|Report: Lawrence Frank is Pistons’ top choice||07.21.11 at 5:50 pm ET|
In his one season on Doc Rivers‘ staff with the Celtics, Lawrence Frank picked up the mantle from Tom Thibodeau as the team’s top assistant and lead defensive coach and returned the team to the top of the defensive rankings. The Celtics led the NBA in points allowed, were second in field goal percentage defense and finished in a virtual tie with Thibodeau’s new team — Chicago — for points allowed per 100 possessions.
Frank spent much of the offseason interviewing for head coaching jobs in Houston, Golden State and Toronto, and now it looks like he has found a new home. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Frank has emerged as the Pistons’ top choice and is expected to receive an offer in the next 24-36 hours.
Wojnarowski also reports that Frank is expected to bring along Roy Rogers, who came over from New Jersey with Frank and served as the team’s big man coach last season. Frank compiled a record of 225-241 as head coach of the Nets that ended after a disastrous 0-16 start to the 2009-10 season. But Frank’s reputation as a dedicated, hard-working coach followed him to Boston and he was able to forge strong relationships with the team’s veterans.
The Pistons were a disaster last season under coach John Kuester, especially defensively where they ranked last in field goal percentage defense and 28th in points allowed per 100 possessions. Only Cleveland and Toronto were worse. There were also reports of an attempted player revolt against Kuester, making Detroit one of the most dysfunctional teams in the league.
Frank will have his work cut out for him as the once-proud franchise is digging out from a series of bad contracts and mediocre results. But team president Joe Dumars pulled off a coup when he drafted Greg Monroe in 2010, and a young nucleus of Monroe, Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko and rookie Brandon Knight is reason enough for optimism.
Rivers and Danny Ainge will now be in the market for an assistant coach to round out the staff, and they will also be looking for supporting personnel to replace Rogers and Darren Erman, who left to take an assistant coaching job with Golden State. Erman was with the team for the last four seasons.
|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 …
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, the day after he selected two Purdue players in the NBA draft.
The C’s first-round pick was 6-foot-10 JaJuan Johnson, and Ainge sounded cautiously optimistic that Johnson can help the Celtics immediately.
“I think he can contribute,” Ainge said. “I always hate to put too many expectations on guys before the draft and after the draft. I think that sometimes we get all excited and get carried away on the draft. Historically, there’s just not that many guys that come in on a good team, on championship-caliber teams, that are able to contribute. Well have three or four young guys on our roster this year, and one or two of them might contribute day in and day out. The others will have to find their spots through injuries and opportunities in other ways.
“Size is hard to find. I think that his size gives him a little bit of an advantage. And his experience in college — he was an All-Big Ten player, and he’s nearly 6-foot-10 and he’s long. There’s just not that many of those guys out there, so the competition is much thinner.”
Following a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Obviously, you’re happy with your guy. How long did you target this particular guy, JaJuan Johnson?
We started following JaJuan closely last year, trying to see if he should come out to the draft. He was counseled to back to school. We liked him some last year, but we did follow him closely this year.
I think the only minus, really, is just he’s very thin. But he’s multi-skilled. He can shoot, handle the ball, pass, block shots, rebound. He just needs to put a little weight on.
|List: Danny Ainge’s best, worst draft day moves||06.23.11 at 8:37 am ET|
The Celtics’ season has been over for a while now, and if you’re still in mourning, we’re sorry. But it’s times like these when it’s best to look to the future, and in this case, that means Thursday’s NBA draft. The C’s have the 25th pick in a relatively thin class, but as history has shown, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge always is capable of creating some draft day drama. Here are a few of Ainge’s best moves when the Boston is “on the clock” (followed by a few he’d rather have back).
5. Drafting Ryan Gomes in the second round in 2005
Overall, the 2005 NBA draft was a disappointment for the Celtics (see below), but Ainge managed to pluck a promising talent out of the second round. Boston took Ryan Gomes of Providence with the 50th pick, one spot ahead of Robert Whaley and two spots behind Mickael Gelabale. Gomes started 33 games in his first year and 60 his second year, and ended up averaging 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in 2006-07. In the same fashion as Al Jefferson, Gomes saw his trade value increase with his breakout season, and he eventually was used as one of the many pieces in the Kevin Garnett trade.
Gomes never was a back-to-the-basket player in college and was vastly undersized in the NBA. Still, he’s managed to develop into a solid small forward for the Clippers and is averaging over 10 points per game in his career.
4. Trading for Kendrick Perkins in 2003
In his first year as general manager, Ainge had two first-round picks in one of the most talented draft classes in NBA history. No, he didn’t miraculously trade up for LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, or Dwyane Wade, but he did trade draft picks Dahntay Jones and Troy Bell to the Grizzlies for their first-round picks, Marcus Banks and Kendrick Perkins. You might only recognize one name from that transaction, but KP43 is the only one that mattered.
|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.”
The Knicks are believed to be highly interested, along with the Houston Rockets. The Boston Celtics are even interested in trading up in order to select Vucevic, according to sources.
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:
Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about the Celtics and Thursday’s NBA draft. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Mannix said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will not shy away from dealing any player in order to avoid a slow descent into mediocrity, and he noted that even the team’s young star, Rajon Rondo, has been the subject of trade talks in the recent past.
“I think he’s talking about moving everybody. I really do,” Mannix said of Ainge. “I’ve had conversations with different people around the league; I would throw Rajon Rondo on that list as well. … He has explored dealing Rajon Rondo in the past. He has talked to other GMs about him in the past. I’m not saying he’s been willing to pull the trigger in the past, but Rajon Rondo has been on the table in the past year or so.
“This is just something that Danny does. He’s not afraid to make the blockbuster deal if he thinks it helps him in the long term. So, I think Danny is absolutely working the phones right now. I think every one of those guys is on the table for a potential deal that he’s sure is going to help him.
“This goes back to what I thought the second after Doc Rivers signed that five-year extension,” Mannix continued. “Doc didn’t sign on for five years to be part of a team that just decomposes as it goes back to the Gerald Green era from a few years ago. He believes this team is going to be able to contend in Year 3, 4 and 5, when presumably Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are gone. But to do that, I think Danny is going to have to shake up the roster. And I absolutely believe, right now, before the draft, after the draft, in the offseason, whenever he’s able to talk to these teams again once the lockout is lifted, he is going to be aggressive on the phone lines trying to improve his team.”