|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Syracuse C Fab Melo||06.12.12 at 9:42 am ET|
As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.
Height: 7 feet
Weight: 255 pounds
Achievements: Big East Defensive Player of the Year (2012), Preseason Big East Rookie of the Year (2010-11), McDonald’s High School All-American (2010)
Key 2011-12 stats: 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 blocks
What he brings: Melo’s most impressive traits are his size, rebounding and shot-blocking ability. He displays decent mobility and jumping ability but lacks the elite athleticism of fellow center prospects Meyers Leonard and Andre Drummond.
Offensively, Melo is extremely raw and is still learning the game. He does not project to be a superstar at the next level, but given the dearth of big men who can run the floor, he is an intriguing option.
Where the Celtics could get him: Projections have Melo going somewhere in the 15-25 range, which is right where the Celtics reside with two picks.
Notes: Melo made enormous strides in his second season at Syracuse before being held out of three games in January due to an unspecified academic issue and then being ruled ineligible for the NCAA tournament. He also had a domestic violence issue in 2011. After breaking the turn signal on his girlfriend’s car, he was charged with criminal mischief. If he remains out of trouble through November, he’ll have a clean record. Melo, who grew up in Brazil, did not start playing competitive basketball until the ninth grade. He attended high school in Florida (near Miami) his junior and senior years.
Video: Here’s a Melo highlight mix.
|Greg Stiemsma named to U.S. select roster||06.06.12 at 5:57 pm ET|
The Associated Press is reporting that Celtics center Greg Stiemsma will join the U.S. select team. Stiemsma joins Lance Thomas of the New Orleans Hornets as the newest members of a talented group of young players that will train against the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team.
The select team will train against the Americans in Las Vegas from July 6-11. The roster also includes Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, Jeremy Lin, John Wall, Kawhi Leonard, DeJuan Blair, DeMarcus Cousins, DeMar DeRozan, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Paul George, Taj Gibson and Klay Thompson.
After spending four years playing basketball overseas and in the NBA Development League, Stiemsma emerged as a valuable asset for the Celtics in the second half of the season. Averaging more than 18 minutes per game after the All-Star break, Stiemsma has given Boston a much needed shot blocking and rebounding presence off the bench.
|Stephen A. Smith on The Big Show: Magic interested in Kevin Garnett?||06.06.12 at 5:56 pm ET|
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith joined The Big Show Wednesday afternoon to discuss the Celtics’ big road win Tuesday night in Miami and what the future may hold for both teams. But first, Smith felt he had some owning up to do.
“You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due. I get so disgusted with people that can’t fess up and own up,” Smith said. “We were wrong, most of us were wrong and I’m at the top of that list. I didn’t think Boston had a shot to win two games this series.”
To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.
Smith said his pre-series prediction of a Miami victory was based on a rash of Celtics injuries and their season-long rebounding woes.
However, “Sure enough, because of exceptional coaching by Doc Rivers, and guys that simply have the heart of a champion, [the Celtics] just know how to win. And they have so much heart, so much focus and dedication. They just know how to get it done,” Smith said.
“It’s not just that they’re winning, it’s that they’re making it plain that they had no business being an underdog. … And the way I look at it, the Miami Heat are incredibly lucky that they still have a game to play and they still have life because they don’t deserve it. They don’t even deserve to be on a respirator right now.”
Asked about possible destinations for Kevin Garnett next season, the well-connected Smith said a couple of candidates for the Magic’s general manager job have told Orlando, “What you need to do is break the bank a little bit and sign KG to a two-year deal, even it is for about $20 million.”
Smith also suggested the Lakers were a logical destination for Garnett, if Boston didn’t make a strong enough offer to re-sign him. “Me personally, if I’m Kobe Bryant, and I know I’m staying in L.A., I’m making a call to KG,” Smith said.
|Michael Wilbon on M&M: ‘Miami just doesn’t have what it takes to be a championship team’||06.06.12 at 3:05 pm ET|
Appearing on Mut & Merloni Wednesday afternoon, ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon said if the Heat lose the series, which he expects them to do, they will have to rebuild the team.
“It became apparent literally sometime in Game 3 — more likely in Game 4 — that Miami just doesn’t have what it takes to be a championship team. They don’t have it,” he said. “It doesn’t mean individually they don’t have the talent. … But collectively it doesn’t work. And that’s what’s become apparent. And that’s why the Celtics are going to put the Heat out of their misery tomorrow night.”
Added Wilbon: “If Miami goes out tomorrow night, and I expect Boston to close them out … you have to just sort of deep-six this thing, and you have to start over. You keep LeBron [James] and you figure out what else you’re going to do. And that means changes. It means changes in the coaching office, it means changes in that locker room. You don’t commit to $350 million or whatever it is to get a conference finalist.”
Asked whether he felt the coaching jobs by Doc Rivers and Erik Spoelstra represented the biggest mismatch in the series, Wilbon was unequivocal.
“No question. No question. It’s almost embarrassing. And that happened last year in the finals as well with [Mavericks coach] Rick Carlisle,” he said.
Wilbon pointed to Spoelstra’s inability to get his players to execute as ultimately dooming Miami’s chances.
“Spoelstra can’t get done what they need to have done,” he said. “The other night, in [Game] 4, when you got all these situations where Miami can win that game in Boston, people point out, they say, ‘Well, they aren’t running plays.’ Well are they not running plays because Spoelstra didn’t diagram them during the timeout? Of course not. Of course Spoelstra diagrammed a play during the timeout. Are they executing the play? No. So, whose fault is that? Either Spoelstra can’t get them to, or the players — I don’t think they’re defiant, but whatever the case, this goes back to disconnect. … There’s a disconnect between what they’re supposed to do and what they actually do — what they’re capable of doing, and what they actually do. Do I seem them suddenly putting it all together tomorrow in Boston? No, I don’t. I don’t see any scenario where that happens.”
In terms of the coaching job Rivers has done this year, Wilbon talked about a conversation he shared with Rivers last offseason that foreshadowed the coach’s regular-season strategy.
“I remember being with Doc, I think it was during the lockout, and he jokingly said a 66-game season was too long, he needed a 45-game season. And so what Doc then did, even though he was joking when he said it to me, he was crafting what amounted to a 45-game season,” Wilbon said. “He could have made that move with Kevin Garnett games earlier; he didn’t want to. Putting [Garnett] at center and other moves he made, introducing, spoon-feeding Avery Bradley, and how to get him into the lineup, and other changes. He could have done that stuff earlier, but he knew he really needed 45 games because he wasn’t going to risk getting Ray Allen hurt and risk getting Paul Pierce hurt and going into the playoffs without those guys being healthy. And so it was a balancing act. And it’s a great truly great coaching job.”
|ESPN’s Brad Daugherty takes shot at officials in Celtics-Heat series||06.04.12 at 1:05 pm ET|
ESPN NASCAR analyst and former Cavaliers center Brad Daugherty got in a dig at the officials working the Celtics-Heat series on Saturday when he took some liberties with his promotional script for the worldwide leader’s coverage of Game 4 on Sunday night.
Daugherty described the matchup as “Paul Pierce and the Celtics at 8:30 Eastern taking on LeBron James and the officials.”
When teased about his comment, Daugherty said: “Horrible. Horrible.”
|Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: LeBron James’ sixth foul a bad call||06.04.12 at 10:40 am ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to share his thoughts on the officiating and what Sunday’s win says about the Celtics.
“I thought Boston, to re-gather themselves in overtime, with [Paul] Pierce fouling out, to take that body blow, withstand it and come up with the win was terrific mental toughness on their part,” Van Gundy said.
With both Pierce and LeBron James fouling out quickly into overtime, both on plays away from the ball, Van Gundy went on to discuss the officiating late in the game. Van Gundy took issue with the call that forced James to the sideline for the only the fourth time in his career.
“I thought that was a foul on [Mickael] Pietrus, pulling [James] down, or at worst, a no-call,” Van Gundy said. “Let them both get up and play. Listen, I’m for more fouls, you know, seven fouls. I’m for sneezing so I don’t see Paul Pierce running into [Shane] Battier on an inconsequential [play], they didn’t even have the ball. I’m just not a fan of watching the last plays in that game, in such a dramatic, hard, hotly contested game with those two guys on the bench. Now, some of the fouls that people want to ignore have to be called, but I could see where a fan of both teams would not have liked the Pierce foul or the James foul because it didn’t involve the ball yet. It was just guys jostling for position.”
Van Gundy argued that by doing a good job setting the tone early in games, officials could afford to use greater discretion when making calls late in games or in overtime.
“I would tell you this, people who want the game called exactly the same way in the first quarter and the fourth quarter, I know I don’t want refereeing late in those games. There has to be a different level of certainty on those calls. In the first quarter you’re trying to establish a tone. Get the game called in the right manner. Let everyone know the amount of contact that’s going to be allowed. In the final three or four minutes of a close game I think referees have to have certainty that the play has an impact directly to giving a team an advantage.”
As for whether he thinks officials should call plays differently for star players like James or Pierce, Van Gundy was emphatic.
“No. No, no, no, no. Who’s in the game doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “It’s the certainty of the call, I think late, that you want to make sure of. There’s no setting the tone, there’s no ‘have the game called exactly the same.’ If you’ve done your job, to me, as an officiating crew, how you called the game throughout the game sets the tone that everybody knows that you don’t have to clean up anything late, because the game has been managed well right from the start.”