|Would you take Paul Pierce over Kevin Garnett?||08.15.11 at 1:55 pm ET|
Every so often a question is posed regarding the Celtics‘ four All-Stars. In short: Which one is the most valuable/best/indispensable? What makes this question so intriguing is that there is a legitimate case to be made for all four.
Rajon Rondo is the playmaker, the only reliable point guard on the roster the last four years, and one of the few Celtics who can change pace and tempo with the flick of a switch. When Rondo has been out of the lineup — or gone through a prolonged slump — the Celtics inevitably struggle to score points.
Kevin Garnett is the defensive anchor and that doesn’t begin to do him justice. Simply put, when Garnett plays at the level he played at last season the Celtics defense is ferocious.
Then there is Paul Pierce, who does just about everything well and is the one player the Celtics reliably use to create his own shot when everything else breaks down.
You can go round and round in circles on this question and never come to a definitive answer, which is a large reason why this foursome has been so successful. Ubuntu may have been a clever rallying cry, but its tenets hold true for this collection of players. “I am what I am because of who we all are.” Take any one of these parts away and the whole suffers for it.
That’s why I watched with great interest as Sports Illustrated’s Zach Lowe unveiled his top 100 players list. One way or another Lowe would have to parse this group and assign a ranking. Lowe had Allen ranked 48th and Rondo 27th, which left the top spot to be decided between Garnett and Pierce. Read the rest of this entry »
|10 things I heard about Celtics||08.09.11 at 5:07 pm ET|
Even on a slower Celtics news day than normal, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 C’s links of interest we discovered over the past 24 hours …
10. Jeff Green‘s 26 points and last-minute 3-pointer helped seal the Nike D.C. Pro City championship in a 105-101, double-overtime victory on Sunday. Of course, his team also featured Pistons forward Greg Monroe (32 points), and their opponent was comprised of Georgetown’s incoming freshmen class.
As HoyaReport.com reported, “One of the best players in Pro City this summer, Green has had a penchant for playing well but not necessarily focused. He has used the league to work on his outside game and have fun. Sunday was different. It was clear he was dialed in.”
9. According to the Lawrence Journal, Paul Pierce is among a group of former University of Kansas players that could be playing in an NBA alumni weekend exhibition game in September. The other potential players: Grizzlies Darrell Arthur, Xavier Henry and Josh Selby; the Thunder’s Cole Aldrich and Nick Collison; Mario Chalmers (Heat); Drew Gooden (Bucks); Kirk Hinrich (Hawks), Darnell Jackson (Kings); Marcus Morris (Rockets); Markieff Morris (Suns); Brandon Rush (Pacers); and Julian Wright (Raptors).
“It’s something we’ve talked about,” Kansas head coach Bill Self told the paper. “That’s certainly something we’d consider doing. We have talked about a lot of things, and that is one of them. It’s certainly an option.”
Obviously, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has already signed for a similar exhibition game between the Dominican National Team and a bunch of University of Kentucky alumns (Rondo, John Wall, Tayshaun Prince, DeMarcus Cousins, Jodie Meeks, Nazr Mohammed, Eric Bledsoe and Keith Bogans). You can vote for Rondo as a starter for that team here.
8. A photographer recently captured a photo of Shaquille O’Neal and girlfriend Nicole Alexander. The 5-foot-2, 100-pound Hoopz really puts into perspective just how big the 7-foot-1, 325-pound former Celtics center was. Shaq’s jorts and slippers are a whole different matter. Here’s the photo: Read the rest of this entry »
|Rate this Paul Pierce Sports Illustrated commercial||08.08.11 at 8:00 pm ET|
Attention little old ladies, basketball superstar Paul Pierce is looking for your kids … for Sports Illustrated’s annual SportsKid of the Year contest. The nomination form can be found here. Ok, can we discuss this commercial? Can’t decide if it’s hilarious or ridiculous. Him catching the baseball and yelling “photosynthesis” is pretty ridiculous, but his nerd outfit and tall-man-in-a-little-coat bits are pretty hilarious. Judge for yourself …
|Paul Pierce: Poker play benefits basketball game||at 11:47 am ET|
We all know Celtics captain Paul Pierce survived well into Day 2 at last month’s World Series of Poker, but I hadn’t heard him comment much about it or seen what duds he was rocking. Thanks to PokerListings.com, we now have both. First, his thoughts on how his poker habit might benefit the Celtics even while the NBA lockout endures:
‘I think poker has really helped me develop patience and that helps me in everything I do in life. It helps me on the basketball court, to be more patient and to be more of a thinking player and to be smarter out there.’
Now, take a look at how Pierce represented the Celtics at the WSOP, 2008 NBA title ring and all …
|Jeff Green ‘not even thinking about’ where he’ll play||08.01.11 at 3:07 pm ET|
NBA.com’s David Aldridge caught up with Celtics restricted free-agent forward Jeff Green over the weekend. Like Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who plans to enroll at the University of Kentucky this fall, Green is taking classes at his alma mater. While Rondo left Kentucky after only one season, Green stayed at Georgetown through his junior year, and he actually only has four more classes remaining.
Of course, Aldridge and Green also talked basketball. While he is modeling parts of his game after NBA stars like Paul Pierce, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, he isn’t planning on playing overseas during the lockout — or even thinking about where he’ll end up once it ends. Here are the highlights … Read the rest of this entry »
|Paul Pierce bounced from World Series of Poker||07.12.11 at 9:44 am ET|
Paul Pierce had already been a world champion in his own occupation and this summer, with the NBA players locked out by the owners, he had tried to become a champion in one of his hobbies: Texas Hold ‘Em poker. The Celtics captain posted the $10,000 entry fee for the World Series of Poker’s main event and lasted 17 hours and 40 minutes on the felt before he was finally left without any chips late Monday night, according to the ESPN Poker Blog.
Pierce lasted longer than more than half of the 2,031 hopefuls who entered the popular competition in Las Vegas’s Rio casino but fell well short of finishing in the money. He went all-in with a 2-2 – interestingly enough, Pierce has averaged 22.2 points per game during his 13-year NBA career – but the C’s swingman ran into a pair of Jacks and there would be no luck of the Irish on the flop. He exited to a round of applause from the Rio crowd as well as his fellow gamblers.
|Celtics extend qualifying offer to Jeff Green, make him restricted free agent||06.30.11 at 1:56 pm ET|
The Celtics extended forward Jeff Green a one-year qualifying offer at $5.9 million, which will make the forward a restricted free agent. The move was procedural and gives the team the right to match any offer Green receives once the league opens — or rather re-opens — for business following a lockout that could start as early as midnight on July 1.
The team also announced that they have exercised the third-year option on Avery Bradley. For first round picks, the first two years of their contracts are guaranteed. The team has options on the third and fourth years before a player can become a restricted free agent like Green is now.
Green can still sign a long-term extension with the team once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement rules in place or he could return for the one-year offer and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Celtics could also let him walk if another team offers a huge deal, but that seems unlikely as they have maintained that he is a part of their long-term plans.
Yet the Celtics have also carefully planned to have as much cap space as possible after next season and it will be interesting to see how much they ultimately invest in his services. It wouldn’t be the worst thing for the franchise if Green simply came back for the one-year offer and kept the books clear for the summer of 2012. Of course all the roster speculation is premature until the new CBA rules are in place.
The question for the Celtics and Green — assuming he does return — is what kind of player will he be for them?
Green arrived from Oklahoma City in the Kendrick Perkins trade with the expectation that he would provide scoring and athleticism off the bench, as well as a solid backup for Paul Pierce. Green averaged 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 26 games for the Celtics and while his minutes were cut from 37 in OKC to 23 with the C’s, that was essentially the same production he gave the Thunder. On the plus side his field goal percentage jumped from 44 to 49 percent, but his 3-point shooting dipped under the 30-percent line.
After four years in the league, Green seems to have settled in as a good but not great player, which doesn’t exactly translate into future franchise cornerstone. But the Celtics believe that he still has room to develop, particularly with a full training camp under his belt.
“I think Jeff played excellent,” team president Danny Ainge said in an end of the season media session in May. “Maybe the expectations were too high. We knew he wasn’t going to start. We knew he wasn’t going to play 35 minutes. We needed a veteran player, an experienced player, an athletic player. We know what Jeff Green is. He’s a highly efficient offensive player who plays good defense. That’s what we need and he’s young and I think he’s just going to get better because of his character and work ethic.”
The problem — as it was last season — is finding a role for Green. Ainge floated the idea of starting Green and using Pierce off the bench, which seems like a reach considering Pierce is one of the best players in franchise history and still playing at an All-Star level.
While Pierce’s minutes are likely to go down next season that’s still only about 15 minutes of action. Green also struggled defensively as a four-man, although that had a lot to do with whoever was playing center. When he was in the lineup with Pierce and Kevin Garnett for example, he did just fine. When he teamed with Glen Davis to form an undersized frontcourt, not so much. Adding legitimate depth at center behind Jermaine O’Neal and rookie JaJuan Johnson can only help Green.
The Celtics believe that they can contend for a championship again next season with their core players in place, provided they receive some help from free agency and their young players develop into contributors. But no player needs to help more than Green.
If Ainge is right that Green’s best years are ahead of him he can give the Celtics a dimension they’ve lacked since the big three era began. If this is as good as it gets then it doesn’t seem likely that Green will be enough to get them past Miami and Chicago.
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