|05.23.13 at 6:43 pm ET|
As the Celtics honored hundreds of middle school students for their perfect attendance at Thursday’s 22nd annual “Stay in School” celebration at Northeastern University, Jared Sullinger shared the lessons he’s learned since undergoing the surgery to repair a lumbar disk that ended his rookie season in February.
“In life, it’s kind of different,” said the recently turned 21-year-old power forward. “Teachers give you a lesson and then the test whereas in life you get the test and then the lesson. I’ve learned that through this situation right now. I’m getting a test of my patience, my discipline … so I’m just learning the lesson now.”
The lesson in patience should be completed by the end of the summer. By his calculations, Sullinger’s 50 percent and on target to return fully healthy before training camp.
“It’s a 10-week process,” said Sullinger. “Every two weeks, we’re going to bump it up 10 percent. By September or October, I’ll be 100 percent to go full. About two weeks ago, I met with the doctor. He said it’s a full go. Our medical staff — [strength and conditioning coach] Bryan Doo, [head trainer] Ed Lacerte — we’re just taking it slow. You don’t want to go right into the pounding, so every two weeks it’s just 10 percent bumping it up.”
Sullinger averaged 6.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 19.8 minutes a night over 45 games as a rookie, eventually earning high praise from his teammates for his basketball IQ and a starting role in late January. When he does finally play for the first time since aggravating the injury four minutes into a game against the Kings on Jan. 30, he’s been told the medical issue that’s plagued him since his Ohio State days will be gone.
“Everybody says back with a question mark,” said Sullinger, “but you might as well put an X through that, because I had surgery, I’m taking my time and getting back right. There won’t be a reoccurring injury.”
|05.20.13 at 9:38 am ET|
On Sunday afternoon, during a scheduled visit to see his son in Kent, Wash., Williams and the woman argued in the parking lot of her apartment building, where he exposed the gun and made verbal threats, she told police.
The first-year Celtics guard’s father Edgar Williams and mother Sherry Jackson both spent time in prison, and his father was murdered shortly after his release from jail on drug charges in 1993, according to The New York Times (h/t SI.com).
The C’s signed Williams out of the Chinese Basketball Association to a series of 10-day contracts in February, and then inked him for the remainder of the season in early March. The deal included a non-guaranteed salary for 2013-14, when Williams was expected to compete for backup point guard duties behind Rajon Rondo.
He averaged 7.1 points (49.5 FG%), 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 13.3 minutes over 24 games for the Celtics this season. He appeared in five of their six playoff games against the Knicks, averaging 1.0 point, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 9.6 playoff minutes a night.
When Sebastian Telfair was arrested on gun charges soon after the 2006-07 campaign, Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck disowned the former C’s guard — announcing the removal of his nameplate from his Waltham locker in an email to The Boston Globe — and the team included him in the deal for Kevin Garnett that summer.
That shouldn’t get your hopes up for a Kevin Love deal involving Terrence Williams.
|05.16.13 at 4:40 pm ET|
It’s been two weeks since Celtics coach Doc Rivers delivered his cryptic press conference after the Game 6 loss to the Knicks, when he hinted at the possibility of foregoing the remaining three years on his contract.
Meanwhile, Stephen A. Smith speculated Rivers could join Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in a trade to the Clippers — a notion C’s president Danny Ainge dismissed, assuring Celtics nation: “I think Doc will be coaching the Boston Celtics.”
On Thursday, it appears we can remove the “I think” from that statement. Rivers will be coaching the Boston Celtics, Ainge told The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
So, what does that mean for the 2013-14 edition?
For starters, the Celtics will have one of the game’s great coaches on their bench. Rivers is on USA Basketball’s short list for good reason. If Seattle were granted a franchise tomorrow and had its pick of the litter, Rivers, former assistant Tom Thibodeau and Gregg Popovich would likely be the top three choices to lead a team into the future.
Of course, the future is where things get complicated. Rivers suggested that he, Pierce and KG would discuss their plans together soon after the season, but it’s unclear if that meeting has taken place. At the very least, the coach’s return is a sign that both veterans could also be back, since the opposite would have been true had Rivers left.
|05.16.13 at 3:07 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, Doc Rivers will be returning to coach the Celtics next season. Rivers has three years remaining on his current contract, having inked a five-year contract extension in May, 2011. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge confirmed the news to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, saying, “We’ve got a coach everybody would love to have.”
|05.13.13 at 4:56 pm ET|
Celtics guard Avery Bradley made the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team — the first such honor of his three-year career. He received 10 first-place and five second-place votes from the NBA’s 30 head coaches, and his 25 total points trailed only Tony Allen (53) and Chris Paul (37) among the league’s guards.
Often dubbed the best on-ball defender in the NBA, Bradley’s 0.73 points allowed per possession ranked 16th in the league, according to Synergy Sports. More importantly, the Celtics allowed 102.1 points per 100 possessions — ranking 14th in the league before Bradley’s Jan. 2 debut — and then posted the NBA’s fifth-best defensive rating (99.4 points per 100 possessions) in the 51 games after his return.
“I want to shut down everybody every single night,” Bradley said after limiting Warriors scoring sensation Stephen Curry back in March. “If you notice, every game I play the same way. Every single game on the defensive end. That’s just my mindset. That’s how I play. That’s how I always play my whole life.”
Forwards LeBron James and Serge Ibaka as well as centers Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah joined the backourt duo of Allen and Paul on the NBA All-Defensive First Team. Strangely, NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol made the Second Team alongside Bradley, Tim Duncan, Paul George and Mike Conley.
Kevin Garnett didn’t capture a single vote. This marks only the second time since 1999 he didn’t make either the NBA All-Defensive First or Second Team — and the first time in that span he didn’t receive a vote.
|05.10.13 at 10:27 am ET|
If next season’s Celtics team does not start Kevin Garnett at power forward, prepare for a long, dark stretch. Without KG patrolling the middle in green and white, feel free to reintroduce yourself to the lottery, long losing streaks and the empty promise of rebuilding.
While you miss the scowls, intensity and blocked shots after the whistle, remember that the decline of the Celtics is more complex than the team simply aging. The major problem is the Celtics actually ask Garnett to do more now than they did during the NBA finals run in 2010. Despite his age (37 on May 19) and contract (2 years, $24.3 million), Garnett still is a premier power forward and a critical piece for a team chasing a championship.
“Back in Minnesota, Kevin used to say, ‘I want to live beyond my contract,’ ” new Timberwolves president (and former coach) Flip Saunders told WEEI.com. “That meant whatever he was getting paid, whenever someone would see him in a game or in a practice, he wanted to live up to that contract and then play beyond that.”
Garnett has done exactly that in his six seasons in Boston. His playoff averages (35 minutes, 12.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, his highest playoff average since 2004) against the Knicks also demonstrated that quality basketball remains afloat in his veins. Surrounded by the right players, Garnett still can help Boston contend for a championship. After watching Garnett for 18 seasons, Kevin McHale — who drafted Garnett in Minnesota with the No. 5 pick in 1995 — still is amazed by his former student. Garnett was the first player in 20 years to go directly to the NBA from high school, and McHale recently reminisced about Garnett’s rookie training camp in Minnesota, when the 19-year-old was only a couple of months removed from his senior prom.
“I loved the kid the first day of practice,” McHale said. “He laid on the floor after his first training camp — laying on the ground with nothing left — and I said, ‘We’ve got to go again tonight.’ He went, ‘Huh?’ I said we did two-a-days, and he was like, ‘Oh my.’
“But that night he came and he laid it on the ground, played on the line, laying on the ground, playing on the line. At the end, he was laying on the ground, and I said to him, ‘Now we do two again tomorrow.’ He looked up at me and said, ‘Man, this is going to be a job.’ He hasn’t changed since then, he’s just got better.
“His ability to compete at a high level for such a long time, his love of the game, his competitive nature,” marveled McHale, “it really is fun to watch.”
Competing at a high level for an extended period of time in the National Basketball Association takes a rare talent. It is a skill that is difficult, but far from impossible. The highest standard of excellence has been set by the Spurs, a team with an aging superstar in soon-to-be-Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan. Far from the best of friends, Garnett and the 37-year-old Duncan share very similar basketball philosophies, a fact not lost on Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
“They can look in the mirror and realize they’re both the same in so many respects as far as how they run their lives in the NBA and how they’ve run their careers,” Popovich said during his last trip to Boston. “They’re both competitive as hell, they both understand the game, they both love being on the court, and neither one of them is really that excited about the hoopla that is all around it, but they’ve also endured by taking care of their bodies and what they do in the summertime to take care of their bodies.”
|05.09.13 at 5:04 pm ET|
On his final weekly appearance on Salk & Holley of the 2012-13 NBA season, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge called the recent Stephen A. Smith rumors “silly,” indicated Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett will return next season, reaffirmed Rajon Rondo should be back for training camp and called Paul Pierce‘s future the first tough decision of his summer.
On Pierce: “There’s a lot that will go into it, but it hasn’t even started yet. We have until June 30 to make any decision. Listen, Paul’s been one of the greatest Celtics of all-time, and that will play a part in it. We love what he’s done for us, but ultimately we have to do what we think is the best for us from this point forward. And I think that Paul still has a lot of basketball left in him.”
On Rivers: “”Doc is always unsure. Coaching is very, very draining. Every year with Doc, he’s had to go home and sort of recharge and ask himself that question, ‘Is this something that I’m passionate about and want to continue doing?’ I understand that. And we sort of give him time to unwind and relax, and after a couple of 92′s on the golf course, he usually comes back.
“I think Doc will be coaching the Boston Celtics.”
On Garnett: “I’ll touch base with KG probably some time next week. He puts so much into the game. He invests as much as any player I’ve ever seen. He just needs time to chill and contemplate his life, and then we’ll talk at some future time, but I do anticipate that KG will play. Just like I did last year, I feel the same this year. I don’t know for sure, but we’ll know more in the next couple weeks.”
On Rondo: “So far, he looks good. Him and [Leandro] Barbosa have both been rehabbing and both have looked good from their ACL [injuries]. From everything our medical staff has told us, Rondo is doing great, and he should be ready by training camp.”
The Barbosa mention seemed strange, considering the C’s dealt him to the Wizards in the Jordan Crawford deal. Ainge said not to read too much into the veteran rehabbing in Boston (but still …). Here are more highlights from the fantastic interview by Salk & Holley — a must listen for anyone looking for a summer Celtics primer: