery that could have been fatal if not caught in time. A near death experience has a way of changing a player's approach to the game, as it did with Paul Pierce all those years ago. He has vowed to be more aggressive and I believe that he will.
Lex has some videos of Green dunking and blocking shots and showing how athletic he is. He's going to give the Celtics a very long and athletic small forward who will be tough for a lot of teams to match up with. He will also be able to play the four when the Celtics choose to go to a small running lineup. He's quick, athletic, has good hands, has good footwork, and can shoot the ball. Read more » Leave a comment Link backs Tweet
The above video is a Dionte Christmas workout at Reebok Headquarters. The more I think about Dionte, the more I like the signing and think he's going to be able to help the team, especially while Avery Bradley is out at the beginning of the season. At 6'5" with a 6'9" wingspan, Christmas can play 3 positions. He is a good ball handler and proved in summer league that he can play the point and run an offense. He can also play shooting guard and has a complete offensive arsenal. He also has the size and quickness to play small forward.
Dionte Christmas won't be your typical rookie. He was a four year player at Temple but was not drafted coming out of college. He knew he needed to work on his game to make himself more valuable to an NBA team so he played 4 years overseas. Last year in Greece, he averaged 18.6 points. He shot 57.8% from two point range and 36% from beyond the arc. He also averaged 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He comes in with experience behind him. Read more » Leave a comment Link backs Tweet
Rondo is over in the Philippines and made the statement that he wants to retire as the best point guard in Celtics history. Rondo is going to have to go some to surpass Bob Cousy, the Houdini of the Hardwood, who currently holds that position. Lex's comment on that post was very true and reveals the true measure of greatness.
So really it is Rondo v. Cous, and, to paraphrase my man Larry, well, Rajon, you know what it's gonna come down to don't you?
So dammit, get busy.
That should be your watch word this season.
Hoist this team on your back every night like losing a game is worse than losing your mother.
Read about how magic locked himself in a room after the 1984 season.
This is how you have to come out...every night
Champions react to losses in different ways. But every champion takes losses hard and they ultimately react by working harder and coming back better the next year. Lex mentioned Magic after that loss in 1984. Johnson took that defeat particularly hard and took much of the blame himself for his team coming short. He spent the entire summer of 1984 in his house. He never left the property. Didn't want to go anywhere. Didn't want to see anyone. But, he worked on his game. He made himself better. He came back the next year with a renewed sense of purpose and led his team to the championship in 1985. Read more » Leave a comment Link backs Tweet
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that The Magic will sign former Celtic E'Twaun Moore. I'm very happy to hear that E'Twaun has found a home. I felt terrible for him when the trade went down. He had just stated in an interview how confident he was that the Celtics would keep him on the roster because of how well he was playing. And, he was playing very well. Then, there was the heartbreaking photo of E'twaun leaving the arena after being told, while he was warming up for a game, that he had been traded. And if being traded wasn't bad enough, the poor guy was cut right after the trade. So, I'm thrilled to see that he is landing with a young and rebuilding team that should give him plenty of opportunity to play and show what he can do. He's a good kid and I'll be cheering for him to succeed. I wouldn't be surprised to see him light the Celtics up when they play the Magic.
In other news, Sean Williams, who was also included in the trade for Courtney Lee, was waived by the Rockets today just ahead of the August 30 deadline when his contract would have become guaranteed.
Rondo at Barbers in the Philippines courtesy of InterAKTV/Rey Joble
Back when Rondo was at the Nike World Basketball Festival in France, I translated an interview that he did with a French magazine where he had this to say:
I have matured a lot and my game has also. I think I am one of the best playmakers in the League. I think I'm the best point guard in the League.
There has been a lot of discussion over that little statement from him. Personally I want my point guard to think he's the best in the league. I don't want a point guard who doubts his abilities. Since that time, Jason Terry has said that he feels that Rondo is the best point guard in the league and reported that Jason Kidd agrees with him. There will always be debate because every point guard in the league brings a different style and different strengths.
Now, Rajon Rondo is in the Philippines, and he made this statement shortly after arriving there on his Red Bull tour:
“I hope I can end my career as the greatest point guard in the history of the Boston Celtics,” he said.
Being the best point guard in the league is one thing, but being the best point guard in Celtics history is another thing completely. Let's look at some of the competition in this area: Bob Cousy, Dennis Johnson, Tiny Archibald, Jo Jo White, KC Jones, John Bagley. (Just kidding on that last one... Wanted to see if you were awake).
When searching for the commercials for this post I came across this commercial and felt that it needed its own post. In the early days when Red was coaching the team to 8 consecutive championships, his responsibilities were far more than watching film and making a game plan. In those days, the coach was also the GM, the equipment manager, the person who made hotel reservations, and the chauffeur. And, in those days they didn't have assistant coaches for defense, big men, practice, etc. Coaches these days have it pretty easy with assistants to perform all the different tasks that Red was responsible for.
The commercial above is amazing for a couple of reasons. First of all, look who is in this commercial. Red Auerbach, Bob Cousy, Don Nelson, Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn and K.C. Jones. That's a whole wing of the Hall of Fame right there. And there they are sitting at a table drinking Miller Light. Second, these boys have some manners! Red taught them well. Makes me long for simpler days. In my tribute to Tommy Heinsohn on his birthday, I shared a story from Tommy's book Heinsohn, Don't You Ever Smile?. I think another story is in order to go with this post.
After the Jump, I share a story about Red from Tommy's fantastic book from the days when Red was in charge of doing everything for the team, including driving to the games. If you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend it.
Much has been made of Jason Terry's new tattoo. He's been showing it off all over Boston and pretty much guaranteeing a championship. Some people think it's just showmanship. Others think that it's foolish for him to get that tattoo and they don't like his guarantees.
Recall that Jason Terry also got a tattoo of the Larry O'Brien trophy in the off-season before the Maverick's won their first championship. Was it a coincidence that the Mavs won it all that season or was something else going on? Here's what Jet had to say about what happened after he got that tattoo:
"Everybody laughed and they thought it was a joke at the time. When they actually see me get it, they were like, 'This boy is serious.' And our whole talk and conversation was about right now, about us getting to this point and winning it all."
When his teammates saw how serious he was and that he had so much faith in his team that he put himself out there with a visual guarantee that they would win it, it energized his teammates and motivated each of them to give that little bit extra to win it all. And, it worked.
Now, he's got a new tattoo with Lucky holding the Larry O'Brien trophy. His teammates know by now that he's once again putting his faith in his teammates to win win it all this season. The power behind the tattoo is motivation and a renewed sense of purpose for every member of the team. Will the Celtics respond in the same way that the Mavericks' did? I have to hope they are all serious enough to react in the same way and to give that extra effort to hang Banner 18 this season.
This one stars some of the greatest centers in league history: Shaquille O'Neal, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabar, and Bill Walton (or as Lex would say, Mountain Man). Great commercial!
This commercial has always been one of my favorites. It's a 1986 commercial for Converse shoes featuring two of the NBA's all time great players: Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The story goes that they didn't like each other much before they shot this commercial. During the filming they got to talk to each other and realized that they actually had a lot in common and they forged a friendship that lasted through their playing careers and into retirement. Choose YOUR weapon!
This one's a classic from 1993. It was so good that they tried to remake it with LeBron and Dwight Howard but it wasn't near as good as the original.
And finally, another from 1986 for a local restaurant. A once in a lifetime chance to see Larry Bird, Danny Ainge, Rick Carlisle, Robert Parish, Greg Kite, Bill Walton and the rest do the wave. (and Parish strikes fear into Lobsters everywhere!)
Coach Bobby Knight is a very good talent evaluator. When he's impressed with a player, it's smart to listen to him. In this video Bobby is very impressed with Jared Sullinger as a freshman. And, he's even better now. I know this is against college competition, but he has all the fundamentals along with size to compete in the pros. I know he isn't a leaper or really athletic, but then again, neither was Larry Bird. Jared has the fundamentals and he just knows how to play.
I'm expecting Sully to earn minutes this season and be a solid contributor in the rotation. He just knows how to play. He has the fundamentals down and he has great footwork and court awareness, as Bobby points out. He's been working out hard with his fellow Celtics rookies judging by some of the tweets I've been seeing. I just know that KG is going to love having a rookie with such solid fundamentals and who is willing to listen and work hard to get better. It's 34 days till training camp and I can't wait!
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