Posted by Brian Robb on May 18, 2013
As we await Kevin Garnett’s decision about whether or not he will play a 7th season with the Boston Celtics, an important physical limitation has been avoided for the big man. After laboring through the last couple months of the season with a foot/ankle injury, which caused him to miss much of the regular season, surgery for Garnett appeared imminient in the offseason on the ailment.
Now according to a report from Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, Garnett will able to heal the bone spurs with the aid of rest and recuperation:
The Celtics still don’t know whether Kevin Garnett will be playing basketball next season, but if he does, the veteran is obviously hoping offseason rest will solve the left foot and ankle problems that dogged him for a part of this past season.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge reports that Garnett will not go under the knife to deal with bone spurs and other issues.
“I think there was some question whether he was going to have surgery on his foot,” said Ainge. “but the last I heard, which was a few days ago, is that he won’t need surgery.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Brian Robb on May 17, 2013
Yesterday was a good day in Boston. We found out Doc Rivers would definitely be coming back as a head coach, the Bruins won in overtime, and the Sox had a big comeback as well.
As the first big decision of the Celtics offseason came in though, a brighter light begins to shine down now on Danny Ainge and the rest of the decisions he has to make this offseason, as well as the chain effects they may cause. Yesterday, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald caught up with Ainge in Chicago at the NBA Draft Combine, who gave him some candid thoughts on the future of both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Ainge comparing this summer to last summer: “Last summer we had a lot of different scenarios that we could have gone into,” Ainge said yesterday as he watched the NBA pre-draft combine. “Once KG came back, there was only one scenario. It took all the A-through-Z scenarios and took it down to one quick decision.
“I don’t think this year is quite that simple, because I think that we have to do more regardless. With Paul or KG or without them based on their decisions, we have to do more. So I just don’t think it’s going to be as simple as bringing our team back.”
Ainge on KG’s impending decision to come back or retire: “We’re moving forward no matter what. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Brian Robb on May 16, 2013
The first of the many dominoes of the Celtics offseason has fallen. For Celtics fans, this will be a good start.
Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe reported today from the NBA’s Draft Combine in Chicago that Danny Ainge confirmed to him that the long-time C’s head coach will be returning to the bench next season.
Rivers did not join his cohorts at the NBA Draft Combine because of a strained hamstring suffered playing tennis last Sunday, but Ainge said Rivers is on board with the team’s retooling efforts and will be back.
“Yeah (he’ll be back), Doc and I are talking about our team next year,” Ainge said. “(No suspense) from my perspective. We’ve got a great coach. We’ve got a coach everybody would love to have and he’s got three years left on his contract and I think Doc likes Boston, too.Coaches get tired, though. It’s a hard job.
“You guys are the only one (who made it an issue).”
C’s fans out there can be a collective sigh of relief, although beat reporter in town throws a bit of cold water on Washburn’s report. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Michael Pina on May 16, 2013
Unless we’re discussing the eight or nine best players in the world, it’s impossible to separate a contract’s price from a player’s expectations, value, and overall performance.
Jeff Green is the manifestation of this theory. In August he was guaranteed $36 million over four years, even though he didn’t play a single game during the previous season after undergoing open heart surgery. The money was too much. The years were too many.
And so, just like that, as he prepared to enter his athletic prime, the book on Green was written before he had the opportunity to prove people wrong. But after showcasing a basic skill-set that allowed him to completely take over quarters, hit two game-winning shots, and hold his own against the best players at his position for extended stretches, it might be safe to say that Green did just that.
We’ll start by looking at how he performed in 17 games as a starter: 20.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 blocks per game, 52.3% from the floor, 51.9% on 3-pointers, and 79.8% from the line. The odds of Green extrapolating those numbers over the course of an entire season aren’t promising—mostly because nobody’s ever been that efficient while scoring that many points—but it still represents an incredibly positive development.
Green’s contract isn’t a bargain. You aren’t getting eight Big Macs for a dollar here. But he’s proven to be a very, very good player. There was the time he scored 43 points in 40 minutes against the Miami Heat, or the 11-of-14 massacring he conducted in Phoenix. And he was complete in those scoring outbursts. Green passed the 30 point mark three times this season, and in those three games he totaled 13 blocks, five steals, and 20 rebounds.
But this isn’t an argument for Green to be treated as an All-Star, because he’s not in that ball park right now. It’s a case for him to be respected as a very good piece on what could be a very competitive team. His contract has existed as a stigma but it shouldn’t anymore.
The main criticism surrounding Green is based in his inconsistent play. Local media wondered why, if he possessed all the skills everyone kept saying he had, he couldn’t take over games and score whenever he wanted. The word “aggressive” was showered upon all Jeff Green related analysis for the first few months of the season, mostly to the effect that he needed to be “that” all the time, during each and every possible minute of action. The only thing stopping Green from scoring 30 points every time he took the floor was himself, according to a few people who don’t know much about basketball.
Green definitely didn’t average 30 points a night. In 29 of 81 games, he scored less than 10 points, pushing his deficiencies to the forefront. Sometimes he entered games with a giant padlock wrapped around his shoulders and draped across his chest. Green simply couldn’t score, and he’d stop looking for his own shot if he didn’t have “it” early on. Quotations are used here because I’m not smart enough to know what “it” is.
On the defensive end he’s a versatile athlete, which is phenomenal. And he controls that athleticism in uncanny ways when it comes to protecting the rim as a weakside or trailing defender. But his pick-and-roll defense often looks like Doc Rivers repeatedly excommunicates him during the specific time in practice when Boston’s coaching staff is instructing their players on what to do. Green is a snail fighting through picks, too quick to settle on a switch when his teammate, who’s defending the roll man, has no idea he needs to step up and take the ball-handler. This turns contested jumpers into open jumpers. It’s repeated miscommunications that we’ve seen all year long, and it needs to end if Green is ever truly to be recognized as an “elite” defender.
But overall, and more specifically with the ball, he improved his play as the season went on, going toe to toe with his competition, and acting as a beast through Boston’s brief playoff run. Green’s point totals from that series go like this: 26, 10, 21, 26, 18, 21. He played over 42 minutes in every game except one, and created match-up problems galore for a Knicks team that had nobody to guard him. That the ball wasn’t in his hands enough is more a question for the coaching staff than the player, in this situation.
If you’ve ever asked “Why isn’t Jeff Green a superstar?” out loud and was legitimately crushed about him not quite ever putting it all together, I feel for you. I really do. Because Jeff Green will never be a superstar in the sense that he’s able to carry a team to the playoffs or make an All-Star team.
But understand his strengths (taking advantage of physical mismatches in the post, getting to the free-throw line, creating his own shot with a fairly consistent jumper, thriving as one of the 10 most feared in-game dunkers in the league). Just make sure you remember the unpredictable nature in which they’re ignited.
Despite starting the season on the bench, in somewhat of a confusing role, he ended the year with career-bests in PER, points per 36 minutes (16.6) and True Shooting percentage, spending long stretches of more than a handful of games swooping through defenses and putting the ball in the basket in extremely efficient ways. He made it look easy, which is one of those unquantifiable characteristics all great players share. But Green came and went. Watching him play sometimes feels like standing outside during a breeze-less 101 degree day, then getting pelted with a few water balloons. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it sounds about right if you think long enough.
Until you’re able to separate Green’s play from how much money he’s making, you might not agree with the assertion that he exceeded any and all expectations. Don’t worry about the contract. Everyone know it’ll probably remain a bit too high until it expires—Green will be 27 next season, most likely a full-time starter, and someone who’s already established what he can and cannot do in the NBA. But to cite his deal in any discussion centered around the league’s least team-friendly contracts is admitting you aren’t watching/haven’t watched him play in at least two years.
In Jeff Green’s case, separate the deal from the man and what you’ll find is a frustratingly marvelous athlete. But he’s still one hell of a basketball player.
CelticsHub Grade: B
Posted by Brendan Jackson on May 15, 2013
On June 23rd, 2011, Brian Robb and I stood around a high top bar table in Tommy Doyle’s in Kendall Square. Before us lay one of the biggest mounds of buffalo chicken wings I had ever endeavor to make disappear. These 25 cent flappers- one of the few indulgences afforded to the participants of our recreation basketball league- were to be enjoyed over the course of the next two hours while we waited to find out the identity of the newest member of the Boston Celtics.
We sat there, sucking meat off bone and gulping down pitchers of cheap domestic, waiting with immense anticipation. We were both pulling for the Celtics to draft an athletic but undersized power forward from Morehead State named Kenneth Faried. The Celtics had been absolutely dreadful on the glass during the 2010-2011 season and Faried had spent his final collegiate season putting Windex out of business.
It was a perfect fit, really. The C’s were drafting late in the first round, Faried played for a small school, was undersized, and a relative unknown. It was likely that Faried would be snapped up prior to the C’s pick, but seeing the soon-to-be-called Manimal in green was definitely a possibility worth pulling for.
As the big names started to go to their expected destinations, my stomach started to churn like a bonnet-wearer holding a dasher-staff at Sturbridge Village. I couldn’t tell if it was my assumption that Faried would be gone by the time the Celtics picked or the buffalo/beer mess coagulating in my lower intestine. Whatever it was, it was going to be my 2011 NBA Draft companion.
With the 22nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets select Kenneth Faried, forward, Morehead State.
We had wanted Faried but we had backups. There was our hometown hero Reggie Jackson that lit up our Alma Mater for three years. The Celtics didn’t need a point guard so seeing Jackson go right before the Celtics’ pick was, again, okay. The other two guys on our short list, JaJuan Johnson and Jimmy Butler, were still available.
With the 25th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics select Marshon Brooks, guard, Providence College. Read the rest of this entry »