Green Street
NEED TO KNOW
Don't forget to follow Ben on Twitter.
A WEEI.com Celtics Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Proposed change to NBA draft lottery would be big improvement 07.18.14 at 1:16 pm ET
By   |  No Comments

Last season the NBA took a ton of criticism regarding teams tanking games in order to land a better draft pick. In the end, the Cavaliers jumped up to win their third top overall pick in the last four years. But the Bucks and 76ers — the two worst teams respectively — wound up drafting second and third, selecting potential franchise-altering players.

nba-draft-logoAs expected, altering the draft lottery system has been a major topic of the NBA offseason. Zach Lowe, from Grantland.com, now is reporting that the league has officially submitted a proposal that would allow all 14 teams that miss the playoffs to have significantly more similar odds of taking home a high draft selection.

From Lowe: ‘€œUnder the current system, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of snagging the No. 1 pick, perhaps the most valuable asset in the entire NBA. The team with the second-worst record has a 19.9 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, and the third-worst team enters the lottery with a 15.6 percent chance of moving up to the top slot. The odds decline from there, with the final five teams in the lottery — the teams with the five best records — each having a 1.1 percent or worse chance of moving up to No. 1.

‘€œThe league’€™s proposal gives at least the four worst teams the same chance at winning the No. 1 pick: approximately an identical 11 percent shot for each club. The odds decline slowly from there, with the team in the next spot holding a 10 percent chance. The lottery team with the best record will have a 2 percent chance of leaping to the No. 1 pick, up from the the minuscule 0.5 percent chance it has under the current system.’€

Firstly, it’€™s pretty clear that there would be a shift in balance amongst the 14 teams eligible to win the lottery. All of them would have between an 11 percent and 2 percent chance at the No. 1 pick, while the worst four teams essentially would have the same odds to win it.

Secondly, rather than the lottery only awarding the top three picks, changes in this format would now allow the top six selections in the draft to be raffled off. This would provide teams with far less incentive to finish lower in the standings with so many picks now to be randomly determined. Imagine tanking to be the worst team and ending up with the No. 7 pick! That would not sit well with any fan base. Problem solved.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: NBA draft lottery,
Marcus Smart shows promise in another summer league victory 07.10.14 at 7:52 pm ET
By   |  No Comments
Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

The Celtics improved their record to 3-1 in the Orlando Summer League with a 76-67 victory over the Magic on Thursday evening.

Boston got the win without its top scorer, Kelly Olynyk, who took the day to rest. Other lineup changes included shifting Phil Pressey to the bench, which meant No. 6 overall pick Marcus Smart received his first start at point guard.

The rookie responded fairly well, putting up a game-high 19 points, but his shooting struggles continued. While Smart shot 5-for-14 from the field overall (7-for-8 at the free throw line), 3-point shooting was his downfall.

The Oklahoma State product was just 2-for-9 from downtown (the two baskets came on back-to-back possessions late in the game while it was tight). Clearly, shooting is still an area that Smart needs to improve — although he did convert on 3-of-5 attempts inside the arc, something he should look to do more.

Smart finished with five assists, three rebounds and a steal to go with his 19 points in 30 minutes of action.

Meanwhile, the transition to coming off the bench was not kind to Pressey. He shot an atrocious 1-for-15 on field goals, only converting  an early layup. Nothing would go down all game for the crafty point guard. Pressey totaled just five points along with five boards and three helpers. It will be interesting to see how coach Jay Larranaga chooses to use Pressey next game.

Chris Johnson (12 points), Mike Moser (12 points), Colton Iverson (10 points) and Edwin Jackson (10 points) joined Smart as the Celtics players to score in double figures in the game.

The Magic were led by Seth Curry, who scored 15 points off the bench on a barrage of 3-pointers. While Victor Oladipo rested, all eyes were on Orlando’s rookies to carry the team.

Aaron Gordon scored seven points while collecting eight rebounds, but it was Elfrid Payton who was the better rookie on this day. Payton flirted with a triple-double, going for a Rondo-esque eight points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.

The Celtics will play in the third-place game on Friday morning at 10 a.m. They will face either the Pistons or Grizzlies (determined by late Thursday night games). It will be Boston’s final game in Orlando before heading west for the Las Vegas Summer League.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow 

Read More: Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart, NBA,
Terrible turnaround: C’s up big early, lose bigger to Pacers, James Young sits out again 07.07.14 at 9:27 pm ET
By   |  No Comments
James Nunnally (11) gets by Celtics' Chris Johnson (12) in Summer League action Monday in Orlando. (AP)

James Nunnally (11) gets by CelticsChris Johnson (12) in Summer League action Monday in Orlando. (AP)

A great start turned into a big learning experience for the young Celtics in a Summer League lesson handed out by the Pacers Monday in Orlando.

The Green went up by 18 points early against the Pacers in their second game of Summer League action on Monday. Then they got absolutely throttled by Indiana. Boston ended up losing the game by 19 points, 96-77.

The 37-point turnaround was as ugly as it sounds. The Celtics shot a mere 34.3 percent (24-for-70) from the field, and only 25.9 percent (7-for-27) from beyond the arc.

Basketball is a game of runs. The Celtics never responded to the Pacers’€™ run, which seemingly lasted three quarters.

‘€œThat response has to happen on the defensive end of the court,’€ Summer League head coach Jay Larranaga told reporters. ‘€œWe were late on everything and we fouled too much.’€

Kelly Olynyk led the team in scoring for the second straight game with 15 points (5-for-13 shooting) to go along with six rebounds and four assists. Meanwhile, Marcus Smart ‘€“ the No. 6 overall pick in the draft ‘€“ had another shaky game. Smart shot just 3-for-15 from the field, finishing with 11 points in 27 minutes.

Shooting remains a huge concern for Smart. But he was also unable to fill out the stat sheet like he did on Saturday against the Heat. Smart only had three boards, four assists and a steal to follow-up his debut.

Smart looked lost at times, settling for bad shots while looking less energetic on the defensive side of the ball (although, the same can be said about the entire team during the last three quarters).

James Young sat out yet again with a neck injury from a June car accident. His status is still up in the air as to whether or not he will play in Summer League.

Willie Reed led the way for the Pacers. He scored 18 points (8-for-12) while adding six rebounds, three assists and blocking four shots. It’€™s just Summer League, but if Willie Reed is drawing comparisons to Willis Reed, it’€™s not a good thing.

The Celtics will look to bounce back on Wednesday against the Pistons at 7 P.M.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow

Read More: Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, James Young, Kelly Olynyk
Celtics being ‘very, very smart’ with James Young as they leave for Orlando 07.03.14 at 3:27 pm ET
By   |  No Comments

WALTHAM –€“ The Celtics held their final practice in Waltham on Thursday before heading down to Orlando for the Summer League.

With such a young roster that includes two big name rookies, the Summer League is going to carry significantly more weight for Boston than in past years. Marcus Smart is considered the most exciting talent that everyone is expected have their eyes on. Smart is just excited to get his first taste of the NBA; even if it’€™s just Summer League action.

“€œIt’€™s still going to be a big deal because it is my first game,” Smart told media members before practice started.

Smart expects his Celtics squad to fare well when they take the court at the Amway Center practice floor in Orlando.

“€œActually, we’€™ve come pretty far,”€ said Smart of his team’€™s progress over the last three days. “€œ[We'€™ve] got all these new guys in, [Coach Jay Larranaga is] putting in some new plays, trying to learn some things and playing with different type of style. We’€™ve come a long way.”

We know Smart is ready to begin polishing his game in Orlando before his first season as a professional begins, however, fellow rookie James Young is in a different boat. Young is still recovering from a neck injury suffered in a June car accident.

“€œI haven’€™t heard from Ed [Lacerte], or Danny [Ainge] or Brad [Stevens] on what the plan is for James,” Larranaga told reporters.

Young’€™s status, in terms of playing in Orlando, sounds as if it’€™s up in the air at the moment.

“€œHe did some more stuff yesterday as far as non-contact on the bike,”€ Stevens added on Young. “€œI think he’€™ll be continuing to do some of that stuff today, but I haven’€™t been given a timeline on it. And, obviously, he was in the car accident a couple weeks ago. It’€™s Summer League, we want to be very, very smart about this with him. He’€™s anxious to play, he’€™s antsy, he wants to [play]. But at the same time, I want to be cognizant of the big picture here.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, James Young, Jay Larranaga
Marcus Smart on Avery Bradley: ‘He reminds me a little bit of [me]‘ 07.02.14 at 3:15 pm ET
By   |  No Comments

WALTHAM — Marcus Smart is beginning to feel comfortable in Boston. Well, at least in the gym that is.

“Definitely,” Smart responded after being asked if the practice facility was beginning to feel like his own gym. “I’€™m knocking down shots on those rims now,”€ said Smart, while gesturing over to the nearest hoop, “so that’€™s good. I’€™m getting a little bit more comfortable day-by-day.”

Outside of workouts and practices is a whole different story for Smart.

“Nah,”€ Smart said, while shaking his head when asked if he had gotten a chance to explore Boston yet. “Especially with the two-a-days — we finish around seven [o'€™clock] –€“ you’€™re pretty much tired. You get your workout and go to bed and start it all over again.”

Smart was expecting the NBA lifestyle to be this way, though.

“This is your life. This is your job,” Smart proclaimed. “If you want to be the best, you have to put in the work.”

Avery Bradley has put in the work over his young NBA career. The 23-year-old was rewarded Wednesday with a 4-year deal worth $32 million. Bradley, like Rajon Rondo, is a player Smart can relate to.

“He reminds me a little bit of [me],” Smart said. “You know, physical, athletic, can defend the one, the two, or the three spot. [I can] do whatever coach [Brad Stevens] asks me to do.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Jared Sullinger, Marcus Smart
Weekly NBA Draft Watch: Mock draft v4.0 06.25.14 at 1:45 pm ET
By   |  No Comments

This year’€™s draft is starting to feel like it could be one of the most entertaining in years. Seriously, how could there be any more drama?

Jabari Parker (left) and Andrew Wiggins (right) are two of the top prospects for the 2014 NBA draft. (AP)

Jabari Parker (left) and Andrew Wiggins (right) could end up going 1-2 in the NBA draft following Joel Embiid’s latest injury. (AP)

The old projected top pick, Joel Embiid, is injured and sliding down draft boards. We have no clue if Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker will be the No. 1 pick by the Cavaliers. We don’€™t even know that Cleveland will keep the first pick — teams like the Magic, Jazz and Celtics are rumored to have interest.

The Celtics also are rumored to be one of three finalists to acquire the No. 8 pick from the Kings. Then the Lakers seem pretty serious about trying to package Steve Nash and the No. 7 pick in an attempt to get young talent. Or, dare I say, the Lakers could be trying to clear cap space to make a play on Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.

A mock draft seems almost pointless since we are expecting so many trades. Let’€™s not forget that Kevin Love‘€™s name will be one we hear in rumors a few times Thursday. Expect to see one of the wildest drafts in recent memory, but if there is less movement than expected, here’€™s how it could shake down.

1. Cavaliers, Jabari Parker (Duke, freshman) – Embiid has been projected as the top pick for a while, even with his back issues. His broken foot is a whole different monster, though. Those two red flags will cause him to slip, and Parker is the best player in the draft right now. Wiggins will get a look here, especially if the Cavs are looking for a player to fit alongside LeBron (in their dream scenario). Owner Dan Gilbert wants to be very involved in the pick, and he reportedly likes Wiggins. That’€™s a risky strategy for Cleveland, so just take the sure thing in Parker — the Cavs really can’€™t afford to blow this one.

2. Bucks, Andrew Wiggins (Kansas, freshman) – The Bucks now hold the easiest pick in the draft. Sit back and see what the team with the top pick does, then take the other top prospect. If Parker goes No. 1, then Wiggins goes to Milwaukee to play with a decent young core. The Bucks may prefer one to the other, but they have to be pleased either way it plays out.

3. 76ers, Dante Exum (Australia) – Philly ends up the biggest loser as a result of the Embiid injury. The Sixers would have been the team that ended up with the third top prospect that was passed over, but now they have a difficult choice to make. Embiid probably still is too risky this high in the draft, so Exum is the best overall talent available. Exum would either come in to be a backcourt-mate to Michael Carter-Williams or to take MCW’€™s job if the 76ers look to trade the Rookie of the Year.

4. Magic, Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State, sophomore) – With Exum off the board, and Orlando seeking a point guard, Smart makes sense with this pick. Of course, any of the big men on the board will be tempting to the Magic, but they have been most interested in Smart and Exum all year.

5. Jazz, Noah Vonleh (Indiana, freshman) – The Jazz already have a lot of young talent in their frontcourt. But if all the guards are taken early, and Utah does not trade up, Vonleh may be the most appealing piece. Vonleh is more capable of stepping away from the basket than the remaining bigs; that could be the determining factor.

6. Celtics, Joel Embiid (Kansas, freshman) – One of the big questions of the draft becomes how far Embiid will slip. Danny Ainge will face a tough decision if he slips to No. 6, and in the end he won’€™t be able to pass up Embiid’€™s potential. If Ainge is unable to add an All-Star caliber player through a trade, Embiid is a fantastic fit for the future to play alongside Jared Sullinger in a rebuild scenario.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid
If Celtics can’t land Kevin Love, then Rajon Rondo should be traded 06.24.14 at 11:59 am ET
By   |  No Comments

I recently wrote that Kevin Love is going to become a member of the Celtics on draft night.  I still believe that. However, there’€™s a whole other question that needs to be addressed.

What does Danny Ainge do if he is unable to add an All-Star to the core he has right now? The answer is to trade Rajon Rondo.

There are two clear-cut directions in which the Celtics can head. They can trade their assets for a proven veteran, like Love, or they can break ties with Rondo, Jeff Green and their older players to start a youth movement. Most fans prefer to win now, but if that option is not available, selling off pieces to rebuild is the right move.

So what is a reasonable trade offer for Rondo?

If you remember from the start of the season, there was a pretty realistic offer rumored to be coming from Sacramento. If the trade offer remains something in the ballpark of Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore and a draft pick (which would be No. 8 overall), that would be something Ainge considers. One note: Thomas is a restricted free agent, meaning Boston would be getting his rights. The C’s could re-sign him or let him walk for a higher offer.

Rondo has no interest in sticking around for a full rebuild, nor should he. Ainge knows this, and also is smart enough to know that there is no purpose to keep his star player on a roster that is not ready to win. The Celtics would then become one of the youngest teams in the league, with building blocks that have the potential to make them even younger.

Boston’€™s core would look something along these lines next season if Rondo were to be dealt to Sacramento (an easy example to use): The Celtics would roll out a lineup of Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, McLemore, Thomas, Avery Bradley (a restricted free agent like Thomas) to go along with the players they draft at Nos. 6, 8 and 17. Keep in mind Ainge also would hold two first-round picks in the next two drafts.

No doubt there is risk involved with having so many young prospects on the roster. Some disappointing draft picks and developments are expected. At the same time, a couple of those players likely would become stars, while another couple should turn into good role players.

It’€™s nerve-racking to think about if you’€™re a Celtics fan, simply because there would be so much that would need to occur just to contend. But with other teams deep into trade talks for Love, this is a realistic alternative that everyone needs to be ready to accept. You know, just in case I’€™m wrong about Love.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow.

Read More: Ben McLemore, Danny Ainge, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Love
2013 NBA Draft Board
2014 NBA Draft
Celtics Headlines
NBA Headlines