E’Twaun Moore impresses in first day of practice
|12.12.11 at 7:26 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The Celtics finally had enough players to conduct a practice on Monday and second round pick E’Twaun Moore took advantage of his opportunity. Doc Rivers said that Moore’s teams won both scrimmages and that the guard hit the game-winning shot in one and ran the show at the other.
“E’Twaun was one of the best players in the gym today,” Rivers said. “Forget being a rookie.”
Moore took advantage of the lockout by playing in Italy with Benetton Treviso with former Celtic Brian Scalabrine and Brookline’s Jeff Adrien. Moore earned immediate playing time and knocked down 44 percent of his 3-pointers while averaging 9.5 points per game.
“It definitely helped me out a lot,” Moore said. “The biggest thing I learned from being over there was the patience of the game. I thought 24 seconds, OK, you have to play faster, but that’s not true. Actually you slow the game down and react faster.”
Moore views himself as a guard, capable of playing both the point and the wing. That versatility will be important for a Celtics team that is loaded with veterans. Keyon Dooling is the likely backup point guard and can play both positions. Rivers said on Saturday that Dooling’s addition will pave the way for Avery Bradley to focus on the off-guard spot and Marquis Daniels can also both the off-guard and small forward position.
“The [backup] two spot will have to be determined,” Rivers said. “Somebody’s going to have to take it.”
Moore and fellow rookie JaJuan Johnson have been unable to practice while the team explored trade opportunities. Rookies can’t be traded for 30 days after they sign their contracts. Moore received a two-year deal with a team option for the second year and the first year is guaranteed, according to his agent Mark Bartelstein.
Their signings, plus free agent Sasha Pavlovic gives the team 14 players under contract, pending the resolution of Jeff Green’s situation.
MEET BRANDON BASS
Danny Ainge acquired Bass from the Magic in a sign-and-trade involving Glen Davis and Von Wafer. Bass is a 6-foot-8 forward who averaged 11 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Magic last season, while shooting over 51 percent from the floor. He is particularly adept at knocking down 16-23 foot jump shots where he made 47 percent of his attempts from that range.
“I feel very comfortable shooting it,” Bass said. “I’ve been working on that shot since I was 15 and the last couple of years I’ve been able to knock it down.”
Bass will likely be Kevin Garnett‘s backup at the big forward position, giving the Celtics a big man rotation of Garnett, Bass, Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Wilcox.
“I like that he can score, number one, before anything else,” Rivers said. “Great pick and pop player. Not bad in ISO situations away from the basket. We need that coming off the bench. I like that he just plays hard. Low maintenance, just plays hard, and that’s something we were looking at.”
Just as important from the Celtics perspective is that Bass has a solid contract with a player option for next season at $4 million. If he picks up his option, the Celtics will have a rotation player at a fair price and another trade asset. If he doesn’t, they will have even more cap space for next season.
“Brandon is just a real high character, high-energy player,” Ainge said. “He’s athletic. He’s a fantastic mid-range shooter. Just a real active player with a lot of athleticism and energy. He fits our timeline too. We’re trying to have great success this year and his contract length sort of fits into our timeline.”
Pavlovic gives the Celtics another option on the wing and another backup behind Paul Pierce at small forward. Pavlovic saw action in just 17 games after they signed him late in the season, but Ainge and Rivers feel that there is potential in the 28-year-old.
“We wanted to bring Sasha back at the end of last year,” Ainge said. “The coaches loved his work ethic and he played very well for us when he got an opportunity. He’s young. He’s athletic. He’s got some experience. Sasha’s just a good all-around player.”
Pavlovic’s best days were in Cleveland where he saw significant playing time for teams that advanced deep into the playoffs. He’s a career 35 percent 3-point shooter and can guard both wing positions.
“I believe he can be a good player,” Rivers said. “I told him that last year. I told him in our exit meetings his talent is in there, it’s all between his ears. I think he can be a really good player. We’re going to try to get it out of him.”
Rivers said that Pierce participated in most of the practice after sitting out the last two days with a sore right heel. He was on the sidelines during the portion that media were allowed to watch. Rajon Rondo sat out after spraining his right ankle in Sunday’s session. Rivers said he expects to have Rondo back soon.