|Why Kris Joseph deserves the 15th Celtics roster spot (Part One)||08.12.12 at 8:00 am ET|
Montreal manufactures hockey players, and business is good. Except if you’re Kris Joseph.
So, when the late second-round Celtics pick in this summer’s NBA draft arrived stateside as a 17-year-old high school junior in search of a basketball education, the jet lag lasted a little longer than usual.
‘He was pretty lazy,’ admitted Clinton Perrow, who coached Joseph for two prep seasons at Archbishop Carroll (Washington, D.C.) from 2006-08. ‘A lot of things came to him without a whole lot of effort. Early on, he didn’t see the need for conditioning because the game came so easily for him.’
Still, no coach questioned Joseph’s potential. Not as an inexperienced junior. Not as ESPNU’s No. 50 overall senior recruit in the Class of 2008. Not during a collegiate career that culminated in a Wooden Award finalist bid in his fourth and final season at Syracuse. And not when he fell all the way to the Celtics at No. 52 in the draft.
‘When you see him, you know he’s a player,’ said Curtis Malone, president of the D.C. Assault AAU program that recruited Joseph in 2006. ‘And we didn’t have to see him much to say, ‘We’ve gotta get this guy on our team.’ There were so many moments that made you say, ‘Wow, this kid is really, really good.’ He’s a talent.’
Six years later, Joseph joins undrafted rookies Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith in a three-man battle for the final two spots on the C’s 15-man roster. And he still may not have realized that full potential.
“He hadn’t played lot of high-level ball until his last two years of high school, so once he puts everything together this kid has so much talent that the upside is huge for him,” said Syracuse assistant Adrian Autry, who served as Joseph’s positional coach this past season and faced him as a high school assistant at Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.). “He played basketball, but not at that level and not every day. Hockey is the sport in Canada, so once he got into that type of environment where he was playing at a high level and playing every day, he was very impressive.”
Joseph’s skill set, for the most part, hasn’t changed all that much since he made the 600-mile mission from Montreal to Washington, D.C. How seriously he approaches his craft, however, has evolved dramatically.
“After summer league, I had to take a little time off, just for my body,” said Joseph during an appearance last week at the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation’s Summer Soiree. “Two summer leagues was kind of grueling, but it was a great experience overall. I’ve just been working out, trying to maintain my body. I’ve been making sure I’ve been eating the right things and doing things the right way, just so I can work out. This is a job, so you’ve got to make sure you do things the right way, especially with your body.”
In a way, when Celtics training camp commences at September’s end, Joseph’s story is only just beginning.
|Irish Coffee: Celtics ‘veteran’ Avery Bradley emerges from Ray Allen’s shadow||08.10.12 at 11:28 am ET|
Two years ago, as a rookie, Avery Bradley actually tried to hide in practice.
‘I didn’t want to get in, because I was so scared of KG [Kevin Garnett] yelling at me if I messed up,’ he said during a panel Thursday hosted by Jessica Camerato at the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation’s Summer Soiree. ‘I would sit on the sideline. I might not even get in the whole practice, because I didn’t want KG to yell at me.’
You forget Bradley’s only 21 years old, since he’s the elder Celtics statesman on a panel that included newcomers Courtney Lee, Kris Joseph and Dionte Christmas. How far the shy kid has come from Tacoma, Wash.
‘We’re like a family,’ added Bradley, making his third charitable appearance in as many days. ‘These guys are going to learn that we’re like a family on and off the court. We all hang out. We all go to each other’s house. It felt good to be part of a family, and I felt a lot more comfortable around the guys.’
It was once almost impossible to elicit more than a few words from Bradley, who could often be found fixating on the floor from a chair at his locker. Now? Camerato couldn’t get him to stop talking.
‘You guys are going to be happy once we start that first day of training camp because all we want to do is win,’ he added. ‘We’re a family. We don’t care about anything but winning. To be part of a team like that, it makes you feel comfortable, because there’s no pressure. You’re not going out there worrying about scoring or doing things you can’t do. You do your role and everything else will work itself out and we’ll win games.’
The only subjects he wouldn’t expound upon were his right and left shoulders, deftly explaining, ‘I’m just taking it day by day,’ four times during an interview session prior to the public panel. And when someone from the crowd later blurted out, ‘Avery, when you coming back?’ he simply smiled and said, ‘Can’t tell you.’
Of course, it wasn’t always so easy for Bradley. As a rookie, he averaged only 5.2 minutes over just 31 games, shooting 34.3 percent from the field and precisely 0.0 percent from 3-point range. And it seemed worse.
|Courtney Lee: Joining Celtics ‘a no-brainer for me’||08.09.12 at 9:34 pm ET|
Here’s all you need to know about Celtics sign-and-trade acquisition Courtney Lee before this NBA season begins: He took less money to play in Boston, and he doesn’t care whether he starts or comes off the bench.
“I had a lot of different offers from a lot of different teams, but the one I really wanted to come to was Boston,” Lee said Thursday from the Boston Children’s Museum, where the Celtics held their Summer Soiree to benefit the Shamrock Foundation. “So, I spoke to my agent and I spoke to my family. It was a decision that I had to take less money to come here, but in that I’ll be winning, I’ll have a chance to play on TV. That’s what everybody wants to do. They want to win big and a chance to win a ring, so it was a no-brainer for me.”
In town for his first public appearance as a member of the Celtics and to find a place to live for at least part of his four-year, $21.5 million contract, Lee joins a shooting guard logjam along with Avery Bradley and Jason Terry after being signed-and-traded from the Rockets in a complicated deal that involved the Celtics shipping JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore, Sean Williams, Sasha Pavlovic and three second-round draft picks out of Boston.
Still, when asked if he preferred starting to backing up Bradley upon his return from surgery on both shoulders, Lee said all the right things while not giving up too much outside of the fact he and Celtics coach Doc Rivers have already discussed his role “in details” over dinner multiple times.
|Irish Coffee: Where in the world are current Celtics?||08.08.12 at 3:34 pm ET|
We’re less than two months away from the start of Celtics training camp, so now is as good a time as any to take a roster role call. There are 16 players currently under contract — or, in Jeff Green‘s case, under agreement to a contract — with the Celtics, and all have popped up at various times and in various places across the globe this summer, so let’s quickly review their last known whereabouts and salary structure.
‘I’ve got big dreams, man,’ he told reporters at a press conference last month. ‘I’m 27. Some of my cousins think I’m getting old, but I’m still young, and I’ve got big dreams of doing big things in the league. I want to make my imprint on an organization, and on a team. I think this is the perfect team to do that.’
Contract: Reportedly owed $20 million spread out over next three seasons.
“Ray was a great tutor,” Bradley told ESPN.com. “I’m sad that he’s gone, but we all wish the best for him. But he definitely meant a lot. He helped me out every single day. Sometimes I’d just be working out and he’d be watching on the side. He’d get up and tell me what I needed to work on, or tell me how I can be more consistent.”
As for his shoulder rehab? “I’m just ready to do whatever my team needs me to do,” he added. “I’m just going to be prepared and ready to go out there and do my role, and do whatever my team needs me to do to win games.”
|Irish Coffee: 10 things I Heard About Celtics||08.03.12 at 2:28 pm ET|
If watching Celtics strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo attempt to defend three-time NBA All-Star Rajon Rondo (see video above, h/t ballislife.com) isn’t enough enjoyment for one Friday afternoon in the NBA’s dog days of August, here is the latest edition of 10 Things I Heard About Celtics, where despite another slow news day we gather all the information we can about Boston’s green men.
10. Green peace: Well, I guess this one falls more under “things I haven’t heard about Celtics,” since inquiries about Green to the team and his agent David Falk have so far gone unanswered, so in all likelihood his reported four-year, $36 million deal remains unsigned.
Obviously, since he cannot be signed-and-traded as a result of the new collective bargaining agreement, the first reason that comes to mind for such a delay is Green’s health following heart surgery this past winter, but I can think of two other possibilities: 1) The two sides are ironing out clauses that would protect the team against the possibility of a recurring heart ailment, and/or 2) The CBA is so complicated, and the Celtics are so close to the salary cap, Danny Ainge & Co. are waiting to see if they’ll use the bi-annual exception.
If the Celtics begin the season with a minimum salary player rather than using their exception this season, they can frontload Green’s deal for an extra million dollars, so they could potentially free up some cap space — however small it may be — in Year 2, 3 or 4 of the deal. Then again, the delay might involve an entirely different scenario altogether. With both sides remaining mum on the issue, it’s all speculation at this point.
|Irish Coffee: How Kevin Garnett cements his Celtics legacy and ensures his number retires to the Garden rafters||08.01.12 at 2:12 pm ET|
It didn’t take long after being traded on July 31, 2007 for Kevin Garnett to carve his name into Celtics lore. He poured the foundation for his legacy when he helped deliver the franchise’s 17th NBA championship, but has he cemented it enough to ensure his number will join the 20 others retired to the Garden rafters?
Garnett’s impact goes far beyond statistics, so the C’s may have already reserved a square to stitch his number between Cedric Maxwell‘s No. 31 and Paul Pierce‘s No. 34, but his three-year extension should assure him of never seeing another Celtic don the No. 5 again. And that assertion can be put into numbers.
Already, Garnett’s 5,229 regular-season points and 1,393 postseason points in a Celtics uniform rank him 27th and 16th in franchise history, respectively. Once you consider his 2,771 rebounds and 919 assists in the regular season as well as his 748 rebounds and 198 assists in the playoffs, he joins lists that already only respectively include 17 and seven Celtics players. The question remains: How much higher can Garnett climb?
|Irish Coffee: Everybody Loves Rajon||07.30.12 at 3:03 pm ET|
Celtics floor general Rajon Rondo isn’t the only one who thinks he’s “the best point guard in the league.” Whether he was drinking at the time or not, Jason Kidd told former Mavericks teammate Jason Terry that Rondo is “the best point guard in the game. Deron Williams is great. Steve Nash is great also. There’s a couple other guys — Derrick Rose, [Chris Paul] — but he said, ‘Rajon Rondo plays both ends of the floor, and he plays the game like a throwback. He’s an old school point guard. He knows how to initiate, get his guys involved and still go get his.”
That’s why we sorted through Rondo’s interviews from the 2012-13 NBA season to edit the first episode of the latest Boston-based sitcom: “Everybody Loves Rajon.” Enjoy the (extremely) dry comedic stylings of Rajon Rondo. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out “The Kevin Garnett Comedy Hour.”
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