|02.25.09 at 8:54 am ET|
“I don’t feel I’m totally ready. The NBA and college are two totally different games. The NBA is just pick-and-roll, and if the pick-and-roll’s not there, throw it to Hakeem and he scores. How hard can that be? It’s just physical strength. Being ready means adjusting to being around older players. Right now I don’t have anything in common with those guys.”
It is hard to imagine those sentiments were once expressed by Stephon Marbury.
Before the accounts of banishment, betrayal, and buyouts, there was a different story being told of the teenage phenom. In January of 1996, Sports Illustrated printed the article, “Caught In The Middle.” At the center was a basketball wiz from Brooklyn who tried to find a sense of normalcy in a downtown Atlanta barber shop. The story offers a look back at a young Georgia Tech point guard who drove a Suzuki 4×4, senselessly blew games, and grappled with the high expectations of success.
The NBA does not make lottery picks of floor leaders whose teams lose to Mount St. Mary’s at home. With Tech up a point and a minute and a half to play, Marbury threw away a blind wraparound pass. “We don’t need to be forcing it in a close game like that,” says Drew Barry, Marbury’s fifth-year senior backcourt mate. “Stephon’s a great talent. He’s going to be a great player. But right now he has a lot to learn.”
With Barry and forwards Michael Maddox and Matt Harpring, Yellow Jacket coach Bobby Cremins has the nucleus of a pretty good team, and he wants to let Marbury, who was averaging 19.3 points and 4.4 assists at week’s end, grow naturally into the role of leading it. “Why is he not there yet?” Cremins says. “He’s stubborn. And there’s the pressure to perform. The expectations are ridiculous. All this pressure. All this hype. It really pisses me off. He’s had his mind on other things.”
Thirteen years after the Sports Illustrated article was published, WEEI.com has reported Marbury is expected to sign with the world champion Boston Celtics. At this point in his career, one can only hope the only thing on his mind is winning.
|02.24.09 at 7:31 pm ET|
On Tuesday the Boston Celtics signed free agent big man Mikki Moore. In just a matter of days since being waived by the Sacramento Kings, he had become one of the hottest players on the market. But it wasn’t that long ago that Moore was known for being a journeyman rather than a contributor on a championship-defending team. So who is Mikki Moore?
Full name: Clinton Renard Moore
Born: November 4, 1975
Hometown: Orangeburg, South Carolina
High School: Blacksburg HS, Blacksburg, SC
(Fast Fact: Celtics guard Ray Allen attended Hillcrest HS in Dalzell, SC. Moore and Allen are two of six players currently in the NBA to attend high school in that state.)
College: University of Nebraska (1997)
What’s in a name? The nickname Mikki (pronounced “Mikey”) was given to Moore as a kid because he liked to eat Life cereal. He also goes by “Snake” for his love of reptiles.
(Fast fact: Former Celtic James Posey goes by the nickname “Mike” to his friends and family)
He looks familiar: Moore signed a 10-day contract with the Celtics in 2003. He picked up six fouls in three games, but never scored a basket.
League leader: In 2007, Moore led the league in field goal percentage (.609). The following season he led the league in personal fouls (310).
(Fast fact: Former Celtics center Robert Parish was called for 310 fouls in the 1981 season. He only ranked 10th in the NBA.)
Lucky # 7: Moore will be the first player to wear number seven since Al Jefferson. Tom Gugliotta wore it prior to Big Al in 2005.
Lending a helping hand: Moore’s goal is to touch every community he plays in. He founded the Moore Love Foundation in his home state of South Carolina and bussed 600 children to a Charlotte Bobcats game. As a member of the Detroit Pistons, Moore helped knock down and rebuild homes in drug-infested neighborhoods. He also distributed Thanksgiving turkeys with the Utah Jazz, among other initiatives.
Moore’s Road (Back) to Boston
- June, 1997: Undrafted in NBA Draft
- September 30, 1997: Signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Timberwolves
- October 28, 1997: Waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves
- 1998-99: Played nine games for Papagou of the Greek League
- 1998-99: Played remainder of the season for the Fort Wayne Fury of the Continental Basketball Association
- January 21, 1999: Signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Timberwolves
- January 27, 1999: Waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves
- January 29, 1999: Signed as a free agent by the Detroit Pistons
- February 18, 1999: Waived by the Detroit Pistons
- October 5, 1999: Signed as a free agent by the Detroit Pistons
- August 5, 2002: Waived by the Detroit Pistons
- October 3, 2002: Signed as a free agent by the San Antonio Spurs
- October 24, 2002: Waived by the San Antonio Spurs
- 2002-03, 2003-04: Played for the Roanoke Dazzle of the NBA Development League
- January 6, 2003: Signed by the Boston Celtics to a 10-day contract
- April 14, 2003: Signed by the Atlanta Hawks for the remainder of the season
- September 27, 2003: Signed as a free agent by the Seattle SuperSonics
- October 21, 2003: Waived by the Seattle SuperSonics
- December 22, 2003: Signed as a free agent by the New Jersey Nets
- January 7, 2004: Waived by the New Jersey Nets
- January 28, 2004: Signed by the Utah Jazz to the first of two consecutive 10-day contracts
- March 4, 2004: Signed by the Utah Jazz for the remainder of the season
- August 20, 2004: Signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Clippers
- August 31, 2005: Signed as a free agent by the Seattle SuperSonics
- July 7, 2006: Traded by the Seattle SuperSonics to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2009 NBA Draft
- July 13, 2007: Signed as a free agent by the Sacramento Kings
- February 19, 2009: Waived by Sacramento Kings
- February 24, 2009: Signed as a free agent by the Boston Celtics
|02.23.09 at 4:05 pm ET|
WEEI.com has confirmed, through a league source, the Boston Herald‘s report that free agent Mikki Moore is expected to sign with the Boston Celtics once he clears waivers on Tuesday morning. Moore was placed on waivers by the Sacramento Kings last Thursday. According to the Herald, Celtics President Danny Ainge has denied making a formal offer. However their source insisted Moore will pick the Celtics.
|02.22.09 at 6:57 pm ET|
Shaquille O’Neal was supposed to be a problem for the Boston Celtics. He was supposed to push around their little big men and have the Celtics counting down the days until Kevin Garnett returned from his knee injury. But it was one of the smallest guys on the court who caused the biggest problems. Led by Rajon Rondo, the Celtics backcourt dominated the Phoenix Suns. (RECAP HERE)
32 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 13-18 FG, 1-1 3PG, 5-9 FT, 3 STL
On his 23rd birthday, Rondo made 35-year-old Steve Nash look about ten years older. The Suns had no way of stopping Rondo, not even O’Neal’s presence made a difference — Rondo scored however and from wherever he pleased. The absence of Garnett creates more opportunities for him to take his jumpshot, and judging by his shot chart, there is little need to question whether or not he has developed one.
31 points, 4 rebounds, 10-15 FG, 4-8 3PG, 7-8 FT
It’s no secret that Allen can’t be left alone on the arc. On Sunday he couldn’t be left alone, period. Allen spread the Suns defense with a balanced attack of long and mid-range shots. Allen was on his mark, hitting 10 field goals and scoring 30 points for the first time since January 11 against the Toronto Raptors. He also set a new franchise record with 72 consecutive free throws made, passing Larry Bird’s previous mark of 71.
26 points, 6 rebounds, 8-17 FG, 10-10 FT
The Celtics couldn’t score 128 points without Pierce making an impact. Pierce struggled in the first half (1-8 FG), so when his shot didn’t fall he got to the line (6-6 FT). Then he turned it on in the second half to score 18 points in 22 minutes. The captain played a team-high 44 minutes and by the end of the game had gone to the line 10 times. The Celtics improved to 12-3 when Pierce attempts at least 10 free throws.
The Celtics will travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets on Monday night.
|02.21.09 at 1:48 am ET|
According to Marc Spears of the Boston Globe, Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge has said Kevin Garnett will miss 2-3 weeks with a posterior muscle strain of the right knee. Garnett left the court hobbling during Thursday’s loss to the Utah Jazz. Ainge told the Globe, “Rest and ice for KG.”
|02.20.09 at 3:12 pm ET|
It turns out Patrick O’Bryant wasn’t ready to play. Not for the Boston Celtics, at least.
“I feel like I’m pretty ready,” he said prior to the All-Star Break. “I never feel like I’m not ready, I don’t want to get down on myself. But I feel like I’m ready. In Doc’s eyes I might not be, so I’ve just got to take his advice and keep pushing forward.”
The Celtics echoed head coach Doc Rivers’ opinion when they traded O’Bryant to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday as part of a three-team deal with the Sacramento Kings.
In spite of being a big man on a team in need of length, O’Bryant averaged just 4.2 minutes in 26 games this season (less playing time than everyone on the Celtics except for Sam Cassell and J.R. Giddens). Last summer an informed source questioned if O’Bryant would be able to shake his two-guard mentality in a seven-foot frame. His defensive abilities continued to be a cause for concern.
“He’s been stressing Celtics D,” O’Bryant said of Rivers. “It’s different than any other team’s expectations. They’re a championship team and you’ve got to be able to play at a championship level.”
O’Bryant was looking forward to growing as a shot blocker and rebounder in the second half of the season. He was eager to back up Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins off the bench. Now he can try to do the same for Chris Bosh.
|02.20.09 at 1:14 pm ET|
When the Boston Celtics face the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, Kevin Garnett will not be the only big man out of the game. Suns power forward Amar’e Stoudemire underwent successful eye surgery today and could miss eight weeks, according to multiple reports. Stoudemire suffered a partially detached retina in Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. ESPN has reported Garnett will return to Boston today for an MRI after straining his right knee during Thursday’s loss to the Utah Jazz.
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