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Celtics Circuit: C’s Pick Sixth In Draft

Will the Boston Celtics receive Kevin Love this summer?

Will the Boston Celtics receive Kevin Love this summer?

Throughout the 2013-’14 NBA season, Boston Celtics’ fans pointed to the NBA Lottery to see if the Celtics would be able to land a top pick in the Draft.

On Tuesday night, the Celtics learned their fate. The fans were disappointed when they found out that the Celtics were outside the top five. Instead, the Celtics will have the sixth selection in the Draft on June 26th.

Like in 1997 and 2007, the Celtics were hoping they would have the number one pick. Those lottery balls did not roll in the favor of the franchise for the third time in 17 years.

This year’s draft includes standout prospects such as Jabari Parker, Joel Embid, and Andrew Wiggins.

Over the past week, there has been rampant speculation that Kevin Love would not resign with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Since Love will become a free agent in the summer of 2015, the Timberwolves could seek a trade before the 2014 NBA Draft. The Celtics are one of the teams who could have enough players or picks to appease the Timberwolves in a trade proposal. They could offer young players such as Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk and any of the nine first-round picks that the Celtics own over the next five years. The trade would be contingent on whether Love wants to extend his contract with the Celtics.

Love, who averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds, has played with the Timberwolves for six years since he was drafted in 2008. The 6-foot-10-inch power forward has never made the playoffs in his career. He is a three-time All-Star. Love played at UCLA before he was drafted fifth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008. The Grizzlies then sent Love to the Timberwolves for third-overall pick O.J. Mayo as part of an eight-player trade.

The Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Phoenix Suns are all possible destinations for Love.

This was just the first domino to fall in an interesting offseason that could either answer some questions for the future of the Celtics or leave the Celtics in limbo.

 

Celtics Circuit: Should Fans Want the Celtics to Lose?

M.L. Carr's Celtics are a cautionary tale of why tanking is risky.

Since the Boston Celtics traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets on June 27th, the average Celtics fan have called for the team to tank the 2013-’14 season.

After watching the Michigan State-Kentucky and Duke versus Kansas games on Tuesday night, it is difficult to cheer for the Celtics. Kentucky’s Julius Randle along with Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker of Duke all showed why they are highly touted freshmen on a big stage.

The Celtics should not lose the rest of their games and Celtics’ fans should not cheer for the team to fall to the bottom of the league.

There is only a 25% chance that the team with the worst record in the NBA is granted the top selection in the NBA Draft. The league prevents teams from tanking. There have been plenty of teams that tried, but many have been unsuccessful.

The 1996-’97 Celtics finished with a 15-67 record. Tim Duncan was a surefire NBA superstar and the Celtics had the best chance of landing the first pick. In the Lottery, the Celtics ended up with the third and fifth choices while the San Antonio Spurs were able to take Duncan. Then the Celtics drafted Chauncey Billups with the third pick and Ron Mercer. Billups was traded during his rookie season and Mercer lasted just two-plus seasons with the Celtics. He was out of the league before he reached the age of 30.

The 2014 NBA Draft could be loaded with talent. Unlike previous years, the Celtics don’t need to get the number one pick because they can get a premium player later in the draft. Many fans want Wiggins, but with Rajon Rondo’s contract ending in 2015, the Celtics could use a point guard like Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State or Michigan State’s Keith Appling.

Another reason is the underdog story. The Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns were expected to finish with less than 20 wins. Yet, both the Sixers and Suns are atop their standings right now. The season is still young and the good teams will separate from the bottom feeders as the year goes on. There are many people who complain that the NBA is too redundant and only the teams filled with the top players in the league are able to go on a deep postseason run. The league has always given the benefit of the doubt to the superstars in the league. In the 1960’s, the rivalry between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain dominated the decade. Then the 1980’s belonged to Larry Bird and Magic Johnson before the 90’s brought the dominance of Michael Jordan. If these Cinderella teams can continue their success, then this could create more excitement. Instead of watching LeBron James dominate the rest of the league, there could be two starless teams on a magical run in May. This is why we watch sports and it is why the NCAA Tournament is such a huge success.

It is early in the season and the Celtics are 4-5. Their schedule will get tougher, but the Eastern Conference is weak. They are not a great team, but Brad Stevens will have his players ready to play because these players all have pride. The fans should rally around their team (especially after the 111-110 win over the Miami Heat last Saturday) and leave the personnel decisions to Danny Ainge and his staff.

Enjoy the ebb and flow of this season. If the Celtics do happen to finish in the bottom of the standings, then cheer for them to get the best players possible (Bill Belichick phrase) to put together a championship contender.

 

 

Celtics Tweets of Interest: Jared Sullinger Likes Marathon Tribute; MarShon Brooks’ Strange Tweet

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The Boston Celtics won their first game of the season last night against the Utah Jazz. Brad Stevens was victorious for the first time as a head coach in the NBA.

Last Friday, the Celtics blew a 22-point lead in the second half in their home opener against the Milwaukee Bucks. They nearly blew a 25-point advantage over the Jazz in the final 12 minutes. In the fourth quarter, the Celtics have been either tied or held the lead at some point, but they are unable to finish games down the stretch. Without Rajon Rondo and with Paul Pierce in Brooklyn, the Celtics are without players who can create their own shots or make plays for others in the final minutes. There is no defensive leader on the floor like Kevin Garnett.

Most Celtics fans and media personnel were aware of the Celtics’ shortcomings and believed that they would not be as successful this season. The toughest thing for Celtics fans is seeing the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns get off to good starts despite being in a rebuilding phase. The Red Sox just won a World Series with a team that was expected to finish at the bottom of the standings. Both the Boston Bruins and New England Patriots have winning records despite several key players suffering injuries.

Here are the tweets from Celtics’ players.

Jared Sullinger was among many Red Sox fans who witnessed the parade last Saturday. When the Duck Boats reached the Finish Line at the Boston Marathon, outfielder Jonny Gomes and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia placed the trophy on the Finish Line. They covered the trophy with the Red Sox jersey that had the area code of Boston (617) and the words Boston Strong. This was the shirt that had been hanging in the Red Sox dugout since the Marathon bombings on April 15th. This was a very touching moment for everyone who was affected by the bombings and people who live in Boston.

This appears to be a cryptic tweet from Celtics guard MarShon Brooks. Brooks has not received much playing time through the first four games. He played just seven minutes in the 87-77 loss to the Detroit Pistons on November 3rd. Brooks lost playing time with the Brooklyn Nets last year because he struggled with his defense. The Celtics have a logjam in their backcourt and they are having trouble finding minutes for Brooks. Perhaps

Jared Sullinger Plays Big Role for Celtics’ Reserves

Boston Celtics forward seemed to be getting to every loose rebound against Marcin Gortat and the Phoenix Suns last Wendesday.

Boston Celtics forward seemed to be getting to every loose rebound against Luis Scola and the Phoenix Suns on January 9th.

It is no coincidence that the Boston Celtics won six consecutive games (before they fell to the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday) because of their improvements on the defensive end. The Celtics are getting consistent production from their bench and the rebounding of rookie forward Jared Sullinger.

Sullinger posted double digit rebounds in wins over the Phoenix Suns (16) and the Houston Rockets (11). The 6-foot-9-inch forward has accumulated most of his boards on the offensive end and he has helped the Celtics get out of last place in offensive rebounding.

During the winning streak, Sullinger averaged nearly 10 points and nine rebounds per game. He also corralled 21 offensive rebounds in this stretch against players such as Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith and Al Horford, and the duo of Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola of the Suns.

Despite Sullinger being undersized, he is able to outmuscle bigger players with a big lower mass that is able to push opponents away from the basket. He is also able to do this on the defensive end of the court.

Teammates have praised Sullinger for his basketball intelligence, his interior passing, and the ability to score. Sullinger can also make 15-foot jumpers outside the paint. Most of Sullinger’s scoring has come from within five feet of the basket because he has strong post moves and of his rebounding ability.

At the beginning of the year, the Celtics believed they had strong depth inside with Sullinger or Brandon Bass and Darko Milicic as reserves along with Chris Wilcox. The Celtics lost Milicic because he went back to Serbia to take care of his ailing mother. Bass has struggled with inconsistency. Wilcox suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb and has been out since December 18th. Bass was just reinserted into the starting lineup and Jason Collins is playing limited minutes due to nagging injuries. This has left Sullinger to be a force and to play a big role in the reserve unit.

The biggest reason why Sullinger has struggled is his propensity to accumulate fouls early. This issue has not gone away since Sullinger fouled out in the final minute in the 103-91 victory over the Rockets last Friday. He committed three fouls in the first half of the 100-89 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday. He also got into early foul trouble against the Hornets. Officials will pick on Sullinger because he is a rookie. Sullinger’s size forces him to be physical when defending taller forwards, which means he will get called if the officials are calling a tight game.

At this time last year, Sullinger was battling injuries while playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes against Big Ten competition. He fell to the 21st pick in the 2012 NBA Draft in June because teams were worried about his back and conditioning problems.  Now, he is in the running for Rookie of the Year while helping the Celtics climb back into the Eastern Conference race. Currently, the Celtics are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but they are just four and a half games behind the Eastern Conference-leading Miami Heat.

Sullinger has provided the Celtics with energy off the bench. If the Celtics continue to win, they will also need continued production from Sullinger.

Avery Bradley Is The X Factor For The Boston Celtics

Avery Bradley's defense is an energizing force for the Boston Celtics.

Avery Bradley’s defense is an energizing force for the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics have won four straight games and they are a game over .500. Last week after the Celtics fourth straight defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies, people were talking about the fact that the Celtics need to blow up their roster and their only way to compete is by acquiring troubled forward DeMarcus Cousins.

One of the many reasons that the Celtics are playing better, especially on the defensive end is Avery Bradley.  Since Bradley played his first game against the Grizzlies on January 2nd , the Celtics have not allowed a team to score over 100 points. In the three previous games on the West Coast, the Celtics gave up an average of 108.3 points per game. The Celtics are 4-1 since Bradley returned to the court.

The Celtics rarely consistently showed a pulse early in the season on both sides of the court. When the Celtics played well defensively, they would struggle on offense. Then when the offense was executing well, the defense would falter. Read more

Celtics’ Rondo Assist Streak Closing In On 2nd All Time

Boston Celtics Point Guard #9 Rajon Rondo is one game away from claiming 2nd place on the all-time games with 10 assists or more streak with 38. He will have a chance to do so Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets.

While Rajon Rondo can, at times, be inconsistent terms of scoring; his athleticism, defensive play, court vision, and passing ability have allowed him to close in on a very special number. The Celtics point guard is closing in on second place for the all-time games with 10 or more assists streak record, for which he is currently tied at 37. The streak is also more impressive given the Celtics’ struggles this season to play complete games both as a team and individually.

Rondo tied former Utah Jazz great and Hall of Famer John Stockton’s 1989 37 game run this past Sunday in a nail-biter against the Orlando Magic. He had a line of 15 points, 16 assists, 2 steals, and 9 rebounds. Rajon was also one rebound short of a triple double in the game which would have been his second of the season.

The Boston Celtics face off against the Brooklyn Nets this Wednesday the 28th; where Rondo will be looking to claim the number two spot on that list all for himself. If he can do that, Rajon will be eight 10 assist or more games away from tying Magic Johnson’s 1984 record, and nine away from beating the record all together.

Rondo has been the Celtics MVP this season at both ends of the court. In just 13 games this season, he leads the team in minutes played per game, assists, steals, as well as being third in points per game and fourth in rebounds per game. Rajon also boasts the Celtics’ second best shooting percentage behind Chris Wilcox.

Rajon Rondo was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 21st overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. He was then traded to the Boston Celtics along with Brian Grant for the Cleveland Cavaliers 2007 1st round pick and cash considerations. Rondo has played his entire career with the Boston Celtics and won a championship with the team in 2008. A three time All Star; Rondo also led the league in steals in 2010 and assists last season. He is averaging 38.5 minutes per game, 4.8 rebounds, 13.7 assists, 1.9 steals, and 13.5 points per game this season in 13 games.

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