Archive for June, 2010

Thibodeau announced as Bulls coach

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
Tom Thibodeau officially became coach of the Bulls on Wednesday. (AP)

Tom Thibodeau officially became coach of the Bulls on Wednesday. (AP)

On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls announced Tom Thibodeau as their new head coach.

“I am very excited to be here and to join the Bulls organization. Chicago is a great city with great fans and a storied history,” Thibodeau said. “I would like to thank Jerry Reinsdorf and [general manager] Gar Forman for presenting me with such a terrific opportunity. We have a talented team with a good nucleus of players, and I am eager to get started.”

Thibodeau served as an assistant coach for the Celtics from 2007-10. He had been drawing interest for head coaching positions since helping lead the C’s to the 2008 championship as an assistant coach. The Celtics repeatedly have credited his emphasis on defense as a key to their success.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome Tom Thibodeau as our new head coach,” Forman said. “As I went through the process to search for the next head coach of the Chicago Bulls, the longer the process went it became apparent that Tom was a perfect fit for the Bulls. He is a great communicator and teacher of the game, and he fits our organizational philosophy from a defensive standpoint. With his experience and knowledge of the NBA, I am confident he will be a great leader for our team.”

The Celtics will look to replace Thibodeau on the sideline this summer.

The 19th pick in the NBA draft

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

nba-draft-logoOn Thursday, the Celtics will put the past behind them and look to the future with the NBA draft in New York City. The C’s are going to have plenty of gaps to fill, with the possibility of Rasheed Wallace retiring, the future of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in question, and other players, namely Nate Robinson and Tony Allen, becoming free agents.

The Celtics have one pick in the first round of this year’s draft, just beyond the halfway point, at 19. A pick at that number typically is not somebody a team can build around, but a pick that can be a role player or a deal-maker in trades. A role player would be just what the Celtics would need.

Looking over the past picks at No. 19, a few names stick out. There’s Hakim Warrick from 2005, Zach Randolph from 2001, Jamaal Magloire from 2000, Scot Pollard from 1997, Rod Strickland from 1988 and John Paxson in 1983. Boston has had the 19th pick twice in the past 15 years: 1993 (Acie Earl) and 1990 (Dee Brown). The Celtics also got 1996’s No. 19, Walter McCarty, a year after his rookie season. Back before the NBA-ABA merger, the 19th pick was in the second round, but there were significant picks, like Jerry Sloan in 1964 and the list’s lone Hall of Fame No. 19, Nate Archibald in 1970.

Here’s a list of the No. 19 picks in the past 25 NBA drafts.

2009 – Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
2009-present: 71 games, 228 points, 122 assists, 67 rebounds, 39.6% FG

2008 – Cleveland Cavaliers: J.J. Hickson, NC State
2008-present: 143 games, 934 points, 49 assists, 565 rebounds, 54.3% FG

2007 – Los Angeles Lakers: Javaris Crittenton, Georgia Tech
2007-2009: 113 games, 595 points, 201 assists, 276 rebounds, 44.2% FG (more…)

Celtics draft prospects

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

The revamping, or possibly the rebuilding, of the Celtics begins Thursday night with the NBA Draft. The C’s still have a number of unanswered questions heading into the offseason, but they do stand to select a player who can contribute next year.

This year’s draft is top-heavy with two sure things: John Wall and Evan Turner. After that the next five picks figure to be (in some order): Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins, Wesley Johnson, Greg Monroe and Al-Farouq Aminu.

That’s where the draft begins to take on an unexpected flavor. There doesn’t appear to be much separation among the next 20 or so prospects, which could lead to a wild night of trades if teams have zeroed in on a specific player.

If the Celtics stay at 19 they are likely to be looking at either NBA-ready wing players or developing big men. While not perfect, Danny Ainge has a strong track record of drafting both types of players. He hit on numerous second-round picks such as Ryan Gomes, Leon Powe and Glen Davis and he also drafted solid role players late in the first round in Delonte West and Tony Allen.

Ainge also tabbed Kendrick Perkins and Al Jefferson out of high school. The misses tended to be on projection players like Gerald Green.

His biggest hit was acquiring a first round pick from Phoenix to draft Rajon Rondo and there may also be the chance to draft a another point guard if either Avery Bradley or Eric Bledose falls to them.

This is an important draft for the Celtics. If they bring their core back for another run the draft can add some needed youth. If circumstances force them to adapt their plan, getting a player to grow with Rondo would be an important step.The 19th pick is no sure thing, see below, but based on the scouting reports and mock drafts they should be able to get someone who can be useful in whatever direction they wind up taking.

LAST FIVE PICKS AT 19

2009: Jeff Teague, Atlanta

2008: JJ Hickson, Cleveland

2007: Javaris Crittenton, Lakers

2006: Quincy Douby, Sacramento

2005: Hakim Warrick, Memphis

Here’s a look at some of the players that may be available: (more…)

NBA draft: What they’re saying about C’s pick

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
SOme prognosticators expect that Florida State center Solomon Alabi will end up patrolling the paint for the Celtics. (AP)

Some prognosticators predict that Florida State center Solomon Alabi will end up patrolling the paint for the Celtics. (AP)

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.

NBA finals a ratings bonanza

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

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.

Mannix on D&C: ‘I don’t see’ Ainge leaving for Phoenix

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

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. (more…)

NBA mock draft 2.0

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
Kentucky point guard John Wall is holding steady at No. 1. (AP)

Kentucky point guard John Wall is holding steady at No. 1. (AP)

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.

1. Washington

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.

2. Philadelphia

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. (more…)