|07.12.09 at 11:00 pm ET|
LAS VEGAS — Hasheem Thabeet knows he has a lot to learn about the NBA. But be patient. The big man from UConn is working on it.
Thabeet made his summer league debut with the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday in Las Vegas. He admits there were challenges — like the 24-second shot clock and three-second violations — that he was not used to.
‘I’ve just got to go out there and try to get better playing on this level,’ he said following the Grizzlies’ 86-57 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. ‘It’s really hard for me to adjust from college level and this level. I thought I was ready, but I just figured out I have a lot of stuff to work on.’
Thabeet scored nine points and grabbed two rebounds in 20 minutes. He was called for four personal fouls. Last season he averaged 13.6 points and 10.8 at UConn.
The Grizzlies had just five practices together before their first Summer League game. Gelling with his new teammates was made easier by the presence of Brookline native Jeff Adrien, whom Thabeet played with at UConn.
‘I’m learning. I’m learning. Every day I go over there I’m trying to get something out of it. Again, five practices since I was drafted by the team. We came out here today, we played hard, we played together,’ he said, adding, ‘That’s what I work on all the time in the gym, I work on my offense. I never really work on my defense. I go in the weight room and I work out there and then play ball.’
The Grizzlies coaching staff and Thabeet are on the same page as he prepares for his first season. They want the 7-foot-3 center to become more aggressive.
‘Just be the force,’ he said. ‘I always go out there and play my hardest to do what I can to help my team. Today was one of those days, my first game, I would go out there and shoot and when the game kept going, I kept getting comfortable and comfortable. I just want to get better. Every day I go out there, I want to be a better player.’
This fall, Thabeet will become the first person from Tanzania to play in the NBA.
‘To me it’s a blessing,’ he said. ‘I’ve been dreaming about this since I left Tanzania, one day I’d go do something for the whole nation. To be in this position, it’s a blessing.’
Sunday wasn’t Thabeet’s best performance. Stay tuned, though, because he has a lot more to prove.
‘I came along way and I’m going to keep working hard to get there,’ he said. ‘For me to get to this position, it took me a lot. Seven years ago I didn’t play basketball at all. Today I’m in this place, I worked hard to get to this position. To me, it’s not the end. It’s the beginning of a new career. I just want to go out there and play ball.’
|07.10.09 at 1:44 pm ET|
|07.10.09 at 8:56 am ET|
A source close to the situation has told WEEI.com Grant Hill is leaning toward re-signing with the Phoenix Suns. The 36-year-old forward has been a free agent prospect for the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, among other teams, this summer. The Celtics have been eyeing Hill as a potential back up for Paul Pierce, a major hole in last season’s bench.
According to the source, Hill’s concern with coming to Boston is the decreased role, not the money. He has spent most of his 14-year career as a starter and averaged nearly 30 minutes with the Suns last season. (He has never averaged less than 29 minutes per game.) The Celtics do not have anywhere close to that to offer with the starting lineup playing the majority of minutes and the recent signing of Rasheed Wallace.
Although they have expressed their interest to Hill, the Celtics know they are not the only team in the picture. “I don’t even allow myself to go there, optimistic or pessimistic,” Danny Ainge said on Thursday at Wallace’s introductory press conference. “He knows our desire for him. We know his interest in us.”
Hill averaged 12.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists last season while shooting 52.3% from the field. He has also averaged 16.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 22 playoff games.
Update: Yahoo! Sports has reported Hill has decided to re-sign with the Suns.
|07.09.09 at 10:16 pm ET|
WALTHAM – From the ’18’ on the backboard shot clock above the dais to the ’20:10′ on the clock with the number ’30’ on scoreboard, the Celtics practice facility was decked out on Thursday for the arrival of Rasheed Wallace.
It was arguably the most significant press conference held at Healthpoint, as the Big Three introductory presser of July 2007 was at the Garden.
Eight people were on the dais at that presser as opposed to the to six on Thursday.
Once all the parties sat down, they shared their thoughts on the newest member of the Celtics after he agreed to a three-year deal.
Here’s some of the highlights, in audio form.
|07.09.09 at 9:45 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The Grant Hill update? There is no Grant Hill update. When asked if he was ‘optimistic’ about signing him, Ainge said, ‘I don’t even allow myself to go there. Optimistic or pessimistic. He knows our desire for him. We know his interest in us.’
Garnett proclaimed himself ‘feeling great’ but wouldn’t put a timeline on his return to the court.
‘Rehab’s going really well at this point,’ he said. ‘I’m continuing to heal and get stronger. To be honest, I’ve been in a pretty decent place mentally.’
When pressed on a date, Garnett simply said, ‘I’m on schedule to be on schedule.’
|07.09.09 at 9:35 pm ET|
By Greg Cameron
The newest Celtic has a lengthy history with each of the Celtics‘ Big Three, but the bond is visibly strongest between Wallace and Garnett. The former believes that their journey as friends began on a warm June night in Toronto, some 14 years ago.
“I would have to say it goes all the way back to draft night,” Wallace said. “Going up against him while he was in Minnesota and I was in Portland, it was a battle. It was really the mutual respect.”
That night, Wallace was selected fourth overall that night by the Washington Bullets. Garnett was taken with the next selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It was visible on the dais, that all involved in the acquisition of Wallace believe the partnership between player and team will pay off with big dividends. Like Wallace, Garnett could do little to hide his excitement Thursday at the Celtics’ training facility in Waltham.
“I’m overly excited,” Garnett said. “This isn’t just a key addition to our team, but a major one. We’re like teenagers up here. It feels like AAU basketball all over again.”
“It’s a whole new world, a whole new day,” Wallace said of the new chapter. “I can’t wait to get to training camp and get things going.”
A visible as the excitement was on the faces of both men, both players show a great deal of passion and intensity out on floor. But who is the most fiery of the two of them?
“I would have to say I am,” Wallace said with a wry smile. “He [Garnett] can control his emotions. I don’t think you can match the intensity that either one of us brings to the floor.”
Garnett has a much more succinct explanation of the demeanor both players have on the court.
“That’s called passion,” Garnett emphatically stated.
Garnett’s road to Thursday’s press conference was far more direct than that Wallace — he has played in just two NBA cities, whereas Wallace has cris-crossed the American landscape four times before landing this week in the Hub.
Now, close to a decade and a half later, the former rivals, current teammates, and long-time friends see themselves at the same junction, some 14 years after waiting together in an NBA Draft green room in Ontario. The journey for both men is far from over, and both men hope their joining of forces will lead them to a second title.
|07.09.09 at 8:58 pm ET|
Pierce couldn’t help but think back two summers ago when coming off a 24-win season, the Celtics went out and acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, leading to a 66-win, NBA Championship campaign 11 months later.
Pierce was up on the dais with Allen and Garnett and had similar thoughts dancing through his head.
“It started two years with Ray and Kevin and I just think with getting Rasheed, it just gives you an extra boost of energy,” Pierce said. “Even the last few weeks, it’s hard for me to stay out of the gym. I’ve been coming in, working out, picking up the ball here and there. Just making sure that I’m ready for the upcoming season because I’m excited with the moves that we made.” Read the rest of this entry »
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