Archive for May, 2011

Columnists: Less Kendrick Perkins is a good thing?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

While many Celtics fans wished Danny Ainge could hit the rewind button on the trade deadline and get more playoff minutes out of Kendrick Perkins, at least two NBA columnists have urged Thunder head coach Scott Brooks to do the exact opposite and give the former C’s center less playing time.

Mavericks center Tyson Chandler is averaging 8.7 points on 60 percent shooting and 12.0 rebounds in 33 minutes a night, leading Dallas to a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference finals. Meanwhile, Perkins has produced just 5.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in 27 minutes a game.

Here’s Oklahoman columnist Darnell Mayberry’s take on the lopsided matchup:

In Perkins’ 82 minutes of playing time, the Thunder has been outscored by 32 points. With Perk on the bench, the Thunder has outscored the Mavs by 23. Furthermore, with Chandler on the court, Perkins’ plus/minus per 36 minutes is minus-17.7, according to NBA.com’s StatsCube data.

Perkins has the worst plus/minus of any Thunder player in this series.

By comparison, the Mavs have outscored the Thunder by 19 points with Chandler on the court. And Chandler has made his impact mostly against Perkins, compiling a per 36-minute plus/minus of plus-17.7 with Perkins on the court and a minus-15.8 with Perkins on the bench.

And here’s ESPN.com columnist and stats guru John Hollinger’s breakdown:

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Report: Red Claws target Bruce Pearl for head coaching job

Friday, May 20th, 2011

According to a report by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Maine Red Claws have contacted former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl about their head coaching job. The Red Claws have been affiliated with the Celtics and Bobcats since their debut in the NBA’s D-League in 2009.

Austin Ainge, the son of the Celtics president, coached the Red Claws for the last two seasons and recently joined the Celtics front office as director of player personnel. The Red Claws are run by former Celtics assistant coach Jon Jennings and have enjoyed two sellout seasons in Portland.

Pearl was fired after six mostly successful seasons at Tennessee after lying to NCAA investigators during an inquiry into major violations at the school.

Kevin McHale talks to Slam

Friday, May 20th, 2011

In an interview with Slam’s Tzvi Twersky, former Celtic great Kevin McHale looked back on his career and how he learned so many ingenious post moves. McHale was an undersized high schooler in Hibbing, Minn., who developed all kinds of up and under moves simply so he could survive against bigger players.

“I grew from 5-11 as a sophomore to 6-7, 6-8, maybe close to 6-9, by the end of my senior year of high school, and I grew to be 6-10 and a quarter,” McHale said. “But I never knew that [was going to happen]. When I first became a basketball junkie, I was just a small, little skinny dude and then I became a real tall, skinny dude.”

There’s great stuff in this interview about playing with Larry Bird, taking on the role of the sixth man and the rivalry with the Lakers. This quote about playing with a broken foot seems especially poignant, considering the way the current Celtics have battled injuries late in their careers.

“I don’€™t know. I say now in hindsight I wouldn’€™t do it again, but if I was out there and we had the chance to win a championship, I’€™d probably do it again. I mean, how often do you get a chance to go down that road? It’€™s the finals; how often do you get the chance to do that? It’€™s one of those things where the mature side of me now that I’€™m older says I wouldn’€™t do it. But you put me back at 27, 28, and say you have a chance to win another championship? I’€™d say, Let’€™s tape it up; let’€™s go.”

There’s more great stuff in the interview.

Celtics made Doc Rivers highest-paid NBA coach

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Following the retirement of Phil Jackson, formerly the only eight-figure earner among coaches in the four major sports, Doc Rivers has become the highest paid coach in the NBA, according  to Forbes Magazine.

After making $5.5 million this past season, Rivers will now make an average of $7 million over the next five seasons after signing a $35 million extension. He surpassed Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, who both make $6 million per season.

Interestingly, the magazine credits the jumps by Rick Pitino from the University of Kentucky to the Celtics and John Calipari from UMass to the Nets “as the catalysts driving NBA coaching salaries to a new level.”

Meanwhile, the Celtics may have to hire a new assistant coach, as Lawrence Frank is a candidate for the opening head coaching positions for the Warriors and Rockets, although Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey appears to be the favorite in Houston, according to CBS Sports.

As a side note, Forbes determined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick‘s annual estimated salary of $7.5 million is the highest paycheck for any coach in the four major sports.

An early look at potential Celtics draft prospects

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Now that the lottery order has been set, the offseason focus turns to the NBA Draft held on June 23 in New York. Perhaps because of the uncertainty of the new collective bargaining agreement, this year’s draft is marked by who’s not in it as much as who made themselves available.

North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Baylor’s Perry Jones were all expected to be lottery picks and all three decided to stay in school diluting what was already considered a draft class devoid of franchise-changing talent. Consider that the likely top pick Kyrie Irving played exactly 11 college basketball games because of a foot injury.

After Irving, Arizona forward Derrick Williams looks like a ready-made NBA player, if not a star, and then there are a number of talented foreign players, along with points guards Brandon Knight from Kentucky and UConn’s Kemba Walker that will likely make up the bulk of the top 10.

The Celtics have the 25th pick, which doesn’t promise to provide much immediate help. Still, team president Danny Ainge has had an enviable track record of unearthing talent late in the draft including:

2003: Kendrick Perkins via Memphis with the 27th pick.

2004: Delonte West (24) and Tony Allen (25).

2005: Ryan Gomes (50).

2006: Rajon Rondo (21), Leon Powe (49).

2007: Glen Davis (35).

2008: Bill Walker (47), Semih Erden (60).

Like all NBA decision-makers, Ainge has missed on a few — Gerald Green in 2005 and J.R. Giddens over DeAndre Jordan in 2008 — and last year’s top pick Avery Bradley has yet to make his mark. But the name of the game at this stage in the draft is finding players talented enough to become pieces of a rotation and Ainge has delivered on far more picks than he’s missed.

The Celtics are in desperate needs of assets to aid the inevitable rebuilding process that will likely take place after the 2012 season. If Ainge can find a player who can contribute this season that would be a coup for a team with only five players under contract heading into the offseason.

The pre-draft camp in Chicago, which began on Wednesday will help untangle some of the first round clutter, but here’s an early look at some of the players who may be available with the 25th pick based on mock drafts from Draft Express, SI.com and ESPN (Insider).

GUARDS

Reggie Jackson, Boston College: Jackson looks like he made a wise decision to enter the draft after a breakout junior year for the Eagles. He may not be a true point guard, but he can score and he shot over 42 percent from 3-point range. Jackson looks like the kind of player who can step in and immediately compete for playing time.

Jimmer Fredette, BYU: Everyone knows about Jimmer at this point and there will be a loud and lengthy debate about whether his package of scoring skills will translate at the NBA level. He’s not likely to be there when the Celtics pick, but Ainge will have to be temped to take his fellow Cougar if he is.

Josh Selby, Kansas: The talented, and also troubled, Selby went from being one of the nation’s top recruits to a suspension and injury-filled freshman season. Selby shot less than 40 percent from the floor and had almost as many turnovers as assists. He’s the kind of player Ainge has taken chances on before, and he’s likely to be available at the end of the first round.

Travis Leslie, Georgia: Draft Express calls Leslie arguably the best athlete in college basketball and has him going to the Celtics in their recent mock. At 6-foot-4, Leslie is a bit of a tweener without a great 3-point shot. But in the right setting he could be an effective part of a rotation.

FORWARDS

Kyle Singler, Duke: One of the few known commodities if only because he played four years at Duke. Singler has decent size at 6-foot-8, but isn’t considered an exceptional athlete. He’s a decent scorer and rebounder, but doesn’t stand out in either area. Singler is a solid, experienced player with limited upside, which is why he would be around late in the first round.

Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA: The easy comparison is Tayshaun Prince because of his thin 6-foot-8 frame. Prince was also drafted late in the first round, but he was a far more accomplished college player than Honeycutt who doesn’t have a defined offensive game. The tools are there for him to become a defensive specialist and at 20 years old, he has time to add to his game.

Davis Bertans, Latvia: He’s 6-foot-10, 18 years old and can shoot the lights out. He’s described as a project who may not be ready to come to the NBA just yet, but a talented project.

Tobias Harris, Tennessee: Harris is one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft and doesn’t figure to be around with his mock status ranging from the end of the lottery to the early 20′s. He had a strong freshman season amid in-season turbulence with the rest of the Tennessee program. The 6-foot-8 Harris is already a good scorer with room to improve.

Justin Harper, Richmond: At 6-foot-10, 225 pounds, Harper is one of the best long-range shooting big men in the draft. He averaged 18 points a game and shot almost 45 percent from 3-point range in his senior season for the Spiders capping a college career that saw steady improvement. The Celtics put a premium on big men who can shoot and Harper definitely fits the criteria.

CENTER

Jordan Williams, Maryland: The comparison has been made to a young Kendrick Perkins because Williams is primarily a post player who has struggled with his conditioning at an early age. Both SI and ESPN have the Celtics taking Williams in their mocks, while Draft Express has him as a mid second-rounder. He made a significant jump in his sophomore season, averaging almost 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Note: Draft Express, considered the best online source for NBA draft news, has extensive scouting reports and statistics and is well worth exploring.

Report: Rockets interview Lawrence Frank again

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Just a year after losing defensive-minded assistant coach Tom Thibodeau and watching him take the Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics and head coach Doc Rivers might be posting the position on the NBA’s “Help Wanted” list for a second straight season.

Thibodeau’s replacement, Lawrence Frank, went through a second round of interviews with the Rockets on Monday for the head coaching position left vacant in Houston by Rick Adelman, according to Houston’s local FOX affiliate. He is reportedly one of three finalists for the job, along with Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey and Celtics Hall of Famer Kevin McHale.

This past season, Frank did an admirable job as Rivers’ assistant coach, leading the Celtics to a No. 1 ranking in points allowed (91.1) and No. 2 ranking in defensive rating (100.3 points per 100 possessions). Under Thibodeau in 2009-10, the C’s ranked fifth in both points allowed (95.6) and defensive rating (103.8).

Last serving as a head coach in 2009, Frank totaled a 225-241 record (.483 winning percentage) with the Nets for six-plus seasons.

Kevin Garnett: Celtics didn’t reach their potential

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Kevin Garnett was the only member of the Celtics‘ Big Four not to address the media following the team’s meltdown in a Game 5 loss to the Heat that effectively ended the 2010-11 NBA season in Boston last week. Now, five days later, Garnett addressed the C’s demise in his Anta blog. Here’s the entry …

As you know, we were knocked out of the playoffs by Miami. It’s unfortunate that we are out and in my mind didn’t reach our potential. Taking the last couple of days to think about things and the season was long. Their were ups and downs all season and dealing with teammates, leaving teammates, gaining teammates. Long hours, flights, practices, workouts, etc. Another season under my belt, but not satisfying. I’ll be getting back to the “lab” (workouts and court work) to work on my craft, so I can keep improving. I will be working on my skills and constantly trying to get better.

Quick shout out to my man [Shaquille O'Neal], who is the best.  He worked hard all season, but couldn’t get his Achilles right.

Amazing to think that I was playing with so many potential HOF (Hall of Famers). I will remember these times, on and off the court.  This will be a memorable season!!!

Thank you all so much for your constant support and encouragement throughout the season. Hanging in with us through the ups and downs of the season. Your support gets me through and pushes me to be better. I will be back in China some time in July or August, so stay tuned. I met so many of you all last summer that it will be exciting to meet more.

Keep reaching higher and thanks to all my supporters.

my 2011 season is officially over.

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