|2016 Celtics Mock Draft Pick Power Rankings v1.0||11.05.15 at 11:05 am ET|
The Celtics own as many as eight draft picks in June 2016 — only one of which is their own — and the unprotected selection from the Nets is legitimately one of the most fascinating storylines in the entire NBA this season. We’ll regularly update the status of those selections, speculating when and who the Celtics will pick.
1. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn): Ben Simmons.
Brooklyn (0-5) has no reason to tank, and yet the Nets can’t help themselves. Through the first week of the season, only one team ranks in the bottom three in both offensive and defensive rating. It’s the Nets, who score 93.5 points (29th) and allow 109.7 points (28th) per 100 possessions. That’s a recipe for disaster, unless your Danny Ainge, in which case it’s a recipe for the most delicious meal he’s ever eaten.
7. Boston Celtics: Henry Ellenson.
|Studs and Duds: Avery Bradley, Celtics come up short in Indiana||11.04.15 at 10:00 pm ET|
It was not the prettiest evening of basketball Indiana’s ever seen, but the Celtics gave themselves a shot.
That shot was soon swallowed by a stifling defense that left Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley no breathing room on the final possession. Bradley’s 3-point attempt fell well short, and the C’s lost, 100-98. They dropped to 1-3 on the season with a brutal stretch over their next six games: Wizards, at Bucks, Pacers, Hawks, at Thunder and at Rockets.
Thomas led the C’s with 27 points and seven assists, and Bradley added 21 points despite an injured right index finger. Joe Crowder (12 points), Evan Turner (11 points) and David Lee (10 points) also reached double figures. Paul George led the Celtics with 26 points, 10 rebounds and a wide-open 3 that broke a 93-93 tie with 2:13 remaining.
For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.
|Jae Crowder commits greatest turnover in NBA history||11.04.15 at 8:36 pm ET|
If the Celtics were going to commit another turnover before the half, at least they made it the greatest one ever.
With a second left before the break, Celtics forward Jae Crowder tried to find Jared Sullinger with a fullcourt inbounds pass, except he found the bottom of the cup instead. The NBA should probably make a rule that if anyone ever does this again, everyone calls it a night — Celtics win. A proverbial mic drop. Instead, it was Pacers ball.
Dopest turnover of all time. https://t.co/SA64nLPakO
‘ RJML (@RyanJayLouis) November 5, 2015
The turnover marked the C’s 13th of the half, and Indiana took a 49-43 lead into the locker room.
|Lineup change: Marcus Smart out (sprained toe), Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson to start||11.04.15 at 6:28 pm ET|
The Celtics faced the Pacers in Indiana on Wednesday with a new look to their starting lineup.
Guard Marcus Smart missed Wednesday’s game due to a sprained left big toe, according to team officials. Isaiah Thomas got the nod in place of Smart. It marked Thomas’ first regular-season start as a Celtic.
Celtics officials announced Smart’s injury Wednesday afternoon from Indiana.
#NEBHInjuryReport: Marcus Smart will miss tonight’s game in Indiana with a sprained left big toe.
The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett tweeted out the following on Smart’s status:
Marcus Smart walks through Celts’ dressing room with boot on left foot.
‘ Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) November 4, 2015
Team officials also announced that Jared Sullinger and Amir Johnson would start in place of David Lee and Tyler Zeller.
Isaiah Thomas will start in place of the injured Marcus Smart. Jared Sullinger and Amir Johnson will also start at the 4 and 5.
And Avery Bradley was listed as questionable with a right index finger injury, but he made the start alongside Thomas in the backcourt.
|David Lee on cold start with Celtics: ‘I have to be better finishing the ball’||11.04.15 at 1:56 pm ET|
It’s way too early to panic.
But in his first three games in Boston, David Lee is averaging 5.3 points and shooting 25 percent from the floor. The Celtics suffered two losses against two good teams (Raptors and Spurs) last week, and haven’t gotten much offensive production out of their newcomer.
Lee isn’t making excuses. He acknowledged his shortcomings after Sunday’s loss against San Antonio.
“I’m out here thinking more than I’m playing, and that’s by no means an excuse,” Lee said Sunday. “I have to be better finishing the ball. That’s what I do. I think I’ve shot 50 percent or better for the last decade. If I’m a betting man, I’m thinking I’m going to snap out of it here.”
For his career, Lee has shot 53.2 percent from the floor. Just last season, Lee averaged below double digits in points for the first time since his rookie season. But still managed to shoot 51 percent in 18 minutes.
Expectations were somewhat high when the Celtics acquired Lee. Fresh off winning an NBA title as a backup on the Warriors, Lee was coming into a great situation. No one thought he would go back to being the All-Star he was a few years back, but in a starter’s role with a young Celtics core, it was fair to expect improvement from last season. At age 32, he still has plenty of basketball left in the tank.
On Sunday against the Spurs, Lee scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting, missed a jump shot and failed to tip in a rebound (twice), then Tim Duncan stuffed his shot so badly that it left him sitting on TD Garden’s new parquet floor. It was a rough game for Lee.
|Celtics assign James Young, Jordan Mickey to D-League||11.03.15 at 5:33 pm ET|
Add this to the Celtics‘ list of unsurprising moves: James Young and Jordan Mickey have been inside to the Red Claws, Boston’s D-League affiliate in Portland, Maine.
The first of the C’s three draft picks received in return for trading Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, Young has been inactive for the first three games of the season. He averaged 21.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and two assists in 32.9 minutes over 17 games during 11 trips back and forth from Maine last season.
“I guess it’s something that I remind myself, but James is still only 20, and as a matter of fact, he recently turned 20” Celtics president Danny Ainge said on media day when asked about Young’s progress. “I think he would have been one of the top 10 youngest guys in this year’s draft. I think James has made great strides. He had a terrific year last year in the D-League. I had numerous coaches tell me he was one of the best prospects they’ve ever seen in the D-League at age 19 last year.”
This marks Mickey’s first assignment to the D-League after being drafted No. 33 overall in June and receiving the heftiest contract for a rookie second-round pick in league history. He played two minutes at the end of the season-opening win over the 76ers — collecting two points, two rebounds and one assist in the process — but has been inactive since fellow rookie R.J. Hunter returned from illness.
It's not about where you start at its about where you finish at
— Jordan Mickey (@Jmickey_02) November 3, 2015
In an odd bit of statistical nonsense, Mickey currently leads the NBA in offensive rating (243.1 points per 100 possessions), and that’s not likely to change soon. Although, both Young and Mickey will be recalled and re-assigned to the Red Claws more times than you can count on two hands this season, so get accustomed to it.
|Why Celtics won’t sign Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller to contract extensions now||11.02.15 at 2:03 pm ET|
The NBA salary cap is expected to expand $20 million next summer, so Sullinger and Zeller have no reason to sign a team-friendly extension based on the league’s current salary structure. Likewise, the C’s have little incentive to sign Sullinger and Zeller to player-friendly deals now, because of the former’s conditioning issues and the latter’s inconsistent production.
Consider that fellow 2012 NBA Draft first-round pick Jeremy Lamb, who couldn’t crack the regular rotation in Oklahoma City for his first three seasons, is reportedly signing a three-year, $21 million contract extension two games into his Hornets career. Sullinger and Zeller should receive an average annual value of $7 million next summer if they respectively eat a handful of Big Macs for lunch every day and fall to fifth or sixth on the C’s frontcourt depth chart this season.
More likely, both will be seeking double-digit millions per season next summer, and by not offering them that kind of cash flow right now, the Celtics can monitor their progress closely now and maintain significant salary cap flexibility in 2016, when both become restricted free agents and represent $12.2 million in combined cap holds come July 1.
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