Archive for May, 2011

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Duke F Kyle Singler

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).

Kyle Singler

Position: Forward

School: Duke

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 228 pounds

Stats: 16.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg

What he brings: Singler had a distinguished four-year career at Duke and has experience at the highest levels of the college game. That’s a double-edged sword in the modern era of the draft where potential has a great currency than production. He’s also 23 years old, which is ancient for a prospect.

Singler has a reputation as a shooter, but his 3-point shooting also fell dramatically this season down to 32 percent. He’s not much of an inside player so he’ll have to be able to knock down jumpers. There are also questions about his athleticism and who he will guard in the NBA, but he’s a smart player and a good passer. In the right system and with the right team, he could become a solid role player. It’s difficult to project him being more than that as a pro.

Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round.

What they’re saying: “Kyle Singler is rock solid. He’€™s got the Duke pedigree. He plays with a Shane Battier enthusiasm. He came back to school for all four years. Let’€™s not punish him for that and then have all these discussions about guys coming out too early. This kid came back to school, left his imprint on that school, had a wonderful experience and now he’€™s ready for NBA life. He has limitations physically. But if you’€™re a good team drafting late in the first round, you slot him right in.” — ESPNU analyst Tom Penn.

Notes: Singler is a great trick-shot artist (see video below). The YouTube clip, “Kyle Gets Buckets” has over 800,000 page views.

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Keeping an eye on Dwight Howard

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

No one knows what free agency in the NBA will look like next summer, but if Magic center Dwight Howard terminates his contract after next season he will instantly become the next big prize. Unlike the summer of 2010 when LeBron James and friends were set to hit the open market, the uncertainty over a new labor agreement clouds everything at the moment.

Howard could be joined in free agency by players like Chris Paul and Deron Williams, but Howard is the main attraction for obvious reasons. He’s the most dominant center in the league by far, he’s never been seriously injured and he’ll be just 27 years old at 2012 and still in his prime.

As it stands the Celtics could be big players in free agency after next season (again, depending on the new salary cap rules) with under $30 million in salaries currently on the books to three players — Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley. That number will rise obviously but the Celtics are positioned to be active players in 2012.

Howard has the power to alter the dynamic if he chooses to sign an extension with the Magic that is reportedly on the table. He hosted a free barbecue in Orlando over the weekend and told the Orlando Sentinel that he wants to stay.

“I want to start my own path and I want people to follow my path and not just follow somebody else’s path,” he said. “I want to have my own path, and I want to start that here in Orlando.”

He also dropped Shaquille O’Neals name, which as SI.com’s Zach Lowe pointed out, is probably not an accident. Lowe writes:

“Howard must know that invoking Shaq’€™s name is a big, big thing in Orlando. It transforms what would otherwise be the latest in a series of benign pseudo-commitments to Orlando into a memorable, loaded quote in which Howard distances himself from the player who defined the franchise before him. Howard will never be able to avoid this quote if he leaves.”

An Orlando television station reported that Howard was close to signing a two-year extension with the team, but there has been no further corroboration on anyone’s part.

This has already begun to turn into a drama much like the ones that enveloped James in his last season in Cleveland or like the one that surrounded Carmelo Anthony in Denver. Howard’s case is somewhere in the middle. While James played coy with everyone last season, Anthony forced the Nuggets’ hand by refusing to sign an extension. As long as the possibility of signing an extension exists, the Magic will wait on Howard.

Instant Irish Coffee: Big Baby blogs

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Following an atrocious performance for the Celtics in the conference semifinals against the Heat, free agent Glen Davis is refocusing on two things that made him so successful to start the 2010-11 season — working out and eating right — as well as one new hobby: blogging.

Here’s a bit from Big Baby, who took some time out from eating chicken burgers, pasta and kale with strength and conditioning coach Kevin Kearns to blog at iambigbaby.com:

I am very excited to start working out again, set some summer goals and really get ready for next season. It is all about a balanced lifestyle, putting time in at the gym and eating right. I have a great team around me and as you will see my main man, my trainer, is already trying to one up me in the first edition!

While Davis may have a great team of trainers around him, he doesn’t have a basketball team to play with quite yet. The Celtics have said they will offer Davis a contract but won’t match an offer from another team that exceeds his value to the Celtics.

Of course, as is always the case, the blog isn’t always entirely accurate (it is the Internet after all). In his second entry, two weeks ago, he was under the impression that the Celtics had gotten a No. 2 seed in the NBA Playoffs. Perhaps that’s why he seemed so confused in Miami.

IMPORTANT NBA COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT DATES

If you’re at all interested in the possibility of an NBA lockout, Ken Berger‘s piece over the weekend is a must read. He highlights a few important dates in the negotiations and compares the NBA’s predicament to the current NFL fiasco. Here’s an important note:

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Boston College guard Reggie Jackson

Monday, May 30th, 2011

WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).

Reggie Jackson

Position: Guard

School: Boston College

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 208 pounds

Stats: 18.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.5 apg

What he brings: Local hoop fans already know all about Jackson, who had a standout junior year, averaging 18 points and enjoying a huge upturn in his 3-point shooting from 29 percent as a sophomore to 42 percent as a junior. Jackson isn’t a pure point guard but he is a guard in the traditional sense. Perhaps most intriguing about Jackson is his wingspan, which has been measured at 7 feet. That length, combined with his athletic ability and on-court savvy could make for a destructive defensive-minded guard with scoring ability. In a best-case scenario Jackson has the skills to help a team this year.

There are questions about Jackson’s ability to duplicate his long-distance shooting and he falls into the tweener category — maybe not a point guard, too small for the 2-guard. That has him in the range of low lottery to mid-20s like a handful of players in this draft.

Where the Celtics could get him: First round.

What they’re saying: “The amazing thing for Reggie has been his IQ for the game. I think he has a great feel for the game.” ‘€” Boston College coach Steve Donahue

Notes: Jackson came into the draft combine with a decent buzz, but he didn’t participate in the combine citing an injury. That has dropped him a few pegs in various mock drafts and in the Celtics range.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Kansas G Josh Selby

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).

Josh Selby

Position: Guard

School: Kansas

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 195 pounds

Stats: 7.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.2 apg

What he brings: Selby arrived at Kansas with a reputation as a dynamic high-scoring guard who is better at creating off the dribble than shooting from the outside. However, his one year of college basketball told a different story from his high school career, when he was one of the nation’s most sought-after recruits.

After sitting out the first nine games because of an eligibility issue with the NCAA, Selby made his debut in December and scored 21 and 18 points in successive games against USC and Cal. But he injured his foot in February and was never able to make much of an impact after he returned. He’s also a classic tweener as he’s small for a shooting guard and hasn’t displayed many point guard skills.

Selby shot reasonably well from 3-point range (36 percent) but didn’t stand out in any one particular area. If not for the minimum age requirements, Selby would have entered the draft out of high school and been a first round draft pick last season, but after one year of college he’s on the first-round bubble.

Where the Celtics could get him: First round

What they’re saying: “It did not play out real great for Josh, but it wasn’t because he wasn’t good enough or didn’t try hard enough or didn’t fit in. It was because of health. After he got hurt, he could have just put it in park and not played. But he wanted to play even though he wasn’t 100 percent.” ‘€” Kansas coach Bill Self

Notes: Selby has been a controversial figure in basketball circles for years even though he just turned 20 in March. Two stories worth reading: This piece from the New York Times from his senior year of high school and this more recent one from the Kansas City Star offer some insight.

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Wyc Grousbeck on D&C: ‘I want Miami to lose so badly’

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning during a charity benefit for the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

After the Celtics lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Grousbeck was asked if he is still watching the playoffs. “I am watching this year because I want Miami to lose so badly,” he said, adding “I’m rooting hard against the Heat.”

Grousbeck said he will be rooting for the Mavericks the rest of the way because of his relationship with Mavs owner Mark Cuban. Said Grousbeck: “I love the guy. … He’s just a good guy. He genuinely roots for us against other teams. He is a Celtics fan when he’s not a Mavs fan. And we’re going to return the favor.”

Grousbeck did give the Heat credit. “I thought they outplayed us in the series,” he said. “They had more juice. They had more pop. I can’t really deny that. I would have loved to take that Monday night game in Boston and make it 2-2 and see what happened. I think we might have won the thing. But I don’€™t really regret with like a huge missed chance. I’m just annoyed we didn’t beat them.”

When asked about the trade of Kendrick Perkins, Grousbeck said he felt Perkins was not the difference in losing to the Heat. “I love Perk, but I don’€™t think our issue was guarding their 5 spot,” he said. “Our issue was guarding their 2, 3 and 4. So, not only did we need Jeff Green, we needed about three more of him.”

Grousbeck played down the chemistry factor. “We had gotten that far in the season without Perk. He hadn’t played essentially the entire season,” Grousbeck said. “So, we were starting the games with [Shaquille O’Neal] and finishing the games with [Glen Davis]. And that would have continued in the playoffs if Perk was there. So, Perk wouldn’t have been starting if Shaq had been healthy.

“Where the plan fell short is Shaq not being able to come back; we thought he could.”

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NBA mock draft: Celtics eye next Jordan?

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

With only four teams still competing in the postseason, the majority of fans are counting down the days until June 23 and the NBA draft. This year’€™s class is not expected to be strong, but there is a slew of European talent, a handful of hit or miss ‘€œproject’€ players and more Morrises than you can shake a stick at.

Duke freshman Kyrie Irving appears to be the consensus No. 1 pick despite playing just 11 games for the Blue Devils. Arizona’€™s Derrick Williams likely will be taken second, but by whom? Timberwolves general manager David Kahn is expected to shop that selection.

Kentucky’€™s Enes Kanter measures at a monstrous 6-foot-11, 261 pounds. However, he has yet to play in the United States as the NCAA declared him permanently ineligible, citing benefits from his Turkish Basketball League team.

Who will take the risk and select BYU sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette? Who will be Sacramento’€™s potential last first-round pick? Who will the Celtics select? All that and more in our first NBA mock draft.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving, Duke, Fr., PG, 6-2, 180

The Cavs finally won something. It’€™s a shame there are no players of LeBron James‘€™ caliber in this draft class. Irving has arguably the highest ceiling talent-wise, and he fits Cleveland’€™s needs for speed and ball-handling much better than the only other reasonable candidate, Derrick Williams.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves

Derrick Williams, Arizona, So., SF/PF, 6-9, 241

An athletic high-flier, Williams is more than just a powerful dunker. He has great basket awareness and finishes at the rim as well as anyone in this class. The T-Wolves frontcourt is already packed with Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Darko Milicic. However, Williams is simply too good to pass up at the No. 2 spot whether it’s by the Wolves or a trade partner.

3. Utah Jazz

Brandon Knight, Kentucky, Fr., PG/SG, 6-3, 185

With Deron Williams shipped off to New Jersey and Irving off the board, Knight is the obvious selection. A well-rounded offensive player, Knight is able to get to the rim at will, knock down mid-range jumpers, and extend his range beyond the arc. He’€™s a capable rebounder and creative passer, whose st0ck rose with his performance in the NCAA tournament. The Jazz have a veteran point guard with a similar skill set in Devin Harris for Knight to learn under.

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