|Irish Coffee: Top 10 Celtics Media Day moments||12.14.11 at 1:03 pm ET|
Tuesday’s Media Day marked the official unveiling of the 2011-12 Celtics at their practice facility in Waltham. Some familiar faces. Some new ones. Here are the top 10 highlights from what was a tame afternoon compared to the Shaquille O’Neal hoopla from a year ago.
10. BACK TO SCHOOL: After finishing six courses during the fall and summer semesters at Georgetown, Celtics forward Jeff Green is just two classes away from finishing a major in English and a minor in theology. He plans on completing his degree in the summer to become the first member of his family to earn a college diploma.
“It’s something I can cross off my bucket list,” he said, adding that a diploma and an NBA championship trophy would be comparable achievements to place on his mantle.
Asked if he could avoid being seen in lectures, Green smiled and said, “I’m 6-9. I can’t hide.”
Pierce, 34, called the “42-year-old” Allen (he’s 36) an inspiration to play five more years, and then referred reporters to his website PaulPierce.net/TruthonHealth for any questions. Green wasn’t the only one learning during the lockout; Pierce is apparently now a marketing expert.
8. SUPER SIZE ME: We all remember the Shawn Kemps and Vin Bakers of the 1999 lockout — the guys who showed up to training camp so out of shape their bodies never fully recovered. Allen remembers, too.
“There were some guys back in ’99, when you saw them, it was like, ‘Holy cow, this guy was on vacation for the last three months, didn’t do a thing, didn’t pick up a basketball or a weight,'” Allen said. “And that’s not the case in this locker room. We knew it, because we have too many strong-minded individuals.”
Allen had a front-row seat for Baker’s transformation from a guy who averaged 19.2 points and 8.0 rebounds for their Sonics the season before to 13.8 points and 6.2 rebounds after the last lockout-shortened season. Naturally, the Celtics traded for Baker four seasons later.
“Every day I sat around the house,” said Allen, “I was like, ‘I gotta go work out, because I don’t want to be that guy.'”
7. TOP CHEF: Celtics forward Kevin Garnett cracked one smile during Media Day, when analogizing team chemistry to the culinary arts. “Chemistry is something that you just don’t throw in the frying pan, mix it up with another something, throw something on top of that, then fry it up, put in a tortilla, put in a microwave and heat it up, and then give it to you and expect it to taste good,” he said. “For those who can cook, y’all know what I’m talking about. If y’all don’t know what I’m talking about, you can’t cook and this doesn’t concern you.”
|Keyon Dooling remembers brawling with Ray Allen: ‘Sometimes you know a man better when you fight’||12.13.11 at 3:52 pm ET|
WALTHAM — During Tuesday’s media day for the Celtics, new point guard Keyon Dooling joked about his Jan. 2006 fight with new teammate Ray Allen when Allen – then with Seattle – elbowed Dooling – then with the Magic – and a bench-clearing brawl ensued.
After both were ejected, Dooling took off down the hallway and tried to confront Allen outside the Sonics locker room but was restrained.
“The Sonics? Is that even a team anymore? Oh, that’s ancient history,” Dooling joked. “At the end of the day, when Ray and I saw each other the next time after the fight, we had a conversation and we embraced each other. At the end of the day, it was the heat of battle. I have a lot more respect for him. I know he has a lot more respect for me. Sometimes you know a man better when you fight.
“He’s been nothing but a phenomenal influence since I’ve been here. I’ve had a chance to spend some time with him over the summer, with some of the union business. I’m just looking forward to being here and being a part of the organization.”
Who won the fight?
“Nobody wins in a basketball fight,” Dooling said. “The NBA won. They got all the fine money. They always win, right?”
Other nuggets from Dooling included his feelings about backing up Rajon Rondo at point guard.
“Pushing me, I don’t need much of a push,” Dooling said. “I’m pretty self-motivated. I think I can learn some of the tricks. He’s a guy who averages a lot of assists and so I can pick up little techniques from him and maybe he can pick up some things from me as well. We’ll just try to make each other better every day.”
Dooling said he is looking forward to becoming a key part of the Celtics bench.
“I came in focused,” he said. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me so I don’t have any time to waste. I want to pick up the system as quick as I can, offensively and defensively, so I won’t be a liability when I’m on the court. If I’m a liability on the court, not only do I hurt my team, I hurt my family, so I’ve got to be ready to play.
“My experience has made me who I am. I’ve had some hardships in this league. I’ve always been able to persevere and work my way through adversity. This is another chance for me to come out and prove to the world I can play basketball. I think still a lot people don’t really know me unless you’re a true NBA fan. So, I think it’ll be a unique chance for me to prove myself to the world.”
|Irish Coffee: Have the Celtics upgraded their roster?||12.12.11 at 1:22 pm ET|
When Brandon Bass is your biggest offseason acquisition, would you consider that a success? The Celtics needed to get a lot better, and without knowing who the 15th man on the roster will be it’s hard to say they did.
Here’s your 2011-12 Celtics roster, with 14 of the 15 available roster spots all but filled.
Kevin Garnett: $21.2 million
Paul Pierce: $15.3 million
Ray Allen: $10 million
Rajon Rondo: $10 million
Jeff Green: $9 million
Jermaine O’Neal: $6.2 million
Brandon Bass: $4 million
Keyon Dooling: $2.2 million
Avery Bradley: $1.5 million
Marquis Daniels: $1.3 million
Chris Wilcox: $1.3 million
Sasha Pavlovic: $1.3 million*
JaJuan Johnson: $0.9 million**
E’Twaun Moore: $0.5 million***
Total: $84.7 million (plus $14.4 million luxury tax)
*Pavlovic is expected to re-sign for one year at the veteran minimum, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.
**Johnson has yet to reach a deal, but the rookie pay scale suggests he’ll get just under $1 million.
***Terms of Moore’s guaranteed deal have not been disclosed, so I’m slotting him at the rookie minimum.
Did the Celtics improve themselves at any position from the team that lost the Eastern Conference semifinals in five games to an improved Heat squad? Let’s attempt to answer that question. Read the rest of this entry »
|What Keyon Dooling does for Avery Bradley||12.10.11 at 10:34 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers has long been an admirer of veteran guard Keyon Dooling. So much so that Rivers tried on three occasions to get Dooling to join his teams. He finally got his man after Danny Ainge traded a second round pick to Milwaukee to acquire him via a trade exception created in the Marquis Daniels deal to Sacramento last season.
“It’s a good pickup for us,” Rivers said. “He’s a veteran guard. He can play one or two, he can shoot, he can really defend. He’s high character, which is an area we were looking for and he’s a good fit for this group. He’s hungry. He wants to win. Those are the players we wanted. We wanted players who are over themselves and who are hungry and want to play with a sense of urgency.”
It’s safe to say the feeling is mutual.
“I’ve had an opportunity to play before a few good coaches in my career,” Dooling said after his practice with the team on Saturday. “Stan Van Gundy [and] Lawrence Frank have been very influential in my career, my progress as a player and a person. Doc has been somebody who’s been a great mentor to me. I always pick his brain every time I see him because I’m fascinated by him. He’s awesome. He’s everything that a player like me would want to be.”
The Celtics will be Dooling’s sixth team in an 11-year career that began in Los Angeles with the Clippers and took him to Miami, Orlando, New Jersey and Milwaukee and he’s excited about the chance to play for a contender.
“It’s something I’ve never experienced before,” he said. “Going into the season having an opportunity to play for a ‘chip every year. I haven’t really had a legitimate chance to win the ‘chip sing I played with Shaq back in Miami, so I’m licking my chops, man.”
Dooling is expected to primarily backup Rajon Rondo at the point and at 6-foot-3, he’s capable of defending both backcourt positions in the right matchup. He’s also a solid 3-point shooter. As Dooling said, “They used to use the word, ‘tweener.’ As my career progressed and I earned some respect around the league I became a combo guard.”
That’s basically what he is and he’ll essentially fill the role that Delonte West played last season. But Dooling brings an extra benefit to the table because with him on board, the Celtics no longer feel that they force Avery Bradley into a point guard role. “Keyon has created us two players because Avery is better this way,” Rivers said.
From the moment Bradley was drafted it was unclear whether he would develop into a point guard. He had limited experience in his one collegiate season at Texas at the position and he never really had a chance as a rookie after an ankle injury kept him out of summer league and part of training camp. In limited minutes he clearly struggled running the team.
“You watched Avery last year and I thought he was paralyzed when he had to run the position, when he had to call plays,” Rivers said. “I thought he was really good when he was just playing. So that told me let’s make him that and stop trying to make him a point.”
The Celtics love his defensive ability and see the potential for him to fill a similar role to the one Tony Allen played so well during the run to the NBA finals in 2010. Bradley doesn’t have the size to guard forwards like Allen does, but he can be a fullcourt on-the-ball defender and also cover off-guards.
“What we want him to do is get on the floor,” Rivers said. “He has to earn that, but defensively he can really help us. I feel like he has to play all year so when the playoffs start he’ll be able to guard guys.”
|Irish Coffee: Another NBA conspiracy theory||12.09.11 at 2:20 pm ET|
Please indulge me, whilst a tell you an NBA conspiracy theory. It involves a Mormon, a camel, two giants and an insurance salesman. None of them walked into a bar.
On July 31, 2007, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge convinced former C’s teammate, good friend and Timberwolves general manager Kevin McHale to ship Kevin Garnett to Boston in return for Al Jefferson and a cup of poop soup over a deal with the Lakers involving Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. And the road to a 17th NBA championship was paved.
On Feb. 1, 2008, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak dangled the immortal Kwame Brown and his 5.7 points/5.7 rebounds per game as the centerpiece of a trade for Grizzlies All-Star Pau Gasol and his 18.9 points/8.8 rebounds per game. And former C’s general manager Chris Wallace delivered the 2009 and 2010 NBA titles to L.A.
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