Selfish

The “cool” thing to do the past couple of seasons has been to take pay cuts in order to build a team that can contend. LeBron did, Bosh did (even though he does not deserve what he makes now), Wade did it, Garnett did it, and Tim Duncan did it. Even Dirk offered to do it, but no one wants to take him up on it. Kobe Bryant’s salary next season is going to be worth a total of $30.45 million and he won’t take a cut. He said the following to Lakers Nation:

I’m not taking any at all — that’s the negotiation that you have to have.For me to sit here and say, ‘Oh yeah, I’m just going to take a huge pay cut. Nah, I’m going to try to get as much as I possibly can.”

I mean, how much money does this guy need? He already has to be one of the richest around, and he’s about to play for a team that is too scared to rebuild and that will fight to make a playoff spot since Howard bolted. This guy is selfish and deserves every single loss that is coming to him. Lakers suck, so does Kobe.

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Rondo Streaking

It seems as though Rajon Rondo has set an NBA record for most consecutive games with 11+ assists at 28 games. Everyone thought that he failed to do it after he tied the record last week, when he only got 10 assists in the stat book. However, today, the league statisticians went back and looked at the tape and saw that he assisted Brandon Bass in the 3rd quarter of that game, but the assist was given to Terry.  So its official, Rondo solely owns that record.

It seemed to end again on Monday night against the Bulls. But wait, once again it seems as though he had an assist that the scorers are looking into now. If they award it to him, he will have an active 29 game streak going.

Most people could care less about that record. He is on pace for another record, if he can keep up the solid play and I don’t jinx him. He is 3rd all-time with a 31-game streak of double digit assists. He is behind John Stockton (37 games), and Magic Johnson (46 games), probably the two best point guards of all time. The Celtics play tonight against the Jazz. Go C’s!

On a side note: Fab Melo and Kris Joseph have been assigned to the D-League with the Maine Red Claws, just as Danny Ainge anticipated.

Throwback Thursday – Celtics 2008

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With this year’s Celtics (full) season only a few days away, why not relive the magic season that was 2007-08. Nothing better than sending Lebron home in the conference series and beating the Lakers at the Garden en route to … Continue reading

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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Can the Celtics Win Again?

The Celtics have been my favorite sports team since I can remember. Yes, the B’s, Pat’s, and Sox are obviously right up there, too. But I have always seen the Green and White above all. I love their history, from Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, to the original big 3 (Bird, Parish, Mchale), to the new big 3 and everything in between. That being said, I do not remember the last time that I was this excited for the Celtics season to start. With the Pat’s barely sneaking by, the NHL in a lockout, and the Sox not playing last season (I’m pretending that’s what happened), I cannot wait.

In my opinion, this is the most talented team that we have had since the Bird era. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that we are as deep as the Russell team (Pictured Below) that had 9 future Hall of Famers on their roster in the 1962-63 season. Needless-to-say, they won a championship that season. That was their 5th in a row, eventually setting the record with 8 in a row. But we are solid. Continue reading

A New NBA Legend?

Guess whose drawing comparisons to top 50, hall of fame basketball player James Worthy? If you guessed Paul Pierce or Rajon Rondo, then you are wrong. The answer is Jeff Green. OK, so the nickname was said by Brian Scalabrine on Comcast SportsNet, but still, those are big shoes to fill. Green said on twitter: “I’ve got a message for Scal: You have to ask the great James Worthy if I’m able to have that nickname of James Worthy, because that’s a top 50, one of the greatest players to ever play this game, and for me to be called that, it’s an honor, but you have to ask his permission. So Tweet it, call him, email, whatever you need to do, because I don’t want to be called that without his permission.”

James Worthy is a 7 time all-star, 3 time NBA Champion, and former #1 draft pick. He also was an NCAA Champion at UNC in 1982. Big Game James averaged 17.6 PPG and 5.1 RPG over 12 seasons. He played his whole career for the Lakers during the Magic Johnson era. It is great that Scal wants to compare Green to a Laker great, but I think he needs a few championships first. Also, it is going to be tough to be compared to the great Worth because Green is not slated to start for the C’s this season. He started while he was in Oklahoma City, and was great, but his role is a little bit different with the Celtics.

Should championships always be a factor in determining great players’ legacies? Forget about the Jeff Green-James Worthy comparison for a minute. Kevin Love is one of the best players in the game today, and he will probably never win a championship, unless he is traded, which is unlikely. Charles Barkley never won a ring either.

Are the Celts Better Than 2008?

Although it is impossible to predict the NBA season already, I think it is safe to say that the team that Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers assembled this summer could be the best one that we have seen in at least 4 years, maybe even longer. Sure, we lost the best shooter the game has ever seen and KG and Pierce are that much older, but we brought in the perfect kind of players to fit into our system. Pierce averaged roughly the same PPG last season (19.4) as the year we won it in 2008 (19.6). Garnett’s numbers are significantly different and he is not feared by every player breaking through the lane anymore, but he is still a leader on this veteran team.

In 2008, Leon Powe  and James Posey were arguably our best bench players, both averaging about 7.5 PPG. I am willing to bet that Jeff Green, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee will all average above 10, or close to it. And with their amount of energy, experience, and Lee’s outstanding defense, they will be one of the most feared guard groups in the league, especially once Bradley is back.

There is one other major difference between the then-and-now teams, and that is Rajon Rondo. He averaged 10.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, and 4.2 RPG in the 07-08 Season.  Last year, he averaged 11.9 PPG, 11.7 APG, and 4.8 RPG. He has also developed into one of the best point guards in the league and a leader on a team that is mostly older than he.

Chris Wilcox is a solid bench player who was having a great season before getting injured. Jared Sullinger will play right away, and Brandon Bass will pick up right where he left off last season (12.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG). Not to mention Christmas, Joseph, Fab, Collins, and Smith who have all had great summer sessions and are prepared to fight for the last few spots. Plus we signed Darko Milicic who is 7’1. For those of you who don’t know him, he was selected #2 in the 2003 draft behind LeBron but ahead of Melo, Bosh, and Wade. Talk about a great pick up by the Pistons…

Although we have clearly re-fueled our roster, other teams have also gotten better. The Heat are obviously the team to beat, the Lakers had a huge summer trading for Howard and picking up Nash, and the Thunder are one year more experienced. The Spurs are always good and our division just got tougher with the new Brooklyn Nets. For anyone who thinks the Knicks are finally going to be good are mistaken. It should be an interesting season, as long as we can stay healthy for a change.

Shaq Weighs In

It is impossible to not be compared to Shaq if you are Dwight Howard.  First off you took his nickname “Superman”, and now you’re trying to leave Orlando for a bigger market team.  Sure, Howard is the best center in a league that has seen the center position go with the wind.  Who does he really have to compete with? Jermaine O’neal, Andrew Bynum?  He has averaged 18.7 points in his career.  Shaq averaged 23.7 and most of his lows were when he was injured or like a hundred years old.  He also went against Olajuwan, Ewing, Mutombo, Robinson, & Mourning.

Howard will surely be a hall of famer, there’s no doubt about that, he is a great player.  It is scary for the Orlando Magic to have to try to start from scratch if Howard does leave.  He has given his agent permission to discuss deals with the Nets, Lakers, and the Mavs.  I can understand why the Magic’s owner said he wouldn’t want to trade his franchise player, but why not get something for him?  I know it  is tough because he will most likely not sign an extension with any sub-par team, but at the very least you can get a fill in and get some draft picks.

Even Shaq has said that it would be a ‘travesty’ to lose Dwight, and they don’t really like each other.  He thinks Orlando should try their best to entice him to stay by offering him the max contract, and bringing in players around him.  Jameer Nelson & Reddick cannot win you championships as your #2 in this league, it’s too tough now.  Plus, Orlando can offer him the biggest deal due to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.  If he goes to a new team, he will not be able to make as much until his contract is re-negotiated down the road.  I wouldn’t want to play for your Oompa Loompa coach either, but at least you are they key player on a playoff-contending team, with the assets to bring in even more help.

J.R. Smith: The Key to the NBA Season?

The biggest move that will happen before the March 15th trade deadline, barring any unforeseen major deal, will be the signing of J.R. Smith. Since his team has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, Smith will be an NBA free agent on February 16th. J.R. Smith has averaged 12.5 points per game over the course of his career as he has developed into a top 6th man in the league.  Smith has been a member of the Denver Nuggets for the past few years, and when it looked like the NBA season would be cancelled Smith went over to China to play for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls. Chinese contracts have non-opt out clauses, so Smith was forced to play out the remainder of the season before he could return to the NBA.

Smith’s highlights from China are extremely impressive. He put up some ridiculous numbers in a few games (although against some less than stellar opponents, but nonetheless impressive). Playing against former Celtics draft pick Lester Hudson, Smith came off the bench to score 60 points while shooting 14-18 from 3. Just a few days later Smith would score 41 points as his team sneaked out a 122-120 win.

 

Most Likely Destinations

New York Knicks

Current SG’s: Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert

Ability to offer: Mid-Level Exception, pro-rated on Feb 10th

Analysis: The Knicks are in the lead mostly because they can offer him the most money. Instead of any of the other competing teams, the mid-level exception from the Knicks has been pro-rated since February 10th, not the start of the season. But the question that follows anyone who ever plays Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire is will there be enough shots? If they found a way to share the ball a starting lineup of Jeremy Lin, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler would look as good as any other in the NBA.  But there were enough problems for the Knicks finding shots for everyone before the emergence of Lin. It might not be in Smith’s or the Knicks best interest to agree on an offer here. While the Knicks are one of the top choices with huge potential, I think it would be too big of a risk for Smith to take.

Los Angeles Clippers

Current SG’s Randy Foye, Caron Butler

Ability to Offer: Veteran Minimum Contract, pro-rated from beginning of season

In my mind, this move makes the most sense. Smith can slide right in to the starting shooting guard role, which fits with his desire for a bigger role. Smith would be the perfect complement to space the floor for high-flyers Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan. He has a tight relationship with Chris Paul from their time on the Hornets and has played with Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin (Nuggets). The Clippers have only one other true shooting guard right now. If J.R. came to the Clippers he would make them immediate title contenders. If the Clippers do strike out with Smith, they are presumed to use one of their trade exemptions to find a shooting guard to fill their problem.

Just for Fun

Boston Celtics

Current SG’s Ray Allen, Sasha Pavlovic, Marquis Daniels

Ability to Offer: Veteran Minimum Contract, pro-rated from beginning of season

This is obviously a long shot, probably fantasy for me, but would be a great fit for the Celtics. They cannot offer him a starting role or a warm weather climate. But they can offer him a chance at a championship and a future starting role with the Celts young players such as Rondo, Jujuan Johnson, Avery Bradley, and Jeff Green. This would allow the Celtics to stay competitive past the years of the Big 3. He would provide a scoring punch off the bench, a unit which does not have a dynamic scorer. He would be able to ease the legs of Pierce and Allen so they could save themselves for the playoffs. With a bench of Avery Bradley, Smith, Pietrus, Johnson, and Wilcox, the Celtics bench all of a sudden becomes a strength and not a weakness. The best part about this move would be that Sasha Pavlovic would probably not see the court in important minutes ever again.

Surprise Teams

The Pacers and the Timberwolves are also said to be interested, according to Marc Stein from ESPN. The Pacers have the most cap room in the NBA, which would allow them to sign him to an even bigger contract than the Knicks. The Timberwolves have been the surprise of the NBA this season with new players such as Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, and of course their All-Star Kevin Love.  The Lakers are the final team that is interested in J.R. Smith. I do not consider themselves as much of a contender but they could prove me wrong. While they are trying to make moves, getting a player to back up Kobe Bryant who needs the ball in his hands most of the time does not make the most sense to me. They are also working out Gilbert Arenas, who has been described as “slimmed down” and “explosive” by Dave McMenamin.

Check Out Some of My Older Posts

How Not to Treat a Legend

Top Five Moments of Truth

A Familiar Sight

It’s great for me to watch the Lakers falling apart at the seams.  Sure, the Celtics have been criticized of being in the same boat, but you can be assured that it has nothing to do with the players that are under Doc Rivers’ watch.  Metta World Peace, formerly Ron Artest, is causing quite a panic in the locker room for the LA Lakers.  He is shooting and scoring career lows, and is wondering why he is getting less playing time.  Are you serious? It’s cause you suck and you have the worst name known to man.

Three Laker players who wanted to remain anonymous stated their displeasure with him already.  They all seem to agree that without him there, they would be a much better team.  I mean, he is even dissing his new coach Mike Brown.  Give it a few weeks and he may be punching fans in the face again like he did when he was with the Pacers.  I love to watch the Lakers lose, but I hate to see anyone put up with a player like him.

Now for a classic Ron Artest Clip.  Below is a video of him pantsing Paul Pierce during a game while he was with the Pacers.  Classic.