|Stat man: Addressing Celtics’ big problem||11.05.13 at 2:12 pm ET|
The biggest problem facing these Celtics is the lack of a point guard, but that’s a story for a different day, since there’s no viable solution on the current roster until Rajon Rondo returns. Sure, a little more Phil Pressey might help, but is an undersized, undrafted rookie point guard really going to solve this thing?
So, let’s address a problem that Brad Stevens could possibly bandage with the current roster.
The Celtics are the NBA’s worst defensive rebounding team, allowing opponents to grab 33.9 percent of available offensive boards — a number that would rank among the worst in history over a full season. Opponents attempt 39.3 field goals per game within 8 feet of the basket; only the Blazers (43.3) are worse. The opposition scores 20.8 second-chance points per game; only the Nuggets (23.0) are worse. And just four teams (Wizards, Blazers, Clippers, Bucks) give up more than the C’s 44.5 points allowed in the paint per game.
The C’s interior defense needs work. Vitor Faverani, Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Kris Humphries are allowing an average of 26.5 attempts at the rim, where opponents are shooting 52.8 percent.
The two biggest offenders, naturally, are rookies. Faverani is allowing 11 field goal attempts at the rim per game. Eleven! Per game! That’s the fifth-worst number in the league. He’s grabbed just 49.2 percent of his 14.8 rebound chances per game. The only other player with as many opportunities to snatch fewer than 50 percent is Al Jefferson, who hasn’t played since aggravating an ankle injury on opening night.
Meanwhile, the opposition is shooting 76.5 percent at the rim against Olynyk. That’s ridiculous. Only two bigs (Trevor Booker, DeMarre Carroll) are worse. And Olynyk snags fewer rebounds per chance than Faverani.
|Celtics, for the last time: Kris Humphries||10.30.13 at 11:18 am ET|
One of the most unpredictable Celtics seasons in recent memory begins Wednesday, and in order to determine the likelihood of each player reaching his full potential, we’ll be examining them individually in this year’s Green Street preview with one form of this question in mind: “When’s the last time ‘¦ ?” Next up: Kris Humphries.
When’s the last time an offseason expiring contract acquisition was dealt midseason?
We could have asked, “When’s the last time Kris Humphries played well in a contract season?” But that one’s too easy. He recorded career-high averages of 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds in 2011-12.
It should come as no surprise if Humphries performs well this season. That’s what Celtics president Danny Ainge was banking on when he acquired Humphries’ $12 million expiring contract in the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett deal this summer. That deal is an attractive one to any team looking to create cap space this coming summer.
And, sure, the C’s could let Humphries play out the final year of his two-year deal and create that cap room themselves this coming offseason. But they’ll also be shopping him come February. So, what might they get?
The list of famous expiring contracts in the NBA is an extensive one, including Theo Ratliff‘s deal that helped bring Kevin Garnett to Boston in 2007. But, really, how often does a double-digit expiring deal like Humphries’ get traded twice in a season, considering the Nets coincidentally already used it to acquire KG?
Actually, there are four recent examples of such a scenario in the past 15 years: Antoine Walker in 2004-05, Antonio Davis in 2005-06, Troy Murphy in 2010-11 and Mehmet Okur in 2011-12. Like Humphries, all were veteran power forwards. Let’s examine how teams in the C’s position fared in those swaps.
After acquiring Walker from the Mavericks over the summer, the Hawks sent him back to the Celtics On Feb. 24, 2005, for Tom Gugliotta, Gary Payton, Michael Stewart and a 2006 first-round draft pick. That pick would have been a huge boon to the Suns had they not dealt it to the C’s in the form of Rajon Rondo.
After acquiring Davis from the Bulls over the summer, the Knicks sent him to the Raptors on Feb. 3, 2006, for Jalen Rose and a 2006 first-round pick that became Renaldo Balkman. Not exactly a haul worth bragging about.
After acquiring Murphy from the Pacers, the Nets sent him to the Warriors on Feb. 23, 2011, for Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright. (The Warriors waived Murphy, who signed with the C’s for the rest of the season.) Just bad.
After acquiring Okur from the Jazz on Dec. 22, 2011, the Nets sent him to the Blazers on March 15, 2012, for Gerald Wallace. That deal was horrific for so many reasons, including the fact New Jersey sent a first-round pick that became Damian Lillard that summer and forced their own hand into signing Wallace long-term.
Somehow, nobody benefited from double-dealing an expiring contract and Ainge has ties to three of these deals.
|Kris Humphries just needed a change of scenery||10.08.13 at 5:38 pm ET|
An excerpt from a column titled, “Reality check: In defense of Kris Humphries.”
As a joke, Keith Bogans placed a picture of the Rajon Rondo-Kris Humphries brawl in the practice facility locker room, asking who’d win the fight, and the results were split. Danny Ainge praised the 10-year NBA veteran’s early arrival ‘in great shape,’ the younger players credited his leadership during pre-camp workouts, the vets applauded his physicality during practice and Brad Stevens awarded him the starting center spot.
And despite being forced out of position, Humphries said all the right things, setting a positive tone for what will surely become a difficult juggling act for the coach, who will ask a lot of his players to do the same because of the redundancy on his roster.
‘Whatever helps this team,’ said Humphries. ‘I trust the coaches, so I’ve just got to do what I’m asked to do. I’m obviously more naturally a 4, but I’m willing to play 5.’
In that role, Humphries totaled 11 points (4-8 FG) and four rebounds in his 23:46, and he wasn’t satisfied. ‘I wasn’t really happy with the way I rebounded,’ he said.
The rebounds will come. Humphries averaged double-digit boards per 36 minutes in each of his last seven seasons. A more encouraging development? He shot 4-of-5 between 15-19 feet. To put that in perspective, Humphries made 21 field goals from that range all of last season, shooting just 36.2 percent on those long 2’s in 2012-13.
Meanwhile, the first thing out of Humphries’ mouth upon meeting Stevens was, ‘Hey, let’s run’ — a departure from a Nets system that didn’t maximize his skills last season — and Monday’s performance in a 97-89 loss to the Raptors didn’t cut it, so he dragged Jeff Green with him to run postgame sprints on a couple treadmills.
‘We want to play at a faster pace,’ said Humphries, still dripping in sweat from the workout. ‘Jeff and I actually did a little bit of extra conditioning after the game, just to kind of get us going a little bit more, so we can build to the start of the season.’
To read the column in full, click here. And check out the rest of the coverage from Monday night’s game.
|Kris Humphries is confident of a ‘good relationship’ with Rajon Rondo||07.16.13 at 10:56 am ET|
WALTHAM — Kris Humphries knew the moment he was traded to Boston he would have to face the question.
How will he get along with Rajon Rondo?
On Monday, it took just three questions before Humphries was asked if he thinks bygones will be bygones and if he can actually work in harmony know with the Celtics tempestuous point guard.
“I knew it was coming; it just took a few questions to get there,” Humphries joked before offering a serious answer.
“I haven’t talked to him but I think we’ll have a good relationship,” he said. “I think things happen within the game. Looking at it, it really was nothing. The media tends to blow things out of proportion. Obviously I just have to do my part to earn his respect in terms of playing hard and contributing to the team and just go from there.”
Humphries was given two technical fouls and ejected from the game on Nov. 28, 2012, won by Brooklyn, 95-83. Brooklyn forward Gerald Wallace was given one technical for joining in, but since it was his second of the game he was also ejected. Garnett was given one technical foul but was not ejected.
The only Celtics player ejected was Rondo, who with only three assists, saw his streak of 37 consecutive games with at least 10 assists end that night due to the ejection. That mark tied him with John Stockton for second-longest in NBA history.
The fracas started when Humphries fouled Garnett, pushing him to the floor as he shot from the right baseline. Rondo shoved Humphries, sending the melee into the stands.
|Danny Ainge: Nets wanted ‘Dream Team’ at ‘any cost’||07.15.13 at 5:10 pm ET|
That’s why, according to the Celtics president of basketball operations, he pulled the trigger earlier this month on a deal that sends the two stars to Brooklyn for Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans and Kris Humphries.
“Brooklyn showed a great deal of interest in putting the ‘Dream Team’ together, with expense not [a factor], at any cost it seemed like,” Ainge told reporters at an introductory press conference Monday. “And the opportunity to acquire a lot of young assets and get younger and move onto a different phase presented itself. We felt like, where we were as a team, it was going to be very difficult to be a championship contender [had] we kept Paul and KG.
“The opportunity presented itself. It’s a situation we needed to do. It’s a situation that Brooklyn should do and could do, adding Paul and KG to a roster with already three All-Star type players. It’s a pretty special opportunity for them, even though it’s very expensive.”
“You don’t really want to trade to a division rival but no, there were no other teams that were even close,” Ainge admitted. “As a matter of fact, it was interesting that the offers we got for Paul and KG were greater than we got for them in years past. It was an opportunity we felt we had to jump at.”
Was it hard for Ainge to pull the trigger in the end?
“Absolutely,” Ainge said when asked. “I think it pretty much goes without saying, and there’ll be many opportunities to talk about their legacies, and I know this is not my decision alone to make, but if it were my decision alone, their numbers will be hanging from the rafters some day. Their legacy has been made here in Boston. They still have basketball left in them but at the same time, we’re going to want to beat them. But those guys were great for the city of Boston, great for the Boston Celtics franchise and great for all of us who were associated with them.
“But this is a good deal for us. We’re excited about the players we’re getting and we’re excited about the opportunity for us to start fresh and start over, not completely over because we have a lot of good players returning and a lot of good players acquired in teh trade but start over in terms of a new coaching staff, new players and a new identity.”
A fifth player the Celtics received in the deal – Kris Joseph – was waived on Monday.
|Donny Marshall on M&M: Josh Smith has ‘no position, no shot selection’||02.21.13 at 1:16 pm ET|
A mere hours before the NBA’s trade deadline, Donny Marshall of CSNNE joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to discuss the never-ending trade rumors involving Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Fab Melo and more.
“I love MarShon Brooks,” Marshall said. “I think that he is one of my favorite, if not my favorite first couple of years players. He’s a terrific scorer. … It comes to an end at some point and then you have to start rebuilding. Paul Pierce is the Bob Cousy, the John Havlicek of the Celtics today. He really is. You have a guy on your team that has played for you his entire career and has played through all the ups and downs. … If you can get a guy like MarShon Brooks, if you can get a guy like Kris Humphries; you know what, personality off the court aside, it helps you on the court.”
Another hot topic for the trade deadline has continued to be the possible availability of Hawks forward Josh Smith.
“I don’t know if Doc Rivers wants to coach a guy like Josh Smith,” Marshall said. “The guy has no position, I’m talking basketball alone. He has no position. He has no shot selection. Sometimes you’ll see him shooting 3’s. He’ll shoot air balls, then he’ll make two or three. Then you’ll see him shooting mid-range jumpshots, then you’ll see him in the post. He really has no position. … He hasn’t proven himself as a winner, one. He doesn’t really understand the concepts of what they’re running. Maybe that’s the coach and the system that you can play in Atlanta, but I’m not so sure that he’s a Doc Rivers-type guy.”
While Smith’s athleticism is obvious, his personality and attitude has come into question in the past.
“Everyone across the board [says] ‘We don’t know, we stay away from Josh Smith,’ ” Marshall said. “Because his personality, he will blow up at you. He will walk out of practices. These are reports from guys who are on that team; coaches and players. Obviously you have to have a guy come and experience it for yourself, but guys in the NBA talk. It’s a small fraternity and that bad news can derail, it will stay with you for a long time, and I think a lot of people know that about Josh Smith, apart from his talent on the floor.
|Trade rumor: Nets offer Kris Humphries in package for Paul Pierce||02.20.13 at 6:00 pm ET|
The Nets offered Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and a first-round pick — the same package made to the Hawks for Josh Smith — to the Celtics in exchange for Paul Pierce, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
The C’s want Brooklyn to sweeten the pot with Mirza Teletovic and another first-rounder, but the Nets won’t add to their original offer, according to Wojnarowski, who reported a near Pierce deal with the Nets last season that involved Mehmet Okur‘s expiring contract and a lottery pick that was instead dealt to Portland for Gerald Wallace and became Rookie of the Year candidate Damian Lillard.
The Celtics also separately inquired about Nets backup point guard C.J. Watson, but the conversation went nowhere, Wojnarowski said.
As for Brooklyn’s offer for Pierce, no word on how quickly Celtics president Danny Ainge hung up the phone. The Nets seem eager to get out from underneath the $12 million remaining on Humphries’ deal next season, especially since the controversial big man’s production has been slashed in half since averaging a double-double during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. Meanwhile, the C’s could’ve had MarShon Brooks in the 2011 NBA draft, but instead shipped his rights to the Nets in exchange for JaJuan Johnson. And the Nets currently own the 21st pick in this June’s draft. In other words, a terrible offer.
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