|Brad Stevens ‘putting the pieces together’ for upcoming season||09.08.16 at 12:39 pm ET|
Despite the seemingly constant drama surrounding the Celtics this offseason, head coach Brad Stevens has been surprisingly quiet. At the ABCD Hoops for Hope event at the TD Garden on Tuesday, Stevens opened up about a number of things that defined this offseason.
And though he’s been quiet, it hasn’t stopped him from planning constantly and paying mind to the outlook of the upcoming season.
“I think as a coach, you get away a little bit, but at some point you’re antsy to get back at it,” Stevens told reporters. “So maybe re-writing the third version of what you’re doing? I don’t know. You think about it all year. I’m just going to be ready for September 27th. Ever since the end of July I’ve had a pretty good idea of what we’re going to look like as a team and who’s going to help us in what way. It’s just a matter now of putting the pieces together and hopefully playing well”
The Celtics that fell in the first round of the 2016 postseason, though similar, will have some major changes. There was the addition of big man Al Horford, former Celtic Gerald Green, as well as No. 3 draft pick Jaylen Brown.
With such additions, there’s been incessant changes to the outlook of the roster and thus the approach the team will have to take.
“I think you’re always tweaking and changing and you’re always making adjustments,” he said, “But I think you have to put a lot of time and thought into what your new guys have done well, how that plays within what you’ve done or if you need to change some of what you’ve done to fit them better. You go through that, and you make sure you come up with a plan that fits everybody the best to bring out all of their best strengths.”
Defense was never an issue for the Celtics in 2015-16.
|Avery Bradley looking to ‘lead by example’ this season||09.07.16 at 3:32 pm ET|
With the new look of the Celtics beginning to mold, the “Big Three” era is more and more quickly starting to feel like a thing of the past. And that’s not just a figment of the imagination.
The only player on the current roster to have played with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce is now-seventh-year pro Avery Bradley.
Who else was on that roster in 2011-12 Celtics who haven’t quite survived? Try E’Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson and Marquis Daniels among others.
But now 25 years old and the longest tenured member of the Celtics, Bradley has become one of the most prominent leaders on the team, despite his generally quiet disposition.
“Lead by example,” said Bradley in an interview with Celtics.com’s Marc D’Amico when asked to describe his leadership role with the C’s. “I don’t really speak that much. I just try to be professional on and off the court, and hopefully everybody follows.”
The 6-foot-2 shooting guard has already taken on quite a role on both ends of the court for the Celtics. He averaged 15.2 points per game last season and was stout on defense, averaging 1.5 steals per game while shutting down some of the league’s top offensive players in the process.
Bradley played two seasons with “The Big Three”, taking notes along the way at just 18 and 19 years old during that time frame. With that experience now, he knows that the remarkably young team that will be around him this season is in a sense looking in the same thing from him that he did seven seasons ago.
“I was just able to listen to them,” said Bradley. “KG and those guys, they told me what I needed to do to be successful and I would listen to those guys because I wanted to be like them. I knew what it would take for me to stick in the NBA, and that was making sure I was always on time and all of those things.”
Added Bradley: “I can’t preach something that I’m not doing,” he said. “That’s the thing about it – all of my teammates see me being professional, so I hope they’ll do the same.”
|Doc Rivers on Paul Pierce: ‘When he retires, he’s got to retire as a Celtic’||09.07.16 at 11:27 am ET|
Paul Pierce has not yet solidified his plans for the upcoming season, but if retirement is that decision, Pierce’s most recent (and most familiar) coach is encouraging him to do so as a member of the Celtics.
At Tuesday’s annual ABCD Hoops Dream fundraiser at TD Garden, Clippers coach Doc Rivers spoke to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg about the future of arguably the most prized player to wear green since the turn of the millennium, and he said Pierce should sign a one-day contract with the Celtics when he decides to hang up his sneakers.
“I think it’s important. I think we have to do that. And I think we will,” Rivers said. “Danny [Ainge] and [assistant GM] Mike [Zarren], we’ve already talked. The day he retires, he’s going to retire a Celtic. He has to. Paul’s a Celtic. So when he retires, he’s got to retire as a Celtic. I don’t think anyone disagrees with me.”
Should he return, Pierce will be playing in his 19th NBA season, 15 of which were with the Celtics. Last season with the Clippers was an underwhelming one, as the 38-year-old averaged just 6.1 points over 18.1 minutes per game.
“Paul didn’t have the best year last year. I don’t think he wants to go out that way. So I think that’s why he’s working to try to come back,” Rivers said. “But he still may change his mind next week. So we just have to wait. I told him if I see him at training camp, I’m assuming he’s playing.”
Rivers, who coached the Celtics from 2004 until 2013, when he left for the Clippers, said Pierce could still play at a high level should he come back.
“If I don’t think they can play, then I tell them that. But I think Paul can play,” Rivers said. “I don’t know how much he’ll play, but he can play. I’ve always thought it’s easy for someone else to tell you to retire; I think that’s something that the player has to come to by himself.”
In his frequent discussions with Pierce this offseason, Rivers said he’s heard different things about Pierce’s plan for 2016-17.
“Depends on the day I talk to him. Paul has had the summer, he’s gone back and forth,” Rivers said. “I think he has a right to do that. I really do.”
Rivers said he plans to speak with Pierce later this week but is not expecting a definitive answer.
|Jaylen Brown works out with Jimmy Butler||09.06.16 at 8:56 pm ET|
Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown is gearing up for his NBA debut by working out with one of the best shooting guards in the league.
Brown posted a video on Twitter of himself working out with Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler over the weekend. The video shows the C’s first-round pick running a leg drill with help from the Bulls guard.
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) September 4, 2016
Back in June, Butler complimented Brown during an appearance on Bill Simmons’ podcast, stating the young prospect reminded him of himself after playing him one-on-one back in June.
Brown spoke to reporters in New York after the draft about the intense game he had with Butler.
“We went tooth and nail at it. … I guess he thought it would be easy, and then somebody won the first game and then he wanted to keep going,” Brown told reporters in New York. “And so we kept going after that, then he won the second, then he won the third, then I won the fourth, and we ended up playing all the way to 21.”
Butler — who reportedly was targeted as a trade possibility by the Celtics this summer — is getting ready for a highly anticipated season with the Bulls. After winning a gold medal with Team USA at the Rio Olympics, Butler will be teaming up with new teammates Dwyane Wade and former Celtic Rajon Rondo.
|Celtics waive shooting guard John Holland||08.31.16 at 8:29 pm ET|
The Celtics announced Wednesday afternoon that they waived shooting guard John Holland. Above all else, it was more of a courtesy to the 6-foot-5 Holland, who was very much at the bottom of the C’s totem pole and highly unlikely to make the final roster.
A source told Celticsblog that the 27-year-old has offers in both the United States and Europe.
The swingman form the Bronx played at Boston University, then went overseas before making a return to the United States, signing with the Canton Charge of the D-League last Dec. 23. He signed a non-guaranteed two-year deal with the Celtics in April and appeared in just one game: the second game of the Celtics’ playoff series against the Hawks, in which he played less than a minute.
From a development standpoint, the decision makes plenty of sense. Even with a solid camp, Holland likely still would be deep on the bench had he even made the NBA roster. That, in turn, would steal a roster spot from the likes of Ben Bentil, R.J. Hunter or James Young — individuals the Celtics have invested much more in.
|Jonas Jerebko dabbles in eSports, buys team of video gamers||08.31.16 at 2:55 pm ET|
Picture this: Jonas Jerebko is joining a class with Shaquille O’Neal.
On Tuesday it was announced the Celtics forward bought the Renegades, an eSports team, which, for those unfamiliar, is essentially the major leagues of video games. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
O’Neal as well as former Celtic Rick Fox already have thrown their hat into the eSports ring, and though it won’t take Jerebko away from the court, it certainly is a 180 from how he spends his winter months.
Per ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Jerebko was going to buy the Renegades at the start of the calendar year but wanted to “seize the opportunity” to purchase the team immediately when he noticed there were four expiring contracts.
With his purchase, the 29-year-old also took on a “Call of Duty” team called Ground Zero and put that squad under the Renegades umbrella. Ground Zero will compete as part of the organization in the Call of Duty World League Championship at the beginning of September. Long term, Jerebko would like to continue to help the team grow and field a previously defunct “League of Legends,” “Halo” and “Overwatch” team as part of the Renegades.
|R.J. Hunter on competing for a roster spot: ‘I trust myself more than ever’||08.30.16 at 11:37 am ET|
R.J. Hunter should not be in the position he is in.
The incessant griping about the Celtics’ lack of perimeter shooting is justified, with there being few — if any — options both in the starting lineup and off the bench for reliable 3-point shooting.
However, Hunter, a first-round pick in 2015, is known for his shot, so this should be his wheelhouse. Instead, he’s on the fringe of making the final 15-man roster.
“It’s just spurts where it’s like, ‘Bro, what I am I doing wrong?’ ” Hunter said, speaking to MassLive.com on Saturday at the Basketball Hall of Fame. “And it’s nothing. You’re just on a really good team.”
Hunter brings up a good point. On most any other NBA team, Hunter would have been a much more heavily utilized asset, not the eight minutes per game player he was in his 36 NBA games last season. Conversely, the 22-year-old didn’t do himself many favors when given the opportunity from Brad Stevens to play.
The shooting guard shot a pedestrian 30.2 percent from 3, while putting together a 36.7 percent field goal percentage, totaling a 2.7 points per game total over the course of the season. As a result of the underwhelming performances, he found himself in the D-League for eight games during the middle of the season. While there he shot slightly worse from 3-point range than in the NBA, with a 29.6 percent mark, but ultimately averaged 13.8 points per game.
“At that point, it was just so completely mental,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, my ego got in the way of me making shots. It was almost like for me, whatever I do, I’m in the D-League, and if I don’t do well, it looks worse. And that’s just the wrong attitude to have instead of just going in there. When you have that mentality, now I’m rushing shots. I’m not finishing shots. I’m not really putting in preparation like I have to on every shot. That’s part of growing up, though — you’re in the league, and you’re caught up in it.”
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