|06.22.10 at 1:53 pm ET|
If we didn’t know what needs the Celtics had to fill in the NBA draft before the playoffs, we sure do now. A disappointing loss in Game 7 of the NBA finals gave us more than heartbreak, it also gave us an idea of what Boston could target on Thursday night when the nation gets introduced to the next wave of young talent.
Two needs seem to stand out. One is a big man who can provide rebounding and toughness in the paint. With an aging Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace, this is something the Celtics had to address in the offseason regardless. However, after the news of Wallace considering retirement and Kendrick Perkins suffering a severe knee injury, it’s even more necessary.
The second need, in some part due to the possibility of Ray Allen not returning, is a scoring shooting guard or small forward. Even with all the weapons Boston had this season, it struggled at times on offense, especially with the second unit. Retooling the bench with another scorer or replacing Allen, whether he leaves or not, is at the top of the list.
Looking around the web, there is a wide variety of opinions on whom the Celtics could select at No. 19 in the first round. The general theme though, is that Boston is going to pick either a big man or scorer. Florida State center Solomon Alabi is a player many prognosticators have pegged to be taken by Boston.
My NBA Draft and Hoops World predict Alabi will be slotted at No. 19 to give the Celtics the length they’re looking for. Alabi has excellent size and potential but is very raw on the offensive end of the floor. Defensively, he’ll be a presence in the post as witnessed by his 2.3 blocks per game as a sophomore. In terms of rebounding, which Boston will look for, Alabi pulled down a lackluster 6.2 boards and needs to improve in that area. Hoops Hype also has the Celtics selecting Alabi, whom they compare to the Grizzlies‘ Hasheem Thabeet.
NBADraft.net and Drafttek both have Boston grabbing Oklahoma State star James Anderson. The shooting guard has good size and a strong frame, making him an offensive threat from nearly every area on the court. Anderson’s shooting range translates well to the next level and he’s incredibly effective in catch-and-fire situations. NBADraft.net compares him to former Magic player Nick Anderson and current Heat sniper Daequan Cook.
Another shooting guard that could be taken by Boston is South Florida product Dominique Jones, whom Yahoo! Sports and Draftology predict at No. 19. Jones was a big-time scorer as a junior when he averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 free throw attempts per game. He’ll bring instant offense and has the ability to go on big scoring runs, making him an intriguing pick for the Celtics.
At Sports Illustrated, Ian Thomsen’s version 2.0 mock draft has Boston going after Washington senior Quincy Pondexter. The 6-6 small forward is projected by most other sites as going late in the first round or early in the second.
The Hoop Doctors have Butler standout Gordon Hayward going to the Celtics. The 6-8 small forward led his team to the national championship and made a name for himself with strong performances throughout the tournament.
Fanhouse expects Boston to select the second Georgia Tech big man in the draft in Gani Lawal. Playing alongside start freshman Derrick Favors, the 6-9 power forward naturally saw his numbers decrease but still exhibited good defense and effective rebounding.
|06.22.10 at 1:10 pm ET|
According to numbers released Tuesday by the Nielson Co., Game 7 of the NBA finals drew an audience of 28.2 million people, ranking it as the most-watched basketball game since Michael Jordan’s last championship-clinching win in 1998.
Not including the Olympics, Thursday’s game between the Celtics and Lakers was the most-watched show on network TV since the finale of the first “Survivor” season in August 2000.
|06.22.10 at 10:20 am ET|
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to talk about the Celtics and all things NBA. He touched on the possibility of Doc Rivers leaving the Celtics, the NBA draft, and coaching changes around the association.
‘I’ve talked to a few coaching friends of Doc in the last 72 hours, and every one of them, the consensus is that he’s probably going to walk away,’ Mannix said. ‘For all the reasons that he enumerated, there’s nothing remotely surprising about it. They feel like it’s time, they feel like it makes sense. He’s taken the team or the team has gone as a current group as far as they possibly can go and now is a great situation to leave.’
Mannix also spoke about what it will take to re-sign Ray Allen and bring him back for next season.
Below are highlights from the conversation. Visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page to hear the interview.
On Doc Rivers:
I’ve talked to a few coaching friends of Doc in the last 72 hours, and every one of them, the consensus is that he’s probably going to walk away. For all the reasons that he enumerated, there’s nothing remotely surprising about it. They feel like it’s time, they feel like it makes sense. He’s taken the team or the team has gone as a current group as far as they possibly can go and now is a great situation to leave. Nothing that’s new as far as I was being told, but the tug of the family in Florida and wanting to watch his kids grow up have really weighed on Doc a lot more this year than they have in years past. So the consensus is around the league that he’s going to walk away.
On Danny Ainge leaving:
That’s an interesting thing that’s not being talked about a lot, that the Phoenix Suns now have an opening in their general manager position and Danny has very strong ties to Phoenix, having coached there, played there, I believe he still has a home there in the offseason. He just has a very strong connection there. It’s possible that [owner] Robert Sarver could come in with some kind of sweetheart deal and try to entice Danny there. For obviously, with the same reasons we’re talking about Doc, this thing may have played itself out for Danny. He won a championship, he brought them to two NBA finals, he accomplished a lot with this Celtics team. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.22.10 at 6:48 am ET|
On Thursday night, the next batch of young talent enters the NBA in the 2010 draft. The consensus No. 1 pick by the Wizards remains John Wall, and Evan Turner is most likely to be selected second by the 76ers. However, since our last mock, there have been players who have seen their stock rising.
Two of those players are Luke Babbitt from Nevada and Paul George from Fresno State. Babbitt’s offensive prowess and shooting ability have teams considering him in the second half of the lottery. George’s athleticism and and NBA body make him one of the best small forwards in this draft, tempting teams to give him another look.
Also, an international player makes his first appearance in our mock at pick No 21. Power forward Kevin Seraphin from France is a raw talent with a lot of potential, something that teams have reached for in past drafts when evaluating players from overseas.
While Seraphin makes his way into our first round, another international player in Donatas Motiejunas is left off after deciding to withdraw from the draft. Unlike many of the previous drafts, this one doesn’t boast exceptional international talent. Excluding the first few picks, it also seems like one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent memory.
John Wall, Kentucky, Fr., PG, 6-foot-4, 196 pounds
Wall is the no-brainer No. 1 pick in this draft. Possessing incredible quickness and athleticism that allows him to drive by defenders in a Rajon Rondo-like fashion, he will give Washington a true point guard to play alongside Gilbert Arenas.
Evan Turner, Ohio State, Jr., SG, 6-7, 214
Turner was the best player in college basketball this past season and is far from just a consolation prize after Wall. With the ability to play three positions with his size, Turner is a versatile scorer who can create his own shot at any time. Think Brandon Roy with the ability to fill up a stat sheet. Though Philadelphia could use a frontcourt player, this is a case of taking the best player on the board ‘ and a really good one at that. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.21.10 at 5:03 pm ET|
Local officials expected around two million supporters to line the two-mile route, and thousands had already filed in by the morning. The police were out en masse to hopefully quell any exuberant celebration that may have erupted in a similar fashion to the violence that occurred the night the Lakers won Game 7.
The Lakers themselves rode on a flatbed float and talked to the crowd through a microphone. However, unlike past years, there wasn’t a rally of any sort following the parade, meaning there would be no moments like Pat Riley’s guarantee or Mark Madsen’s dance at this year’s festivities.
The team announced a few days prior that it would pay the entire cost of the nearly $2 million parade.
Before it even started, there was already a little bit of controversy, though. Earlier in the day, many along the parade route had complained about a lack of portable toilets. There was more controversy as it was reported that marijuana lollipops, which are legal in the state of California, were being sold to parade watchers.
|06.21.10 at 1:51 pm ET|
Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to discuss not only his future as coach of the Celtics but also his reaction to Game 7 of the NBA finals. Said Rivers: ‘It’s uncomfortable to talk about [this coaching situation] and its uncomfortable where you go where people want to talk about it, so that’s probably why I want to make the decision sooner than later.’
Following is a transcript. To listen to the entire interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Did any [members of your family] put the question to you yesterday: Why don’t you stick around for a year or two?
We didn’t talk about it all, really. We’ve on even brought it up once since the season has been over. It is still very difficult to get though Game 7, let alone talk about your future, if you want to be honest.
You could look us in the eye, if we were face to face, and say you haven’t made a decision yet?
Yeah, I could. I could do that and could do it honestly. I am not going to say which way I am leaning ‘ and I am one way ‘ but I could look you in the eye and say that I have not made a decision. We have only had a small conversation, and we are going to do that in the next week or so. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.21.10 at 11:12 am ET|
Rivers said he has not decided whether or not he will return to the Celtics next season. “I’m not going to say which way I’m leaning ‘ and I am one way ‘ but I could look you in the eye and tell you I haven’t decided,” he said.
Rivers said he did not discuss the matter with his family during Father’s Day Sunday. “We didn’t talk about it at all, really,” he said. “It’s still very difficult to get through Game 7, let alone talk about your future, to be honest.”
Rivers said the players have been encouraging him to return, which makes him feel great but embarrassed to be in the spotlight. That type of support is the main reason why he would consider returning. Said Rivers, “The only reason you stay is your love for the guys you coach … knowing that if you do leave, you’re not going to get that back.”
Rasheed Wallace, like Rivers, is considering leaving the game. Rivers said he expects we’ve seen the last of the controversial center. “I think you have,” he said. “It’s so emotional right after the game. But Rasheed told me before [Game 7]. He told me the the night before. He walked up to me and said, ‘Hey, listen, I’m going to give you everything I’ve got. I really believe this is my last game that I’m going to play.’ And he said this year was very difficult for him physically. He never felt like ‘ even the conditioning part of it hurt. He said he doesn’t think he wants to go through that again, and he wants to watch his kids. I do think it’s the last time we’ll see him in a Celtics uniform.”
Rivers said he’s watched some video of the fourth quarter of Game 7. “I’ve looked at some of it but I couldn’t watch it [all],” he said. “It’s still very difficult.”
The coach said one thing he might have done differently is to get Rondo some rest at the start of the fourth. “I think I should have given Rondo another blow,” Rivers said. “I thought he was tired. I thought he played that way in the fourth. And that was a tough one, because he was starting to play well at the end of the third, so it was tough to pull him out.”
Rivers also said he wished the team would have attacked the post more, although he noted that some post plays were called, and Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace both were tiring. “You could just feel that we were running out of gas,” he said.
Rivers also said the referees’ more frequent whistles down the stretch were an adjustment the Celtics did not handle well. “The whole fourth quarter, it was called tighter,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that after watching [the video]. That hurt us a lot. … It was just a free throw line parade. That’s the one line you can’t defend.”
Rivers also credited Ron Artest as the key to the Lakers’ comeback. “We didn’t defend him the way we should have defended him,” he said. “I thought Ron Artest was the difference in that game.”
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