|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.”
|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.
|Impromptu Irish Coffee: Celtics awesome at high-fiving||06.10.11 at 9:59 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your dose of Irish Coffee …
With only Northeastern product J.J. Barea‘s role in the demise of the Heat left for Boston NBA fans to root for, I’m not sure the news that the Celtics were the best team in the league at touching each other is any consolation.
But a recent study by researchers at the University of California indicated that the C’s are not only among the league’s elite in skill but also in chemistry, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The study analyzed the number of times NBA teammates touched each other, and the Celtics are some of the best high-fivers in the league.
After reviewing broadcasts of games from the 2008-09 season, they concluded that good teams tend to be much more hands-on than bad ones. Teams whose players touched the most often were more cooperative, played better and won more games, they said.
While there’s no evidence that an NBA team can touch its way to victory, the two touchiest teams in the study, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, finished the season with two of the NBA’s top three records.
So, where do they hang the banner: 2008-09 NBA Touchy-Feely Champions? Or is it a trophy of two players in a James Posey-Paul Pierce-like embrace? Does this make Brian Scalabrine Hall of Fame eligible as one of the great high-fivers in league history? So many questions.
And obviously Danny Ainge cost the Celtics another high-five title by trading Kendrick Perkins.
|Transcript of Shaquille O’Neal on D&C: ‘I didn’t want to let the people of Boston down two years in a row’||06.03.11 at 11:06 am ET|
Future Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal called in to the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, the day of his scheduled press conference at his Orlando house to formally announce his retirement after one injury-plagued season with the Celtics and 19 years in the NBA.
Asked if this is a happy or sad day, O’Neal said: “A little bit of both. Business-wise, I felt that the Boston organization and the people of Boston treated me very, very well. I could have gotten a little minor surgery and then been out for nine months, but then we would have been in the same situation again, everybody sitting around waiting for me. So, I thought it was great business to let Danny [Ainge] go out and get some younger talent.”
Added O’Neal: “I didn’t want to let the people of Boston down two years in a row.”
Asked if he’s 100 percent certain that he will stay retired, Shaq coyly replied: “For now, yes.”
Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The big question is where does Shaq appear on the Mount Rushmore of big men in the NBA. Is that a question you want to deal with?
I never really deal with it. For me, coming from where I come from, how I was taught to play the game — my father used to mention all those great names to me. Like, “Son, when you block a shot, don’t show off and knock it out of bounds. Keep in inbounds, like the great Bill Russell. Son, I need you to dominate. I need them to change the rules for you like they with Wilt Chamberlain. You know what, son, the jump hook is nice. I need you to shoot the little hook like Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar].”
So, for me to have my name mentioned next to those guys — and you can’t forget Chief, Robert Parish. He was great. too. So, for me to have my name mentioned up there, it’s a blessing.
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