|Celtics free-agent options at center||06.27.11 at 6:46 pm ET|
Sure, the NBA is on the precipice of a July 1 lockout, but we can still examine what options will be available to the Celtics at each position once the salary cap landscape is determined (God knows when). We’ll start with the C’s biggest need: Centers.
The Celtics started the 2010-11 season with four centers on the roster (Kendrick Perkins, Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal and Semih Erden) along with sometimes center Glen Davis. Now, a year later, only JO remains from that list. While Big Baby remains an option depending on his value on the open market, the C’s still need at least one if not two more guys who can play the five.
The Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Kevin Garnett, $21.2; Paul Pierce, $15.33; Ray Allen, $10; Rajon Rondo, $10; Jermaine O’Neal, $6.23; Avery Bradley, $1.53), and Jeff Green is due at least another $5.91 million this offseason. That leaves little wiggle room for Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, no matter how the collective bargaining agreement shakes out.
As a result, don’t expect any big-name free agents. So, let’s start by crossing Nene (early termination option), Marc Gasol ($4.5 million qualifying offer) and Tyson Chandler (unrestricted) off the list of potential targets. While any of those three would be a fantastic fit on the 2011-12 Celtics (assuming, of course, there’s a 2011-12 season in the NBA), they’re all out of their league.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at center, separating the current free-agent players into four categories ‘¦
|All you need to know about Celtics draft picks JaJuan Johnson & E’Twaun Moore||06.24.11 at 1:07 pm ET|
After the initial reaction to the Celtics‘ first-round selection of Purdue senior power forward JaJuan Johnson with the No. 27 pick and the second-round selection of Purdue shooting guard E’Twaun Moore with the No. 55 pick — getting all the “Moore Johnson” and “Danny Ainge ordered a couple Boilermakers” jokes out of the way — it’s time to analyze what exactly each of these guys can provide. Here’s pretty much all you need to know about them.
The pre-draft measurements for the Celtics’ two picks (each player’s ranking at his particular position in parentheses) …
JaJuan Johnson (PF) and E’Twaun Moore (SG)
6-foot-10 (2nd) … Height … 6-foot-4 (15th)
220 lbs. (28th) … Weight … 191 lbs. (28th)
7-foot-2 (11th) … Wingspan … 6-foot-9.5 (10th)
8-foot-11.5 (6th) … Standing Reach … 8-foot-3.5 (20th)
7.5% (13th) … Body Fat … 7.6% (8th)
33.5″ (3rd) … Standing Vertical … 32.0″ (7th)
38.0″ (3rd) … Max Vertical … 34.5″ (13th)
15 reps (5th) … Bench (185 lbs.) … n/a
11.21 (19th) … Lane Agility … 11.12 (17th)
3.14 (33rd) … 3/4 Court Sprint … 3.31 (19th)
What can you take away from these numbers? Obviously, Johnson’s got great leaping ability to match his height. He’s strong, but he’s also skinny and ranks 13th among incoming power forwards with his 7.5 percent body fat. While those issues can be improved with relative ease, his speed and quickness probably won’t.
As for Moore, he ranks in the middle or bottom among incoming shooting guards in most of these measurables, but his wingspan and leaping ability might make up for some of his lack of height.
Where the Celtics were picking — at No. 27 and No. 55 — they weren’t going to land the athletic freaks with off-the-charts measurables. Instead, they targeted guys whose four years of college experience and production translated into a school-record 107 victories.
So, let’s break down their per-game statistics as seniors for a Boilermakers team that finished 26-8 and lost to VCU in the third round of the NCAA Tournament …
|NBA draft-day rumors: Celtics ‘leaning towards Jeremy Tyler’ says Chris Mannix||06.23.11 at 5:19 pm ET|
There can be a lot up in the air when a team has the 25th pick in any draft, but that doesn’t mean a team can’t have a preference for a particular player when selecting at that spot.
Despite rumors that the team is considering trading their 25th pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft, Sports Illustrated writer Chris Mannix tweeted “Boston leaning towards Jeremy Tyler w/ 25th pick, source says.” Mannix had told the Dennis & Callahan show that Tyler was a possibility for the C’s on Wednesday.
For a breakdown of Tyler, who played abroad in Japan last season, click here.
|Kevin Garnett’s blog: ‘Wish the season ended better’||at 3:59 pm ET|
For the first time since the end of the 2010-11 Celtics season, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett contributed to his Anta shoe company blog, expressing his desire to start working on next season and discussing his upcoming trip to China this summer. Here’s the entire entry:
What’s up China? Having a great summer right now. Wish the season ended better, but making the best of my time. Been relax’n and catching up with some things that I don’t get to do during the season. Getting ready to get back to the “lab” and get my body right! Thinking about getting everything set up for my trip back to China! Man, can’t wait! Sitting at the crib listen’n to my man Damani’s album “On Vacation from Vacation.”
Thanks for the support and catch up with you all soon. Maybe by blog or when I’m in China! Geeked for the trip!
All the best and Reach Higher
Unlike Garnett, Glen Davis seems to contribute to his Ayo Baby Blog every chance he gets. If you have any interest in seeing Davis as a lobsterman, you can do that below. What will these guys do when there’s actually a lockout?
|Danny Ainge: 2012 NBA Draft ‘will be better’||06.22.11 at 3:49 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Danny Ainge has crafted a reputation as a GM who isn’t afraid to wheel and deal. Just don’t expect it Thursday night. So, in other words Celtics fans, be patient.
The Celtics president of basketball operations said Wednesday that he doesn’t foresee trading his two draft picks on Thursday to move up for an elite position in the NBA Draft. The Celtics are currently slotted to select at position 25 in the first round and 55th overall in the second round.
“We don’t want to move next year’s pick to [move up] in this year’s draft because the picks we have aren’t good enough to get to the very, very top of the draft and we think next year’s draft will be better,” Ainge said.
The Celtics will get a 2012 first-round pick via their Feb. 24 trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder for Kendrick Perkins. It will be the less favorable pick from either the Minnesota Timberwolves or Los Angeles Clippers, and is “Top-10” protected.
|Report: Celtics trading up for USC’s Nikola Vucevic?||at 1:14 pm ET|
When we profiled University of Southern California center Nikola Vucevic as a potential Celtics NBA draft target two weeks ago, the 7-foot European was expected to be around when Danny Ainge and company picked at No. 25. Now, if the C’s want Vucevic, they may have to move up to select him, and one report indicated they may be willing to do just that.
Here’s the relevant nugget of the story from the Daily News in Los Angeles, where Vucevic played three seasons under USC head coach Kevin O’Neill:
NBA personnel said this week Vucevic will probably be drafted somewhere between the No. 9 and No. 17 picks, which makes it seem silly there were doubts he would turn pro a few months ago.
“He’s moved up drastically during his workouts,” said an NBA general manager who did not wish to be identified. “A lot of teams like him now.”
In Chad Ford’s latest mock draft on ESPN.com, Vucevic is slotted to go to the Bobcats with the 19th pick, and the Celtics are projected to select Jeremy Tyler at No. 25. Ford’s analysis:
|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: BYU G Jimmer Fredette||06.21.11 at 11:54 am 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).
Position: Point Guard
Weight: 195 pounds
Stats: 28.9 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.4 rpg
What he brings: Holed up in his hideout with no Internet connection before he got shot in the face, even Osama bin Laden had probably heard of Fredette. When your first name is entered into Urban Dictionary as a verb (Jimmered: “to be repeatedly scored upon with a variety of off-balance 3-point shots, off-balance drives and amazing long shots”), you know you’ve arrived.
If Matt Christopher wrote a book about Jimmer, it’d be called “The Kid With Unlimited Range.” College basketball’s leading scorer, Fredette could put up points from anywhere on the floor — contested or uncontested, from mid-range to long-range, off the dribble or off screens, off-balance in the lane or squared up at the free-throw line. Didn’t matter, as evidenced by his 59.4 percent true shooting percentage despite defenses designed to stop him.
There’s no questioning his shooting ability, but there are serious doubts about how well Fredette’s game will translate to the next level. Despite a lightning-quick release and impressive passing ability, he’s undersized and unathletic (by NBA standards), so legitimate concerns exist about Fredette’s ability to get open looks on the perimeter and score at the rim.
And then there’s the issue of Fredette’s defense. Considering he wasn’t a great — or even good — defender at the collegiate level, it’s hard to imagine him stopping many guys in the association. How far Fredette falls in the first round will indicate the number of naysayers about his NBA potential, but at some point that shooting stroke will be too hard for any team looking for scoring punch off the bench to ignore.
Where the Celtics could get him: First round.
What they’re saying: “Jimmer is really a fun guy to watch. Jimmer’s a blast to watch. Jimmer is a terrific offensive player. He shoots deep. He scores in a variety of ways. He’s a really fun guy to watch play, because he’s a throwback. I don’t know who to compare him to. I haven’t really seen a player like Jimmer.” — Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge
Notes: Most NBA mock drafts have Fredette slotted to go to the Suns at No. 13, so it’s unlikely he could fall all the way to the Celtics at No. 25. … If he should drop a la Brady Quinn, there are the obvious BYU ties between Fredette and Ainge, as the former surpassed the latter’s school scoring record. … A fellow USA Basketball participant, Kevin Durant once tweeted: “Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the world.” … This profile of Fredette by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix — in which Jimmer compares himself to Steve Nash and Deron Williams — is probably the best out there.
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