|NBA draft: What they’re saying about the C’s pick||05.20.10 at 12:20 pm ET|
The playoffs are in full swing, but after the ping pong balls were dropped Tuesday night in the NBA draft lottery, many teams now turn their focus to prospective players who can help them get to the next level. This year’s draft does not have a prototypical superstar, but there are more than a few potential stars to pick from.
The Celtics, although battling with Orlando right now for the right to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA finals, pick 19th overall in the June 24 draft. With an aging roster, the Celtics hope to land a player who can be productive for years to come.
On Wednesday, we gave you 10 candidates for selection by the Celtics. We’ve also bounced around the web to find out what other sites are predicting for the C’s. What we found is a variety of predictions, with Butler standout Gordon Hayward the only one to be budgeted to Boston by a few prognosticators.
NBADraft.net has the C’s grabbing Luke Babbit, a 6-foot-8 small forward/power forward hybrid from Nevada. Touted as a highly skilled big man, Babbit possesses a strong 3-point touch as well as an impressive mid-range game. He averaged 21.9 points per game last season as a sophomore while shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. He is described as a tweener, however, and will have a difficult time defending small forwards in the NBA.
The same site is predicting the C’s will draft Sherron Collins, a 5-11 point guard from Kansas, with their second selection, 52nd overall. Collins, who had a very successful career at Kansas ‘ winning a title his sophomore year ‘ will come into the league a bit raw. He is quick and elusive and has proven he can handle the ball when the game is on the line. Ultimately, he could be a good backup for Rondo, but cannot play any other positions. His size does not allow him to play 2 guard, so he would serve as a spark off the bench.
Yahoo!Sports has the Celtics taking Elliot Williams, a 6-5 shooting guard from Memphis who transferred from Duke. Even if they re-sign free agent Ray Allen, the C’s could stand to shore up their depth at guard. Although Yahoo! explains that Williams’ outside game needs some work, he could be a good addition to an already impressive backcourt.
MyNBADraft.com and TheHoopDoctors.com have the Celtics taking Hayward, the NCAA tournament standout from underdog Butler. Hayward averaged 15 points and eight rebounds a game last season while shooting 46 percent from the floor. HoopsWorld.com also has the C’s taking Hayward in the first round, then 6-5 SF/PF Marquis Blakely from Vermont in the second round. Read the rest of this entry »
|Ainge on The Big Show: Sheed lives for big games||at 6:53 am ET|
A day after the Celtics went up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals against Orlando, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly call to The Big Show on Wednesday afternoon to talk about Doc Rivers‘ strategy against the Magic, Rajon Rondo‘s emergence, Rasheed Wallace‘s strong postseason play, and the team’s recent dominance over the top two seeds in the East.
‘With each of these individuals on our team, I know what they are capable of doing and it’s taken a great performance out of each guy,’ Ainge said. ‘We’re getting a lot of contributions out of a lot of people right now and they’re all playing their best basketball of the year together. We’ll see what they’re capable of doing.’
A transcript of the interview follows. To hear the full interview, click on The Big Show audio on demand page.
How are you feeling right now?
I’m doing well. That was an exciting game last night.
Celtics analyst Cedric Maxwell said that the things going on in the stands reminded him of Philadelphia in the ‘80s. Was it that bad?
I heard of some incidents, but I didn’t see anything. Maxwell had a better view of that than I did.
There’s a story out that Marquis Daniels‘ father was tased during the game. Does the team have anything to say on that?
No, we won’t comment on that. I talked to Marquis after the game and I’m aware of the situation, but don’t know all the details.
It seems like playing single coverage has really tripped up Orlando and it’s allowed the Celtics to cover out on the perimeter.
Well, I didn’t think we did such a good job last night. We got the win, but Dwight [Howard] had his way inside. He was out of the game for a short period of time with foul trouble, and we made a little bit of a run. He’s still a very dominant force. The first game, I thought that he struggled, and the second game, I thought he dominated. Read the rest of this entry »
|Celtics first-round draft prospects||05.19.10 at 8:16 pm ET|
Prior to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night, 14 teams watched the ping pong balls determine their draft location in the NBA draft lottery, with the Wizards, 76ers and Nets grabbing the top three spots, respectively. Though the Celtics weren’t one of those teams, they will have their own pivotal decisions to make on June 24, regardless of the outcome of their playoff run.
Celtics president Danny Ainge has done fairly well in past drafts. When Ainge has had high picks to work with, he’s turned Al Jefferson and Jeff Green into Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and helped bring Boston a 17th banner. The Celtics also have had success with later picks such as Glen Davis (35th in 2007), Rajon Rondo (21st in 2006), Leon Powe (49th in 2006) and Tony Allen (25th in 2004). All of those picks (the first three of which technically were chosen by other teams but were part of draft-day trades) have been of some service to Boston and have worked out well compared to other late fliers.
Picking at No. 19 this year, Boston will need to rejuvenate its veteran roster and continue to find late steals. Here’s a list of 10 players the Celtics potentially could draft in the first round. Read the rest of this entry »
|NBA to investigate ref’s run-in with Magic fan||at 3:10 pm ET|
The NBA said it will investigate a confrontation that occurred between a fan and veteran referee Joe DeRosa at halftime of the Celtics-Magic game Tuesday night in Orlando.
When DeRosa walked to the scorer’s table with fellow refs Marc Davis and Bill Kennedy, fans starting yelling at the officials. One fan, identified by the Orlando Sentinel a Wyndham Vacation Ownership CEO Franz Hanning, walked up to the table to yell at DeRosa. The ref responded by tossing the game ball to Hanning, who tossed it back. DeRosa then signaled for Amway Arena security, who relocated Hanning to another seat.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the Sentinel, “The situation will be reviewed after the game.”
|Doc on alert for letdown||05.18.10 at 7:55 pm ET|
ORLANDO — It has been suggested that the Celtics should be thrilled to go back to Boston with a split, which they have already earned with their Game 1 victory. That’s not their mindset, obviously, but that doesn’t mean that Doc Rivers isn’t aware of the possibility.
“You can talk about it, but you don’t know until the game starts,” Rivers said prior to Game 2. “You’ll know early, at least I will. That doesn’t mean you can’t try to get them out of it during the game, if possible. But it something that is always on your mind of you win a game or a couple of games because it is human nature. That’s something we all fight.”
The Celtics haven’t always handled prosperity well this season. They have won four straight games in the playoffs and they only had two such streaks since mid-December. But this is obviously a whole new set of circumstances.
|Legler on D&C: Sheed’s ‘D’ key for C’s||at 10:15 am ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to talk about the Celtics-Magic series. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Legler pointed to the much-maligned Rasheed Wallace as the pivotal figure in the C’s Game 1 victory. “You have to have guys that not only physically are capable of playing Dwight Howard in single coverage as much as you can, you have to have guys that are emotionally ready for it and want the challenge. Boston’s got a few guys like that,” Legler said. “I thought Rasheed Wallace was the key to their victory in Game 1. I thought he got in the head of Dwight Howard. I thought his nastiness, his edge was something Dwight Howard wasn’t prepared for, ready for. Rasheed, you think of him as a 7-foot 3-point shooter and a finesse player, but that’s not the case on the defensive end of the floor. He has been, in the 15 years he’s been in the league, he’s been one of the pre-eminent post defenders we’ve had. He loves the challenge.
“His versatility defensively I thought was the key to the first game, and it will be the key to the series moving forward. If [Kendrick] Perkins and Rasheed can play [Howard] that successfully one-on-one and you stay out on the 3-point shooters, Orlando’s in big trouble.”
Legler said the pressure is on Orlando’s big man to come up big. “Dwight Howard has to do more,” Legler said. “He has to be a guy who can knock down a face-up jump shot once in a while. I’ve never seen him even take one, much less make one. He doesn’t have enough ability to go to a sky hook or go to a turnaround jump shot in the post. He’s a guy that simply has to overpower you and he has to catch the ball in great position to be able to do that, and the Boston Celtics are determined not to let that happen. … What is his efficiency going to be when he catches the ball? It wasn’t there in Game 1. It’s going to have to get a lot better.”
Legler said the Celtics’ balance makes them difficult to defend, but he points to Ray Allen as the player the Magic should focus on stopping. Said Legler: “Ray Allen, to me, is the barometer for the Celtics. He always has been. He’s a guy, his activity offensively, when he’s running off those screens and he’s getting clean looks, or he’s getting looks in transition, that loosens up everything. … Ray Allen, to me, is a guy that you’ve got to get under control and make sure he’s not getting up in the mid-20s. Because when he’s there, the Celtics rarely lose.”
Asked for his prediction about where LeBron James will sign as a free agent, Legler said he would rank the favorites as Chicago, New York and Cleveland.
|Celtics have room for improvement||05.17.10 at 1:28 pm ET|
ORLANDO — The important thing is that they got the win, but the Celtics know that if they are going to head home with two games in their back pocket that they have work to do. First and foremost, is cleaning up on the boards.
The Celtics allowed 15 offensive rebounds in Game 1 against the Magic and they know that can’t continue.
“That’s real disturbing,” Paul Pierce said. “That’s something we gave up mostly in the second half.”
Pierce is sort of right on that count — the Celtics allowed eight of the 15 in the second half — but the problem became more noticeable in the fourth quarter when the Magic made their run. As is often the case, a decent number of the Magic’s second-chance points came off dribble penetration and freelancing from their defensive system.
“It wasn’t their bigs in some places, it was their guards,” Doc Rivers said. “[Matt] Barnes hurt us a couple of times. We double teamed three times and they scored all three times where we were not supposed to double team, and then the dribble penetration. [J.J.] Redick killed us off the dribble.”
By Rivers count the Celtics double-teamed on three occasions, and they got burned each time.
“It’s instinct,” Rivers said. “We had a horrible one, where we doubled Dwight [Howard]. Dwight was five feet off the block and we went and doubled him and Jason Williams was standing by himself behind the 3. That’s just an instinct and we do allow that, but we have to be smarter against this team. They kill you when you double them. If you double team this team they’ll hurt you.”
The Celtics also want to figure out their pick and roll coverage. Jameer Nelson burned them in the second half when they went under the screen. He’s too good a shooter to allow him open looks.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to stop Jameer Nelson in the pick and roll,” Pierce said. “He really got hot in the second half. We’re far from being where we want to be.”
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