Tag Archives: NBA

Celtics Recap: End of Season Grades

Brad Stevens

The Boston Celtics mercifully ended the 2013-2014 season on a low note, or a high note, depending on how your perception of the team may have fluctuated with every mock draft that was published. Regardless, the Celtics finished with a 25-57 record, their third 25 win and under season since the ill-fated M.L. Carr campaign of 1997. Danny Ainge will look to drastically improve the team through any means necessary, leaving no player untouchable.

Players

Joel Anthony  D

Good locker room guy, but his days of being an effective player have passed. Grade would not be so low if he didn’t possess a $3.8 million player option for next season.

Chris Babb  C+

I personally had higher expectations after he earned stellar reviews by the coaching staff during the preseason. Was called up from Maine late in the season after Gerald Wallace was lost to injury. Already has the body type and skill to be an elite defender, but was unable to find any sort of semblance of offense. With Chris Johnson already flashing skill as a wing off the bench, it makes it unlikely Babb will be on the big squad next year.

Brandon Bass  B+

The recipient of the ninth annual Auerbach Award, Bass finished the year averaging 11 points and just under six rebounds per game, carrying his typical work man like attitude in all 82 games this season. Bass was underrated on offense, shooting above league average on shots at or near the rim and on shots 10 to 16 feet away. He also earned the praise of Brad Stevens for his rotations on defense. Entering the final year of his deal, Bass may be an attractive trade chip in the offseason.

Jerryd Bayless  B

Poor Bayless has just not had any luck sticking with a team. The combo guard out of Arizona landed on his fifth team in six seasons when the Memphis Grizzlies traded him to the Celtics in exchange for Courtney Lee. Bayless brought stability and veteran leadership to the tune of 10 points per game in 41 games played in Boston. A free agent next season, the Celtics may look toward the draft next season for guard help.

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Celtics Tweets of Interest: Jared Sullinger Affected by Tragedy; Jeff Green Congratulates Kevin Ollie

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There are only four games left until the 2013-’14 season mercifully concludes for the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have lost nine straight games and they are currently tied with the Orlando Magic for the third worst record in the NBA.

The Celtics blew late leads in their last two games on the road against the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks. On Saturday night, the Celtics’ 19-point lead evaporated about five minutes into the fourth quarter and the Celtics fell, 115-111. Jerryd Bayless nearly hit a potential go-ahead basket in the final minute, but the ball went halfway down before bouncing out of the rim. The Pistons iced their victory with two free throws. In the Celtics’ 105-97 defeat to the Hawks, the Celtics let an 89-80 advantage slip when the Hawks’ sharpshooter Kyle Korver knocked down two consecutive three-pointers in transition. Korver is shooting 47.8 percent from beyond the three-point line this year.

Throughout this season, the Celtics have collapsed on both ends of the floor in the final 12 minutes because they are unable to close out games. They do not have a go-to scorer who can get to the free throw line late in close games. Their transition defense has been awful, especially in Wednesday’s loss.

The Celtics appear to be going through the motions in this final month of the season and they have lacked energy at critical times. This summer should be exciting and interesting unlike the end to the Celtics’ season. Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck has already promised “fireworks.” We will have to see whether Danny Ainge can rebuild the Celtics into an Eastern Conference contender.

Here are this week’s tweets:

Like most college basketball fans, Jared Sullinger watched the powerful story about Michigan State forward Adreian Payne and Lacey Holsworth. Holsworth, an 8-year-old girl from St. John’s, Michigan, lost her battle with cancer on Wednesday. The two struck up a friendship when Payne visited a children’s hospital in Detroit with his teammates two years ago. They sent messages to each other and Holsworth cheered for Payne while Michigan State made their run to the Elite Eight before they lost to the eventual national champion, the University of Connecicut. Payne told the Associated Press, “Please don’t let her love and smile fade.” Lacey’s memory will live on with Payne and his Spartans teammates as they follow their future endeavors whether they play in the NBA or they go into another line of work.

Green played with UConn head coach Kevin Ollie with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009-’10. Ollie helped lead UConn to their fourth national championship after a 60-54 victory over Kentucky. Point guard Shabazz Napier of Roxbury, Massachusetts, scored 22 points and was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. The Celtics forward sent a congratulatory message to his former teammate.

Celtics Beat: Green’s Inconsistencies The Norm

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When the Celtics brought over Jeff Green in the controversial Kendrick Perkins trade, the Thunder did not mind giving up an athletic wing in his prime years. That in itself should have told Danny Ainge to be wary of what Green may have promised – key word promised.

It’s clear now that judging just from a player to player swap (Perkins for Green), the Celtics won that decisively. Perkins is closer to the end than the beginning, and Green is averaging a career high in points this season as the de facto go to player for a lottery bound squad.

Often feeling the wrath of fans this season – deservedly and undeservedly so – the former Georgetown Hoya scored 39 points in an overtime loss to the Pelicans and followed that up the following night with a five point dud against the Mavericks. Jeff Green is consistently inconsistent. In fact, per NBC Pro Basketball Talk, he is the only player with more than a dozen 25+ point games, and more than a dozen single digit scoring games this season.

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Celtics Circuit: Five Things To Watch For Down The Stretch (VIDEO)

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Tommy Heinsohn ponders about who the next Bill Russell could be

In what has been a dreary season for “green teamers” and bandwagon fans alike, the Boston Celtics are in line to make some interesting moves during the offseason, including their own lottery pick which should at least be in the top seven of a highly touted draft. Here are five interesting subplots for the current roster to keep track of as the season winds down:

1. Assessing Chris Johnson, Phil Pressey, and Chris Babb

One of the few good things about losing is that it allows the flexibility to give unknown players with ability and a desire to succeed a chance to get minutes at the NBA level. While it would be relatively shocking to see all three back next season, their contracts are flexible enough to package into deals or keep at the end of the bench. Pressey, the diminutive point guard from Missouri, has enjoyed his fair share of ups and downs. If he’s able to develop a consistent jump shot, Pressey could become a valuable back up point guard. Both relative unknowns, Johnson was signed to a 10 day contract after the Celtics traded away Jordan Crawford and Marshon Brooks, and was eventually signed for the remainder of the season. Johnson’s value rests in his three point shot. After playing for the Celtics farm club team – the Maine Red Claws – Babb was called up when Gerald Wallace went down with a season ending injury. Already possessed with an NBA ready body, Babb’s statistics may not pop out at you, but he has shown a clear physical gift in bodying up with opposing wing players. During summer league action, Babb was one of the few players to stand out.



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2. Getting Rondo Back up to Speed

Despite what you may think of the newly minted captain, it behooves Rondo supporters and detractors alike for him to get back to playing at the elite level we’re accustomed to seeing. Coming off of a serious ACL injury, it was only natural to see Rondo get acclimated to playing at game speed again. After 17 games played, the eye test tells us that he is still not at his normal speed, but the quirky skills that set him apart from every other point guard are starting to reappear. In the three games played in March he is nearly averaging a triple double, with 15 ppg, 6 rpg, and 9 apg. He has also shockingly somehow surpassed his career season best in three pointers with 20.

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Celtics Circuit: The Evaluation of Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley shows off his trademark defense against Dwayne Wade

Is Avery Bradley good?  Well, of course he is.  He’s been a starter and a contributor for an NBA team, but is he good as a long term commitment for the Boston Celtics?  That is the question Danny Ainge and Co. must face sooner rather than later.

The NBA trade deadline is only a few days away, but more importantly, Bradley is due to become a restricted free agent this offseason. That “restricted” tag does allow the Celtics to match any offer Bradley may receive elsewhere, but also puts the onus on the team to decide on if they feel Bradley is a worthwhile investment.

There was a reason Bradley slid to the nineteenth pick in the 2010 draft.  At 6 foot 2 and lacking the true decision making  and ball handling skills of a point guard, as well as the three point shot required for shooting guards to succeed, Bradley was caught in some sort of hybrid zone.  After barely playing his rookie season, Bradley finally was able to showcase his elite athletic ability the following season.  Due to Ray Allen’s injury, Bradley slid into the starting lineup amongst a group of players who would take the pressure off of him.  Rondo was there to handle and distribute the ball, while KG, Pierce and Bass were on the floor to score.

Fast forward two seasons later and a lot of the same questions still persist.  To his credit, Bradley has improved his entire game steadfastly since his rookie season and has to be considered one of the better players on a below average team this year.  He’s averaging 43% shooting, including, a respectable 35% on three pointers.  Asked to carry more a scoring burden, Bradley has responded with 14 points per game.  His defense is rightfully lauded by opponents to the point that opposing point guards dread taking the ball up the court against him, and his pure athletic ability remains on par with players of similar size.  He has also seemed to harness the ability to slow games down a bit after a disturbing showing in last playoffs Knicks series.

With the recent explosion of advanced statistics in sports (particularly in the NBA), one has to wonder how “nerd” stats view an undersized two guard whose offensive pedigree is predicated on mid-range jumpers and backdoor cuts.  According to Basketball Reference, Bradley’s PER (Player Efficiency Rating) settles in at 12.3, oddly the same rating as Ray Allen, the guy he subsequently replaced.  PER is a bench mark example for just how efficient a player is on a per minute basis.  Kevin Durant is the league leader this season at 30.9, while the league average lands at 15.

Bradley’s true shooting percentage lies at 313rd in the league, while his usage rating is 81st.  True shooting measures a player’s efficiency in two point field goals, three point field goals, and free throw accuracy.  Usage rating simply estimates the percentage of team plays ran for a player when he is on the court.  A player doesn’t solely exist on a stat sheet, but briefing over Bradley’s case, it is clear that he must keep improving as an offensive player as the team relies on him more and more to be a consistent scoring threat.  He will also need to develop more of a dependable three point shot, as team personnel have slowly tried distancing their players from taking long contested two point shots – considered now to be the most inefficient shot in basketball.

Injuries have robbed Bradley in recent seasons, missing 31 last year, and eight this season.  The recent status on his right ankle is murky at best, indicating he may not be back when the Celtics resume play in Phoenix on Wednesday.  Celtics officials have to be frustrated with the inability of Bradley and Rajon Rondo (an oddly dynamic duo when healthy) to get on the floor at the same time.  Evaluating a player is difficult enough, but add in a bucket full of injuries, and the task gets that much more difficult.

Bradley will be dangled at the trade deadline for the right price, but expect Ainge to try to muster up a long term deal for the former Texas Longhorn.  He has a clear desire to improve, and by all accounts, appears to be a good locker room presence.  The question is, for what price?

Celtics Tweets of Interest: Brandon Bass’ On “Simply Ming;” Kelly Olynyk Autographed Ball

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As the All-Star break approaches, the Boston Celtics face an easier schedule in the month of February. The Celtics own the sixth worst record in the NBA, but the Celtics stand just five games behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. While the majority of fans prefer the Celtics to be in the NBA Draft Lottery, the Celtics could climb back into the playoff race if they can get on a lengthy winning streak.

The trade deadline is only two weeks away (February 20th) and Danny Ainge could unload some players to clear some room to get further under the tax line. Currently the Celtics are barely under the luxury tax line at $71.75 million.

The Celtics front office also needs to decide whether they want to keep guard Chris Johnson for the rest of the season. Johnson’s second 10-day contract expires at midnight. The guard has played well in his brief Celtics tenure. He is averaging 7.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 24.1 minutes during his eight games with the Celtics.

The Celtics have many questions to answer and they need their young players to make progress. As of right now, the Celtics can hold onto Avery Bradley, Rajon Rondo, and Jared Sullinger. Jeff Green disappears at times, but he has not been able to play much with Rondo. CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely had a piece where he explains Green’s role with the Celtics and the reasons for his frustrating play. Everybody else can be shipped elsewhere for the right cost.

Here are a couple of tweets from Celtics’ players:

Bass retweeted this post from the television series, “Simply Ming” on PBS. Chef Ming Tsai hosts this show that is in its 11th season. The 6-foot-8-inch forward joined Tsai to cook for the children in the YMCA of Boston. This tweet displays a picture of Bass looking on while Tsai is in the process of cooking healthy food.

Olynyk sent out an advertisement for Roster Store in the Natick Mall. Roster Store is giving away an autographed ball by Olynyk. Celtics’ fans can click on the Facebook link underneath the picture and they need to say who is their favorite all-time Celtic for an opportunity to win this basketball.

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