|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Kansas G Josh Selby||05.26.11 at 11:10 pm ET|
WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).
Weight: 195 pounds
Stats: 7.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.2 apg
What he brings: Selby arrived at Kansas with a reputation as a dynamic high-scoring guard who is better at creating off the dribble than shooting from the outside. However, his one year of college basketball told a different story from his high school career, when he was one of the nation’s most sought-after recruits.
After sitting out the first nine games because of an eligibility issue with the NCAA, Selby made his debut in December and scored 21 and 18 points in successive games against USC and Cal. But he injured his foot in February and was never able to make much of an impact after he returned. He’s also a classic tweener as he’s small for a shooting guard and hasn’t displayed many point guard skills.
Selby shot reasonably well from 3-point range (36 percent) but didn’t stand out in any one particular area. If not for the minimum age requirements, Selby would have entered the draft out of high school and been a first round draft pick last season, but after one year of college he’s on the first-round bubble.
Where the Celtics could get him: First round
What they’re saying: “It did not play out real great for Josh, but it wasn’t because he wasn’t good enough or didn’t try hard enough or didn’t fit in. It was because of health. After he got hurt, he could have just put it in park and not played. But he wanted to play even though he wasn’t 100 percent.” ‘ Kansas coach Bill Self
Notes: Selby has been a controversial figure in basketball circles for years even though he just turned 20 in March. Two stories worth reading: This piece from the New York Times from his senior year of high school and this more recent one from the Kansas City Star offer some insight.
|Report: Red Claws target Bruce Pearl for head coaching job||05.20.11 at 3:28 pm ET|
According to a report by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Maine Red Claws have contacted former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl about their head coaching job. The Red Claws have been affiliated with the Celtics and Bobcats since their debut in the NBA’s D-League in 2009.
Austin Ainge, the son of the Celtics president, coached the Red Claws for the last two seasons and recently joined the Celtics front office as director of player personnel. The Red Claws are run by former Celtics assistant coach Jon Jennings and have enjoyed two sellout seasons in Portland.
Pearl was fired after six mostly successful seasons at Tennessee after lying to NCAA investigators during an inquiry into major violations at the school.
|Kevin McHale talks to Slam||05.20.11 at 2:39 pm ET|
In an interview with Slam’s Tzvi Twersky, former Celtic great Kevin McHale looked back on his career and how he learned so many ingenious post moves. McHale was an undersized high schooler in Hibbing, Minn., who developed all kinds of up and under moves simply so he could survive against bigger players.
“I grew from 5-11 as a sophomore to 6-7, 6-8, maybe close to 6-9, by the end of my senior year of high school, and I grew to be 6-10 and a quarter,” McHale said. “But I never knew that [was going to happen]. When I first became a basketball junkie, I was just a small, little skinny dude and then I became a real tall, skinny dude.”
There’s great stuff in this interview about playing with Larry Bird, taking on the role of the sixth man and the rivalry with the Lakers. This quote about playing with a broken foot seems especially poignant, considering the way the current Celtics have battled injuries late in their careers.
“I don’t know. I say now in hindsight I wouldn’t do it again, but if I was out there and we had the chance to win a championship, I’d probably do it again. I mean, how often do you get a chance to go down that road? It’s the finals; how often do you get the chance to do that? It’s one of those things where the mature side of me now that I’m older says I wouldn’t do it. But you put me back at 27, 28, and say you have a chance to win another championship? I’d say, Let’s tape it up; let’s go.”
|An early look at potential Celtics draft prospects||05.18.11 at 6:56 pm ET|
Now that the lottery order has been set, the offseason focus turns to the NBA Draft held on June 23 in New York. Perhaps because of the uncertainty of the new collective bargaining agreement, this year’s draft is marked by who’s not in it as much as who made themselves available.
North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Baylor’s Perry Jones were all expected to be lottery picks and all three decided to stay in school diluting what was already considered a draft class devoid of franchise-changing talent. Consider that the likely top pick Kyrie Irving played exactly 11 college basketball games because of a foot injury.
After Irving, Arizona forward Derrick Williams looks like a ready-made NBA player, if not a star, and then there are a number of talented foreign players, along with points guards Brandon Knight from Kentucky and UConn’s Kemba Walker that will likely make up the bulk of the top 10.
The Celtics have the 25th pick, which doesn’t promise to provide much immediate help. Still, team president Danny Ainge has had an enviable track record of unearthing talent late in the draft including:
2003: Kendrick Perkins via Memphis with the 27th pick.
2005: Ryan Gomes (50).
2007: Glen Davis (35).
2008: Bill Walker (47), Semih Erden (60).
Like all NBA decision-makers, Ainge has missed on a few — Gerald Green in 2005 and J.R. Giddens over DeAndre Jordan in 2008 — and last year’s top pick Avery Bradley has yet to make his mark. But the name of the game at this stage in the draft is finding players talented enough to become pieces of a rotation and Ainge has delivered on far more picks than he’s missed.
The Celtics are in desperate needs of assets to aid the inevitable rebuilding process that will likely take place after the 2012 season. If Ainge can find a player who can contribute this season that would be a coup for a team with only five players under contract heading into the offseason.
The pre-draft camp in Chicago, which began on Wednesday will help untangle some of the first round clutter, but here’s an early look at some of the players who may be available with the 25th pick based on mock drafts from Draft Express, SI.com and ESPN (Insider).
Reggie Jackson, Boston College: Jackson looks like he made a wise decision to enter the draft after a breakout junior year for the Eagles. He may not be a true point guard, but he can score and he shot over 42 percent from 3-point range. Jackson looks like the kind of player who can step in and immediately compete for playing time.
Jimmer Fredette, BYU: Everyone knows about Jimmer at this point and there will be a loud and lengthy debate about whether his package of scoring skills will translate at the NBA level. He’s not likely to be there when the Celtics pick, but Ainge will have to be temped to take his fellow Cougar if he is.
Josh Selby, Kansas: The talented, and also troubled, Selby went from being one of the nation’s top recruits to a suspension and injury-filled freshman season. Selby shot less than 40 percent from the floor and had almost as many turnovers as assists. He’s the kind of player Ainge has taken chances on before, and he’s likely to be available at the end of the first round.
Travis Leslie, Georgia: Draft Express calls Leslie arguably the best athlete in college basketball and has him going to the Celtics in their recent mock. At 6-foot-4, Leslie is a bit of a tweener without a great 3-point shot. But in the right setting he could be an effective part of a rotation.
Kyle Singler, Duke: One of the few known commodities if only because he played four years at Duke. Singler has decent size at 6-foot-8, but isn’t considered an exceptional athlete. He’s a decent scorer and rebounder, but doesn’t stand out in either area. Singler is a solid, experienced player with limited upside, which is why he would be around late in the first round.
Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA: The easy comparison is Tayshaun Prince because of his thin 6-foot-8 frame. Prince was also drafted late in the first round, but he was a far more accomplished college player than Honeycutt who doesn’t have a defined offensive game. The tools are there for him to become a defensive specialist and at 20 years old, he has time to add to his game.
Davis Bertans, Latvia: He’s 6-foot-10, 18 years old and can shoot the lights out. He’s described as a project who may not be ready to come to the NBA just yet, but a talented project.
Tobias Harris, Tennessee: Harris is one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft and doesn’t figure to be around with his mock status ranging from the end of the lottery to the early 20’s. He had a strong freshman season amid in-season turbulence with the rest of the Tennessee program. The 6-foot-8 Harris is already a good scorer with room to improve.
Justin Harper, Richmond: At 6-foot-10, 225 pounds, Harper is one of the best long-range shooting big men in the draft. He averaged 18 points a game and shot almost 45 percent from 3-point range in his senior season for the Spiders capping a college career that saw steady improvement. The Celtics put a premium on big men who can shoot and Harper definitely fits the criteria.
Jordan Williams, Maryland: The comparison has been made to a young Kendrick Perkins because Williams is primarily a post player who has struggled with his conditioning at an early age. Both SI and ESPN have the Celtics taking Williams in their mocks, while Draft Express has him as a mid second-rounder. He made a significant jump in his sophomore season, averaging almost 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Note: Draft Express, considered the best online source for NBA draft news, has extensive scouting reports and statistics and is well worth exploring.
|First things first: Examining the Celtics roster for 2011-12||05.13.11 at 6:04 pm ET|
The first item of business for Celtics president Danny Ainge was locking up coach Doc Rivers to a long-term contract, which they agreed upon Friday for five years. With Rivers on board for more than just a last run with the big three, the Celtics will enter an offseason where they are looking at the long-term, while also trying to stay contenders for next season.
The real overhaul is likely to begin after the 2012 season when Kevin Garnett‘s contract comes off the books and a new collective bargaining agreement is in place. The 2012 free agency class in also much stronger than this summer’s crop with Dwight Howard expected to be the main prize.
Building around the core for one more shot at a championship is really the only option for Ainge unless he is willing to trade one of his aging stars. In an end of the season meeting with the media, Ainge said that he always considers all options. Still, it would be a surprise.
Assuming Ray Allen picks up his player option, which he said he intends to do, the Celtics will have over $64 million committed to six players. That would put them over the salary cap under the current rules and while they are likely to be altered under a new CBA, the cap number is not likely to go up from its current $58 million.
“I know this about the big three: they still have a lot of basketball in them,” Ainge said. “How much can they carry a team, [and be] 20-point a game scorers, I don’t know. I do know they’re still very talented but we need to add talent around them.”
It’s important to note that no one knows what the new salary cap rules will look like under a new CBA. Therefore it’s impossible to predict what kind of moves Ainge will be able to make this offseason. Under the existing rules, Ainge would be able to go over the cap to re-sign his own players and offer free agents from other teams money from the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions, as well as the veterans minimum.
Before we get to a new CBA — and free agency — here’s a look at the current roster, with comments from Ainge. Read the rest of this entry »
|Doc Rivers agrees to five-year deal to remain with C’s||05.13.11 at 12:32 pm ET|
“We wanted him for five years and he wanted to stay for five years,” Ainge said. “I think Doc is the best coach in the league, so I think it’s great for us.”
Rivers indicated it was likely he would return to the Celtics after Wednesday’s season-ending loss to the Heat. “I’m leaning heavily [toward] coming back,” he said. “I haven’t made that decision, but I can tell you I probably will. I’ve kind of come to that over the last couple of weeks.”
Rivers has coached the Celtics for seven seasons, posting a regular-season record of 336-238 and a playoff mark of 46-34. He led the C’s to the 2008 NBA championship. If he serves out the length of the contract, Rivers will pass Tom Heinsohn for second on the list of longest-tenured coaches in franchise history behind only Red Auerbach, who coached for 16 seasons.
“He’s a great leader in the face of adversity,” Ainge said. “There’s nobody I’d rather have on my side more than Doc.”
Rivers decided after last season to come back for one more year. The two sides talked about a long-term deal, but the feeling was that it was too rushed and they agreed to resume talks in training camp. They let the issue be until mid-season when they talked some more and then essentially decided on a direction as the playoffs began. “He understood that it was important for me to know,” Ainge said.
With Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo under contract and Ray Allen likely to exercise his player-option for next season, the Celtics will return the core of the team that Rivers has coached the last four seasons. Garnett and Allen will both be free agents after next season and the Celtics will likely undergo an overhaul, but Ainge said Rivers was committed to the long haul.
“He knows the circumstances of our team as well as anyone, the players, the ages the contracts, he gets it all,” Ainge said. “He wants to be part of this franchise and he wants to be working with us. We have a great relationship with owners, management and coaching that I think is unique.”
|Celtics look to come back for one more run||05.12.11 at 1:53 am ET|
Rivers contract is up and there has been speculation that he would take a year off to watch his son Austin play at Duke. But Rivers said that he had more or less decided to return during the last two weeks.
“I haven’t made that decision, but I can tell you I probably will [come back],” Rivers said. “I’m a Celtic and I love our guys. I want to win again here and I’m competitive as hell. I can tell you that is where I am at today. Tomorrow I may change my mind, but that’s where I’m at today.”
Unlike last season when several of their key players were unsigned, Rivers is the biggest domino for the Celtics this offseason and reaction in the locker room was overwhelmingly positive.
“I want to put this on the record, Doc already committed to me and said he was coming back so he can’t go back against his word,” Rajon Rondo said. Asked what his career would be like without Rivers, Rondo said, “I don’t even want to imagine. I really want him to come back.”
With Rivers seemingly on board, other pieces began to fall into place as well. Ray Allen, who has a player option for next season, also declared his intentions to return. “This has been my team,” he said. “I have been full steam ahead with this team. I don’t have any plans to go anywhere else.”
With Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett already under contract, the Celtics core looks like they will come back for one more run. Center Jermaine O’Neal also has a year left and he said that he felt his body would allow him to come back for one more season. “If you ask me do I think I have another year in me, yeah, I do,” he said.
The Celtics will have some decisions to make. Glen Davis is an unrestricted free agent and he may have played, and talked, his way out of Boston after an uneven playoff performance.
“You can’t just base it on just the playoffs,” Davis said. “My whole body of work I feel like I can play in this league. I can start in this league. My second year when Kevin went down my third year playing in the playoffs and this year was my best year. I just didn’t play well in the playoffs this year. Things happen like that. I don’t think this playoffs is going to hurt me as much.”
Asked if he wanted to stay, Davis said, “I have given thought about that. I love Boston and I plan on wishing I can stay. But you never know like [Kendrick Perkins] situation. He was here for eight years he wanted to stay but it just might not work my way. It’s just how it is.”
He continued, “I want to be a player in this league. I feel like I have a lot more to offer. I want to show the world my talent.”
Jeff Green is a restricted free agent, meaning the team can match any offer he receives. “There’s a lot to my game that people haven’t seen,” he said. “There’s a lot I can bring to this team.”
Delonte West and Nenad Krstic are also free agents, as are Von Wafer, Sasha Pavlovic, Carlos Arroyo and Troy Murphy. The Celtics would undoubtedly like to bring West back. Despite his struggles, Krstic does have value as big men with his experience are hard to find. The future is less certain for the other four.
Avery Bradley is also under contract and this will be a big summer for him as he tries to carve out a niche for next season. The Celtics love his talent, but he received only scarce playing time.