Archive for June, 2013

Fact or fiction: Doc Rivers’ odd call to Boston media

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

So much for Doc Rivers not disputing Danny Ainge‘s take on the former Celtics coach’s departure to the Clippers. Two hours after telling the media in Los Angeles the only reason he’s coaching “is to win titles,” Rivers spun around in circles on a lengthy teleconference with reporters in Boston.

While Rivers should be lauded for his willingness to discuss his professional life and a decision he had every right to make — even interrupting the Clippers public relations staff when they tried to stop the call with “two more questions” — the 27-minute interview can only be described as confusing after Ainge and Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck shared similar opinions the last 24 hours about how it all went down.

So, let’s try to separate fact from fiction one quote at a time (thoughts in italics).

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Russian SF Sergey Karasev

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2013 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their lone selection at No. 16.

Sergey Karasev (AP)

Young Russian Sergey Karasev is a solid offensive player who needs to add some bulk in order to compete on the defensive end in the NBA. (AP)

SERGEY KARASEV

Position: Shooting forward

Team: Lyubertsy Triumph (Eurocup league)

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 197 pounds

Achievements: Olympic bronze medalist with Russia (2012)

Key 2012-13 stats: 16.1 points, 3 rebounds, 2.4 assists

What he brings: Karasev is considered well ahead of the learning curve in terms of being an international prospect, having led his team in scoring most nights in 2012-13 while playing in one of the top European leagues. The offensive numbers won’t directly translate, but his 41 percent success rate from the floor, 49 percent on 3-pointers and 82.6 percent on free throws isn’t a bad start.

Analysts also indicate Karasev has solid court vision and is unselfish. His defense is a bigger question mark, more so due to his slight frame than his effort. If he can get stronger, almost a universal requirement in Karasev scouting reports, and fill out a bit he will be fine at that end.

Notes: While the culture change/shock is always an issue to varying degrees for international prospects, Karasev definitely wants to play in the NBA, so a holdout is seen as unlikely. … He greatly improved his draft stock with an impressive showing at the Nike Hoop Summit in April, which he attended shortly after declaring for the draft earlier that month. … His father, Vasily Karasev, is the coach of his professional team in Russia, the Lyubertsy Triumph. … Karasev is a native of St. Petersburg, Russia.

Recent articles:

SB Nation: Sergey Karasev will remain in 2013 NBA Draft

ESPN.com: Sergey Karasev struggled in Vegas (Insider subscription required)

Video: Here is video from Karasev’s impressive showing at the Nike Hoop Summit:

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: D-League SF Glen Rice Jr.

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2013 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their lone selection at No. 16.

Glen Rice Jr. was dismissed from Georgia Tech in 2012 and played last season in the NBA D-League. (AP)

GLEN RICE JR.

Position: Small forward

Team: Rio Grande Valley Vipers (NBA Development League); previously at Georgia Tech

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 211 pounds

Achievements: ACC All-Academic team (2010)

Key 2012-13 stats: 14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists

What he brings: Rice’s marquee asset is his jump shot, which he had working particularly well in the latter part of the D-League season. Rice also shot 37.9 percent from beyond the arc this year, and since it was in pro ball he has the advantage of having already played with the NBA-style 3-point line. He can let his athleticism take over defensively, even if the intensity isn’t always there. He averaged about a block and a steal in the D-League in 2012-13.

The biggest concern with Rice is with his maturity and makeup. He had been suspended on multiple occasions by two different coaches at Georgia Tech prior to his dismissal in March 2012 following charges stemming from a shooting incident at an Atlanta nightclub.

Notes: Rice was averaging only 6.6 minutes per game with Rio Grande through mid-January before breaking out and helping the Valley Vipers to the D-League championship. He averaged 29 points and 11.5 boards in the finals. … Should Rice get taken sooner rather than later Thursday, he could earn the rare distinction of being selected higher in the NBA draft than in the D-League draft. Rio Grande picked him in the fourth round (55th overall) last year. … Rice is the son of Glen Rice, who played 1,000 games in 15 NBA seasons with six teams.

Recent articles:

NBA.com: D-League stop helps college washout revive his NBA dream

Marietta Daily Journal: Glen Rice Jr. may be first-round selection in NBA draft

Associated Press: D-League changed Glen Rice Jr.

Video: Here is a short video showcasing some of Rice’s highlights from his Georgia Tech days:

Doc Rivers: Winning titles is ‘only reason I’m coaching’

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
Doc Rivers has Clippers fever!

Doc Rivers has Clippers fever!

As the Clippers introduced new vice president of basketball operations and coach Doc Rivers, he sat stone-faced for most of the press conference, offering no objection to former Celtics colleague Danny Ainge‘s version of events the past two weeks.

“Quite honestly,” said Rivers from L.A., “at this point in my life, that’s the only reason I’m coaching — is to try and win titles.”

After watching him coach in Boston for nine seasons, it was strange hearing Rivers using “we” and “us” when referencing the Clippers, but clearly he’s moved on from a team he no longer believed to be a contender. As C’s owner Wyc Grousbeck said Wednesday morning, “I don’t think he wanted to rebuild with us; I think he wanted to make his win-loss record better.”

Over the past 24 hours, Ainge and Grousbeck both stated their desire for Rivers to fulfill the three years remaining on his coaching contract in Boston, and Rivers never actually disputed their claims, although he deflected a bit.

“After the year, I had no plans of leaving and didn’t give it a lot of thought, honestly,” said Rivers. “After every year — and Danny knows me as well as anyone — I put everything I can into a season, and then, if you ask me immediately after the season, I’m not coming back. I’m going home. I’m just burnt out. I’m tired.

“This lasted a little longer, and so when Danny and I talked, I told him I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and we just basically sat around as a team and talked about what’s the best way at that time to improve the Celtics, and we went into talking about different scenarios. A couple other teams came up, and Danny talked about assets — me and Kevin Garnett at the time — and then the name Clippers came up, and I thought, ‘Well, that’s interesting,’ and you’d be amazed how — from that point on — I really kind of stepped back. Danny kind of did the talking and would report back to me. I didn’t talk to you or anybody, so I was kind of left out. It was really interesting.

“One thing I would like to make clear: There were never any threats. ‘If you don’t get me here, I’m not doing this.’ ‘I’m not coming back.’ There was never any of that. It was just kind of a negotiation with Danny and [Clippers president] Andy Roeser, and if it all worked out, then I would consider it. That’s basically where it went to, and the closer we got to this thing actually happening is the more I got interested in it.”

Still, both Rivers and Ainge believed they would continue working together until early this week.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Murray State PG Isaiah Canaan

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2013 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their lone selection at No. 16.

Isaiah Canaan (AP)

Isaiah Canaan (AP)

ISAIAH CANAAN

Position: Point guard

School: Murray State

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 195 pounds

Achievements: Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year (2013, 2012), All-America second team (2012), All-OVC first team (2011), OVC Freshman of the Year (2010), OVC Tournament MVP (2010)

Key 2012-13 stats: 21.8 points, 4.3 assists, 3.5 rebounds

What he brings: Despite serving as the floor general for almost the entirety of his four-year Racer career, Canaan is seen as a shoot-first guard — he averaged a career-high 4.3 assists per game as a senior — partly because that was what the talent around him called for. However, he also saw his shooting percentage take a dip from his junior to senior year: down to 43.1 from 46.8 percent from the floor, to 37 from 45.6 percent on 3-pointers and to 82.2 from 83.7 percent form the charity stripe.

As productive as he is shooting, defense usually is more of a struggle for Canaan. Most of those problems can be pinned on his 6-foot-4 wingspan and sub-200 pound frame. His 2-to-1 turnover-to-steal ratio also is cause for concern.

Notes: Canaan’s tour of pre-draft workouts was dampened by an ankle injury last week. It is not be serious, but did cause him to miss what could have been a few crucial days. … He told his hometown Sun Herald that the pick-and-roll system Murray State used should help him transition to the NBA. … Canaan was a contributor right off the bat for Murray State, playing in all 36 games while averaging 10.4 points as a freshman. … Canaan drew notoriety for a near-halfcourt shot he hit from one knee in February 2010.

Recent articles:

NBA.com: Spotlight: Isaiah Canaan

NBC Sports: Can Isaiah Canaan make a splash in the NBA

New York Post: Nets eyeing Murray State PG Canaan

Video: Here is video from earlier this month of one of Canaan’s workouts.

Wyc Grousbeck on D&C: ‘We’re all square’ with Doc Rivers, although ‘it was not our idea’ for him to leave

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
Wyc Grousbeck

Wyc Grousbeck

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about Doc Rivers‘ departure to the Clippers.

Danny Ainge said at a Tuesday press conference that it was Rivers’ idea to leave, dismissing reports that the Celtics initiated the change. Grousbeck concurred and said he’s sorry to see Rivers go.

“I would say a little disappointment,” Grousbeck said. “I’m where Danny was, and he clearly expressed it, which is we thought we’d be here for this five-year term with Doc. He was, as Danny said, he talked to Doc about staying and having longevity. And nine years is a long time, there’s no question. But 12 years is longer. So, we were planning for the long term with Doc because we think he’s one of those foundational guys.

“It was a good run, a couple of [NBA] Finals appearances. But it was not our idea.”

Grousbeck said Rivers’ decision was not shocking, as the parties have been talking for “three or four weeks,” but it was difficult to accept.

“It’s not a bolt out of the blue, it’s an ongoing discussion,” he said. “And it finally got to the point where he said, ‘Maybe it’s time.’ And we, over a period of time, ended up agreeing with him.”

Grousbeck insisted he has no animosity toward Rivers for wanting a different challenge at this stage.

“I talked to Doc the other day. I said, ‘Look, we’re all square. You’ve given us your heart and soul for nine years; we’ve given you a lot of support. I feel great about it. And I took some of your money on the golf course, buddy. So, we’re all good.’

“But I don’t feel he owes us more. I don’t feel he owes us the next three years. I think he’s entitled to take a look at the next three years. And he left in a way and on terms that got us some benefit back. So, I don’t feel misused or that we’re not even. I think we’re even. I just would have been willing to go forward with Doc. And now that we’re not — actually, it’s energized Danny. He’s got a list of coaching candidates — which we’re not going to discuss today. But he’s got a list of guys. He’s got a new spring in his step. And it’s energized Danny to rebuild, which is what’s necessary.”

Added Grousbeck: “I think Doc and we are even. I think those nine years, if you had told me this is how the nine years were going to go when we signed him, I would have been thrilled. I’m very happy with how it went. And we’re even.”

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Report: Nets reach out to Celtics about Kevin Garnett

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

According to a report in the New York Daily News, Nets general manager Billy King called the Celtics about the availability of Kevin Garnett but has not heard back from Boston.

Garnett, 37, has a no-trade clause in his contract and said last season he would not waive it. However, that was before coach Doc Rivers left. The 15-time NBA All-Star has two years and $24.4 million remaining on his deal. He averaged 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds last season.

The Nets have the 22nd overall pick in Thursday’s draft. They also reportedly are trying to trade guard MarShon Brooks.

Garnett played alongside new Nets coach Jason Kidd on the 2000 U.S. Olympic team.