Archive for July, 2011

Talking Hoops, Episode 8: Locked out with Tom Ziller

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

In the latest episode of Talking Hoops,’s Paul Flannery is joined by SB Nation NBA editor Tom Ziller to talk about the lockout, the Celtics new TV deal, competitive balance and the impact of Yao Ming.

Ziller also provides an update on the Sacramento Kings situation and makes a list of all the things he’s looking forward to next season — if there is a “next season,” of course.

Listen to Talking Hoops here.

What can Celtics expect from JaJuan Johnson?

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

If, like me, your first thought after the Celtics drafted JaJuan Johnson was, “Well, at least they got someone who could contribute right away,” then think again.

The C’s picked the 6-foot-10, 220-pound four-year collegiate power forward with the No. 25 pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft. In the five previous drafts, ever since the NBA banned high school players from joining the league until age 19 or one year after the graduation of their high school class, exactly 30 four-year college players have been drafted in the first round.

  • Of those 30 players, seven were either power forwards or centers like Johnson.
  • Of those seven players, four lasted past the lottery.
  • Of those four players, three played more than 10 games.
  • Of those three players, two averaged more than three points as rookies.
  • Of those two players, one measured under 7 feet, 2 inches tall: Trevor Booker.

It could be better (Roy Hibbert) or worse (DeMarre Carroll) than the 6-foot-7, 240-pound Booker, the No. 23 pick by the Wizards (via the Timberwolves) in 2010. To get an idea of what the Celtics should expect from their first-round pick if and when the 2011-12 season begins — and beyond — here’s how the seven other four-year collegiate big men have fared since 2006 …


Celtics’ 2011-12 schedule released

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Despite being in the midst of a lockout with no end in sight, the league released its schedule for the 2011-12 season. Assuming there is a season, these are some of the highlights of the Celtics‘ schedule.

As they have for the last three seasons, the Celtics will be part of the annual Christmas Day marathon with a noon date at Madison Square Garden to take on the Knicks. The Celtics have been in Orlando the last two seasons. They will have a prime time game at home against Oklahoma City on Martin Luther King Day, another showcase day for the league.

The Celtics make only one trip to Miami on Nov. 16 and then host a pair of games with them on Dec. 1 and April 1. They host the Lakers on Feb. 9 on a TNT Thursday night game and visit Los Angeles for a 3:30 Sunday game on March 11. They open the season with a home game against the Cavaliers on Nov. 2.

Here’s the rest of the schedule (all times are Eastern Standard):

Wed 02 vs Cleveland   7:30 pm
Fri 04 @ Atlanta   8 p.m.
Sat 05 @ Indiana   8 p.m.
Wed 09 vs Charlotte   7:30 p.m.
Fri 11 vs LA Clippers   7:30 p.m.
Sat 12 @ Cleveland   7:30 p.m.
Wed 16 @ Miami   8 p.m.
Thu 17 @ Orlando   8 p.m.
Sun 20 vs Golden State   3:30 p.m.
Tue 22 @ Washington   7 p.m.
Wed 23 vs Toronto   7:30 p.m.
Fri 25 vs Milwaukee   7:30 p.m.
Sun 27 @ Detroit   1:30 p.m.
Tue 29 @ Toronto   7 p.m.
Thu 01 vs Miami   8 p.m.
Sat 03 @ Milwaukee   8:30 p.m.
Mon 05 @ LA Clippers   10:30 p.m.
Thu 08 @ Portland   10:30 p.m.
Fri 09 @ Utah   9:00 p.m.
Sun 11 vs Atlanta   6:00 p.m.
Fri 16 vs New Jersey   7:30 p.m.
Sun 18 vs Philadelphia  1 p.m.
Wed 21 @ New Jersey   7:30 p.m.
Thu 22 vs New York   8 p.m.
Sun 25 @ New York   12 p.m.
Tue 27 @ Memphis   8 p.m.
Wed 28 @ New Orleans   8 p.m.
Fri 30 vs Detroit   7:30 p.m.
Mon 02 @ Orlando   7 p.m.
Wed 04 vs Charlotte   7:30 p.m.
Fri 06 vs Indiana   7:30 p.m.
Sat 07 @ Detroit   7:30 p.m.
Mon 09 vs Atlanta   7:30 p.m.
Wed 11 vs Dallas   8 p.m.
Fri 13 vs Sacramento   7:30 p.m.
Sat 14 @ Charlotte   7 p.m.
Mon 16 vs Oklahoma City   8 p.m.
Wed 18 vs Denver   7:30 p.m.
Fri 20 vs Phoenix   8 p.m.
Mon 23 vs Orlando   7:30 p.m.
Wed 25 vs Minnesota   7:30 p.m.
Fri 27 vs Indiana   7:30 p.m.
Sun 29 @ New Jersey   6 p.m.
Tue 31 @ Indiana   7 p.m.
Wed 01 vs Toronto   7:30 p.m.
Fri 03 vs Cleveland   7:30 p.m.
Sun 05 vs Memphis   12 p.m.
Tue 07 @ Milwaukee   8 p.m.
Thu 09 vs LA Lakers   8 p.m.
Fri 10 @ Philadelphia   7 p..m
Sun 12 vs Chicago   3:30 p.m.
Wed 15 vs Detroit   7:30 p.m.
Thu 16 @ Chicago   8 p.m.
Sun 19 @ Houston   7 p.m.
Mon 20 @ Dallas   8 p.m.
Wed 22 @ Oklahoma City   8 p.m.
Wed 29 vs Milwaukee   7:30 p.m.
Fri 02 vs Washington   7:30 p.m.
Sun 04 vs New York   1 p.m.
Tue 06 vs Houston   7:30 p.m.
Wed 07 @ Philadelphia   7 p.m.
Fri 09 vs Portland   7:30 p.m.
Sun 11 @ LA Lakers   3:30 p.m.
Mon 12 @ Phoenix   10:30 p.m.
Wed 14 @ Golden State   10:30 p.m.
Fri 16 @ Sacramento   10 p.m.
Sat 17 @ Denver   9 p.m.
Tue 20 vs New Orleans   7:30 p.m.
Wed 21 @ Toronto   7 p.m.
Fri 23 @ Atlanta   7:30 p.m.
Sun 25 @ San Antonio   8 p.m.
Wed 28 vs Utah   7:30 p.m.
Fri 30 @ Minnesota   8 p.m.
Sun 01 vs Miami   3:30 p.m.
Wed 04 vs San Antonio   7 p.m.
Thu 05 @ Chicago   9:30 p.m.
Sun 08 vs Philadelphia   6 p.m.
Wed 11 vs New Jersey   7:30 p.m.
Sat 14 @ Washington   7 p.m.
Sun 15 @ Charlotte   6 p.m.
Tue 17 @ New York   8 p.m.
Wed 18 vs Orlando   8 p.m.

Tracy McGrady doesn’t seem to like Boston too much

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

A couple weeks ago, we discussed why the Celtics could and should offer 32-year-old free-agent shooting guard Tracy McGrady a contract. Well, based on his recent Twitter activity, McGrady probably won’t be landing in Boston anytime soon. Well, at least not for the $1-point-something million veteran minimum.

First, McGrady tweeted the accompanying Photoshopped photo of himself in a Lakers uniform, wearing the legendary Smush Parker‘s No. 1 jersey, accompanied by the caption: “Yes or No?.” T-Mac also expressed his desire to sign in Los Angeles last summer.

Of course, McGrady later tweeted, “let me clarify: the pic of me in a Lakers uni is just a repost from a follower that sent it to me, along w/ caption yes or no. #ingoodfun”

Hmm, I wonder if his agent got to him: “Ahhh, Tracy, you might not want to tip your hand about where you want to sign before teams are even able to offer you a contract. I mean, you’re a seven-time NBA All-Star who played in Detroit for an awful Pistons team last season for the veteran minimum. Just a suggestion, buddy.”

Then, as if McGrady hadn’t shunned Boston sports fans enough, he went on a Twitter rant about how the Yankees are better than the Red Sox


Report: Knicks have interest in Lawrence Frank

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Celtics assistant coach Lawrence Frank has interviewed with Houston, Golden State, Toronto and now Detroit for their head coaching jobs and he is said to be one of two finalists for the Pistons job along with former Hawks coach Mike Woodson.

It’s no secret that Frank wants to be a head coach again. He had a fairly successful run with the Nets that stretched over seven seasons before coming to a screeching halt when the Nets began the year 0-16 in 2009-10. That said as much about New Jersey’s talent as Frank’s abilities as a coach.

In his one season with the Celtics, Frank was tasked with operating the team’s defense. They ranked first in fewest points allowed, second in field goal percentage defense and were in a virtual tie with the Bulls in terms of points per 100 possessions. He also had a solid rapport with the veteran players — no easy task.

It has been assumed that Frank would return if he couldn’t get a head-coaching job but the Celtics may have competition for his services.

The Knicks have been casting about for a defensive-minded assistant and Newsday’s Alan Hahn reports that Frank would be a good fit as he and head coach Mike D’Antoni have a good relationship and — unlike many coaches — he wouldn’t be bothered by working for a coach in the last year of his contract. Additionally, Hahn notes that Frank’s wife and daughters stayed in New Jersey while he was working in Boston.

Like head coach Doc Rivers, all of Boston’s assistants were working on one-year contracts last season. Team president Danny Ainge noted that while he expected Frank to get offers, the team would have interest in bringing him back.

Report: Celtics to sign lucrative broadcasting deal

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Celtics owners would probably rather this news come when they aren’t locking their players out while the NBA cries poor, but the C’s and Comcast SportsNet New England are finalizing a broadcasting rights extension that should benefit the team by tens of millions of dollars — if not nine figures — per year, according to a Sporting News report.

Unlike the Red Sox, the Celtics do not currently own the network that broadcasts their games, but this 20-year extension would reportedly give Wyc Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca & Co. a 20 percent ownership stake in Comcast’s regional sports network.

The NBA would have to approve such an agreement, and that might not happen until after the lockout. How much the Celtics take home from the reported deal will also depend on the collective bargaining agreement, as revenue sharing like this is at the heart of the negotiations.

The Celtics and CSNNE began discussions a year ago, and talks started steamrolling in February once the rival Lakers signed a 25-year deal with Time Warner Cable worth an estimated $200 million annually, the Sporting News said. According to a February Sports Business Journal report, the Lakers (4.9) and Celtics (4.8) ranked fourth and fifth in television ratings this past season. Here’s how the Sporting News broke down the financials …


Doc Rivers to Austin Rivers: ‘Never settle’

Monday, July 18th, 2011

After dunking over former Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace twice during his debut at the SJG Greater NC Pro-Am (a.k.a “The Rucker of the South”), Duke University’€™s No. 1 basketball recruit and son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Austin Rivers, continued to put on a dazzling display of moves at the event, which includes high school graduates, college players, current NBA players and former pros. His latest victim, thanks to a Tim Hardaway-esque killer crossover: NC State’s Lorenzo Brown (see embedded video).

Also, SLAM Magazine sat down with Austin Rivers at the NC-Pro Am, and the nation’s No. 1 player in the Class of 2011 explained his father’s advice …

  • SLAM: What is the one thing that you’ve learned the most from  your father (Celtics coach Doc Rivers)?
  • AR: “Just never to settle, man. There have been so many kids that have talent that have just stopped getting better. That’€™s one of the reasons that I have been ranked amongst the top players for so long. Even when I was ranked No. 3 in the country, that really bothered me because I always want to be the best. You can rank me 100 or 1, but I’€™m always going to work to be the best. That’€™s the main thing that my dad taught me: Never settle.”