Ray’s Departure

I have always been a big Ray Allen fan. He is one of a million, a dying breed. There are few pure shooters like him remaining in the league. However, he is starting to gain enemies due to his apparent dislike of the Celtics Organization. While Doc and Rondo and company have remained quiet, Ray has continued to talk poorly of the organization which he won a championship with. After being talked to by Pat Riley and the Heat Front Office, Allen has begun to talk about the positive times that he remembers from Boston.

He talks about all of his deteriorating relationships since he has taken his talents to South Beach, but at least acknowledges his time in Boston. He tells ESPN: “I’m always going to be a Celtic no matter what,” Allen said. “It’s always going to be in my veins. Once you live there and play for that team and win a championship, it doesn’t matter where you go. You’re always going to be a Boston Celtic.”

Personally, I am going to miss Ray, but at the same time, I think that we are a better team this season so it doesn’t bother me as much as it might bother other people. I do wish that he would stop putting former teammates and this organization down, but everyone should always remember him for his time in Boston and all those clutch moments, especially in the ’08 Finals.

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Yet Another NBA Change

The NBA has decided that Centers will no longer have a special spot in the All-Star game. Instead, the team will be made up of 3 frontcourt players, and two backcourt, rather than two forwards and a center. It comes as no surprise seeing as most teams don’t rely on a traditional center anymore like the old days.

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Celtics Newcomers

Last week, we took a poll about who you guys think has been the biggest star of the pre-season for newcomers, and I included Jeff Green because he was injured last season. Jared Sullinger won with over 50% of the votes, and Jeff Green was tied for second with Courtney Lee and Jason Terry, all with roughly 12% of the votes. Everyone keeps going on about how good our team is going to be because of our depth but here are some reasons why each player will succeed in our system.

Jared Sullinger: Rookie that fell to us in the draft, should have been a high lottery pick if not for an injured back last season. Not too many rookies get minutes in our system, but Jared could be starting some nights. KG and Doc Rivers have both said that he has a very high basketball IQ and does not play like a rookie typically does. He has adapted to the Celtics’ system real quick, and is not timid out on the court. He rebounds consistently and shoots right when he gets the open look, rather than hesitate and up fake 15 times like a lot of smaller big men like himself. And good news for C’s fans: Garnett said he is “giving him the book, teaching him everything I know”.

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Celtics Player Preview: Courtney Lee

Next up on the list of starters is Courtney Lee. Although he is a great player, it is expected that when Avery Bradley comes back in late December-early January (hopefully), he will take back his role that he beat Ray Allen out for last season. But you can still expect a lot of minutes off the bench for Lee.

Brandon Bass | Courtney Lee

Courtney was recently ranked as the #117 best player in the league (Bradley was 106). Lee is best known for his tenacious defense which should make the duo of him and Rondo tough to beat. He will be a good match up on Dwayne Wade since we will not have Avery to shut him down like he did last season.

At the bottom I have listed his stats for his 4 years in the NBA since he left Western Kentucky. He averages exactly 10 PPG in his career and can score off the dribble. He needs a little bit of practice distributing the ball, but that should be easy considering he is now on a great looking team, not the Houston Rockets. I think he will score in the double digits again this season and will be a go-to defender in big games. Look for him to be a big factor on this team now that Ray Allen is gone.

SEASON TEAM GP GS MIN 3P% FT% OR DR REB AST BLK STL PTS
’08-’09 ORL 77 42 25.2 0.404 0.83 0.2 2.1 2.3 1.2 0.2 1 8.4
’09-’10 NJ 71 66 33.5 0.338 0.869 0.9 2.7 3.5 1.7 0.3 1.3 12.5
’10-’11 HOU 81 1 21.3 0.408 0.792 0.6 2 2.6 1.2 0.2 0.7 8.3
’11-’12 HOU 58 26 30.3 0.401 0.826 0.5 2.3 2.7 1.5 0.4 1.2 11.4

Celtics Player Preview: Brandon Bass

Since the Celtics begin camp on Friday, I thought we’d take a look at each of the projected starters that should be suiting up for the Green and White this season. First, we will start with the Power Forward position: Brandon Bass.

Brandon Bass had a breakthrough season for the Celtics in 2011. Danny Ainge went outside the box and traded Glen Davis. Although many people barely heard of Bass prior to the trade with Orlando, he quickly made a name for himself on the Celts. I think it was the most underrated move we made last season.

John Hollinger of ESPN has predicted that he will score 15.7 PPG and 7.8 RPG. He was recently ranked as the 97th best player in the NBA.

Below are Bass’ stats for his 7 seasons in the NBA. Brandon averaged the most points, rebounds, assist, steals, blocks, and minutes played of his career.

SEASON TEAM GP GS MIN FT% OR DR REB AST BLK STL PTS
’05-’06 NO 29 1 9.2 0.632 0.6 1.7 2.3 0.1 0.2 0.1 2.3
’06-’07 NO 21 3 7.7 0.75 0.6 1.4 2 0.1 0.1 0.1 2
’07-’08 DAL 79 1 19.7 0.822 1.5 2.9 4.4 0.7 0.6 0.3 8.3
’08-’09 DAL 81 0 19.4 0.867 1.6 2.9 4.5 0.5 0.7 0.3 8.5
’09-’10 ORL 50 3 13 0.825 1.1 1.5 2.6 0.4 0.5 0.2 5.8
’10-’11 ORL 76 51 26.1 0.815 1.8 3.8 5.6 0.8 0.7 0.4 11.2
’11-’12 BOS 59 39 31.7 0.81 1.6 4.6 6.2 0.9 0.9 0.6 12.5

Celtics Trade 3 Players and Pick for Courtney Lee

The Celtics are finalizing a trade for Courtney Lee sending Jajuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore, and Sean Williams to the Houston Rockets. E’Twaun and Sean have non-guaranteed contracts so they will most likely be cut. Johnson has stated that he will demand a trade from the Rockets immediately. Not sure how its going to work out for him, word is the Rockets are really high on him. Honestly, by the way that he has played during the summer league, he should be happy that someone is still high on him.

This is a tough blow for Moore who had said just earlier today that he expected to play the season with the Celtics and was having a great summer league. Everyone will remember his game last year where he put up 16 points in only 18 minutes against the Magic.

With this trade the Celtics roster is really starting to take shape. Props to Danny Ainge for the work that he has done this summer. I am not sure any other GM in the game could have done a better job than he did. He has balanced Celtics in a place where they are title contenders, while also building for the future.

Options for Filling out the Roster

Player Position Height Weight DOB From Years
Brandon Bass F 6’8 250 4/30/1985 LSU 7
Avery Bradley G 6’2 180 11/26/1990 Texas 2
Kevin Garnett  F 6’11 253 5/19/1976 Farragut Academy HS (IL) 17
JaJuan Johnson F 6’10 221 2/8/1989 Purdue 1
Kris Joseph F 6’7 210 12/17/1988 Syracuse R
Fab Melo C 7’0 255 6/20/1990 Syracuse R
E’Twaun Moore G 6’4 191 2/28/1989 Purdue 1
Paul Pierce – (C) F 6’7 235 10/13/1977 Kansas 14
Rajon Rondo G 6’1 171 2/22/1986 Kentucky 6
Jared Sullinger F 6’9 260 3/4/1992 Ohio State R
Sean Williams F-C 6’10 235 9/13/1986 Boston College 4
Jamar Smith G 6’3 185 Illinois

The Celtics will probably look to add a few more players before training camp. Jamar Smith signed with the Celtics last week but it would likely be a training camp invite and not a full season guarantee. Look for the Celtics to sign a few more players from their summer league squad such as Dionte Christmas. Also previously mentioned are the potential signings of Carlos Delfino or Courtney Lee, but they both do not look promising based on the current cap situation of the Celtics, most likely you are going to see them resign Pietrus and hopefully sign Christmas to a contract. Also they may bring back Keyon Dooling for the veterans minimum as he was a big part of the locker room and gave them a lift in the playoffs.

Player Profile: Ryan Hollins

Name: Ryan Hollins

Height:  7’0”          

Weight: 240                           

Born: Pasadena, California                                                                       

High School: John Muir                                                                    

College: UCLA

Drafted: 2006, 2nd Round, 50th overall by the Charlotte Bobcats

Previous Teams: Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers

Misc: Cleared 6’10” at the Pac-10 Championships his sophomore year in the high jump, finished 9th in NCAA regionals and 6th in the Pac-10 championship

Career Stats

Year

Team

GP

GS

MPG

FG%

3P%

FT%

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

PPG

2006–07 Charlotte

27

0

6.9

.556

.000

.600

1.1

.0

.2

.3

2.4

2007–08 Charlotte

60

1

8.9

.489

.000

.671

1.8

.2

.2

.5

2.5

2008–09 Charlotte

18

1

10.2

.543

.000

.667

2.0

.2

.2

.9

3.6

2008–09 Dallas

27

2

9.6

.525

.000

.515

2.3

.1

.2

.6

2.9

2009-10 Minnesota

73

27

16.8

.558

.000

.690

2.8

.7

.3

.5

6.1

2010-11 Cleveland

70

16

16.9

.598

.000

.681

2.7

.4

.3

.6

5.3

2011-12 Cleveland

24

7

15.1

.500

.000

.600

2.3

.3

.2

.5

3.7

Career

299

54

13.1

.554

.000

.658

2.3

.4

.2

.5

4.2

Career Highs:

Points – 19                          Rebounds – 12                                  Assists – 3

Steals – 3                             Blocks – 4

Analysis:

Hollins is obviously a poor offensive player, relying on his athleticism for most of his baskets. But he is a good defensive player who plays hard. The Cavaliers were almost ten points better per 100 defensive possessions when he was on the floor.  Even with his subpar offense, his defense made such a difference that they were a net 6 points better per 100 possessions on offense and defense when he was out there.

According to John Hollinger’s scouting report Hollins is a

  • Lean athletic big man who can run the floor and make spectacular dunks
  • Poor shooter with no post game. Can make short runners. Loses cool easily
  • Amazingly bad rebounder. Capable pick and roll defender. Lacks strength

Hollinger goes on to say that Hollins was outrebounded by every single player in the league except for Andrea Bargnani and Brian Cardinal.

He worked out all summer with Kevin Garnett and KG is a big fan of Hollins. KG talks about his work ethic and the way he approaches the game. Also apparently KG had a hard time making friends and Hollins seems to be there for him in that respect. “Summertime’s the time when you’re working on things, but for me, I don’t make a lot of friends, and I can say that I made one in him. I like the way the kid approaches the game. He wants to be more than good. You see it in his face; you see it in his work ethic. I’m a big fan of his, so I’m glad he’s here.” KG’s not the kind of guy who throws around praise about people he’s played against. I’m sure Danny Ainge factored that in when he was looking for big men to sign.

Hollins is an interesting player because he’s a high flying 7 footer who can’t rebound. He looks good running the floor, especially with Rondo running the point. He will definitely help the Celtics on the defensive end and give KG’s knees a break from banging in the post for 40 minutes every night. If he could develop some sort of offensive game or rebound a little more. He could be extremely useful to the Celtics. He sometimes needs to keep his head, he got a technical in the first two minutes of his time with the Celtics, but there nothing new for a team with Rondo and KG.

Not a bad move by the Celtics, personally I was really hoping for Fesenko, but Danny Ainge could do a hell of a lot worse.

Potential Big Men For the Celtics

After the season ending injuries to Chris Wilcox (heart) and Jermaine O’Neal (wrist), the Celtics are in desperate need for another big man. Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass have been playing well as of late, but the Celtics need to find depth for the two injury-prone big men. People were split whether or not Danny Ainge should have made a move for a player during the trade deadline, but I am personally happy that he didn’t. These players are on the Celtics radar for late season pick-ups before the deadline this Friday.

Josh Powell

C – 6’9” – 240 lbs. – 29 years old – North Carolina State

The well-travelled Powell has played for six teams in six seasons in the NBA, the last coming with the Hawks last season. John Hollinger says that he is an effective pick-and-pop forward much similar to Brandon Bass. On shots over 15 feet he shot 43% for the season. He is a good team defender who would fit well with the Celtics but can be overmatched in one-on-one situations. Powell had the second-worst turnover ratio for power forwards. He does not get steals or blocks as he ranks in the bottom five for both categories. He is not a bad rebounder and would definitely help the Celtics on the glass for the rest of the season.

Career Stats (per game)

GP GS

MIN

FG%

FT%

OR

DR

REB

AST

BLK

STL

TO

PTS

315 28

12.5

.439

.743

1.1

1.9

3.0

0.5

0.2

0.2

0.8

3.9

Powell is an inexpensive player who fits into the regular offense with his pick-and-pop ability. He also helps with the interior rebounding and the Celtics mantra of team defense. While his athleticism is not great, he will be able to get up and down the court with Rondo.

Ronny Turiaf

C – 6’10 – 245 lbs. – 29 years old – Gonzaga

It has been a tough season for Turiaf as he has only played four games due to a broken hand suffered on New Year’s Day. He was thrown into the Nuggets – Wizards trade to balance out the deal. He was then cut to make room Wilson Chandler who came back from China to resign with the Nuggets.

Turiaf is a high energy player who is a great defensive player and hustles all around the court. He like any other Celtics big man has injury problems and struggles with rebounding. He ranked 63rd out of 67 centers in rebound rate last season. He is extremely unselfish and is known as a one of the best big man passers in the game. While he does not shoot that often, he shoots around 40% from 10 feet or more. Defensively he is the polar opposite of Powell as he ranks high in both blocks and steals per minute but struggles with rebounding.

Career Stats (per game)

GP GS

MIN

FG%

FT%

OR

DR

REB

AST

BLK

STL

TO

PTS

362 89

17.9

.529

.680

1.1

2.7

3.8

2.7

1.4

.4

0.8

5.2

Turiaf would obviously be help for the Celtics as he would provide another body that can space the floor. His passing and intensity would help, but he seems a little too similar to the other players the Celtics have signed so far. He also wants a good contract and guaranteed playing time.

Ryan Hollins

C – 7’0” – 240 lbs. – 27 Years Old – UCLA

Hollins is the most interesting player on here. He would be great in the open floor with Rondo as he stands 7 feet tall and can jump out of a building. But as it is with every big man on the market, he is a terrible rebounder. His rebounding stats are worse every other frontcourt player other than Andrea Bargani and Brian Cardinal. Per 40 minutes played, he would only average 6.6 rebounds. Rondo standing a full foot shorter averages 5 per 40 minutes. He’s not too bad of a pick and roll man, and also he is an above average defender who can go out and hedge against pick and rolls with his athleticism.

Career Stats (per game)

GP GS

MIN

FG%

FT%

OR

DR

REB

AST

BLK

STL

TO

PTS

299 54

13.1

.554

.658

1

1.3

2.2

.4

.5

.2

.8

4.2

It would be an interesting signing and definitely fun to watch Hollins run up and down the floor with Rondo. But he would have to work on his rebounding. The Celtics get outrebounded almost every game; this would add another 7 footer who doesn’t like to rebound. I wouldn’t hate the move, but not going to be the difference for the C’s.

Kyrylo Fesenko

C – 7’1” – 280 lbs. – 25 Years Old              – No College

Honestly, I haven’t figured out why the Celtics haven’t made a move for Fesenko. I love everything about him as a backup center. He struggles with foul trouble and isn’t the greatest offensive player (or really average player for that matter), but he brings size and defense to the Celtics that hasn’t been seen since we sent Perk to Oklahoma City. John Hollinger says that Fesenko’s defensive stats were the best kept secret in the NBA. Last season, the Jazz were almost 12 points better per 100 possessions with Fesenko on the floor.

Career Stats (per game)

GP GS

MIN

FG%

FT%

OR

DR

REB

AST

BLK

STL

TO

PTS

132 7

8.3

.498

.398

.7

1.3

2

.3

.4

.1

.5

2.3

I would love for the Celtics to add Fesenko. Teams have been playing just the tip with him this whole season and almost signing him, but I would love for the Celtics to give him a shot. He’s not afraid to do the dirty work and right now, we need a guy who can just do that. KG needs a guy to back up his talk like Perk used to. I want Fesenko on the Celtics. Obviously his offensive game is horrible (see free throw percentage) but can he be much worse than Shaq was with no legs last season?

Other Possibilities

Boris Diaw – Overweight, great passer, who looks like he is going to sign with either the Spurs or the Dallas Mavericks. The Celtics aren’t a great fit as Diaw’s skill set doesn’t fit too much with their plans.

Chris Kaman – Everyone thought that Kaman would be bought out and heavily pursued by both the Heat and the Celtics. But Kaman is still on the Hornets and actually had 20 points with the game winning shot against the Nets. It’s looking more and more like he is going to stay with the Hornets for the remainder of the season.

In My Opinion

The best two moves for the Celtics would be to sign Turiaf and Fesenko. Hollins isn’t a bad fit either as he would get up and down the court with Rondo, but Turiaf and Fesenko are two defensive minded players who will set picks for Ray and Paul and bring some toughness back to the Celtics. The Celtics need to reestablish their identity and these two signings would be the beginning to bringing back the toughness to the Celtics.

Rondo or No Rondo?

20120306-095032.jpgEverywhere you go it’s Rondo this, Rondo that, but how could we ignore him after this past weekend? For weeks, rather all season long, there’s been talk and rumors of Danny looking to trade Rondo. With Rondo sidelined earlier in the season, the C’s rode their largest win streak of the season. The combination of his inconsistency and poor attitude, accompanied with an urge for team improvement were all pointing him in one direction…away from Boston.

Sunday, Rondo once again showed Danny and the rest of the city why he belongs in green. From day one, I’ve thought the idea of getting rid of our young, dynamic point guard was a mistake. With potentially the last run at the finals left for the Big Three, losing Rondo would leave us with nothing next season. Each time we doubt him he proves us wrong. After putting up Hall of Fame numbers against the Knicks Sunday is there really any argument left? Leibo made a good point yesterday in his article (Rondo vs. Williams). The NBA has seen ten triple-doubles this year. Four of them are from Rajon Rondo. I think it’s safe to say he’s staying in Boston. Either way, what do you guys think? Keep him or trade him in hopes of something better?