|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 »
|Celtics targets: Michael Redd, Grant Hill, Tayshaun Prince?||08.10.11 at 10:52 am ET|
Whether or not they can get a deal done after the NBA lockout, the Celtics will be in prime position this summer to encourage prominent free agents Michael Redd, Grant Hill and Tayshaun Prince to at least consider signing in Boston if and when the season begins.
I’ve heard Milwaukee Bucks management approached Michael Redd before the lockout about returning for another season, although my impeccable sources insist he’s going to wind up with one of the Eastern Conference’s title contenders.
Redd averaged 20-plus points for six straight seasons from 2003-08 before suffering a series of knee injuries that kept him from 185 games over the final three years of a six-year, $90.9 million deal with the Bucks. Playing the final 10 games of this past season, he averaged 4.4 points (40.0 FG%) and 1.2 assists in 13.4 minutes.
Assuming Redd targets legit Eastern Conference title contenders, that should limit his potential landing spots to Boston, Miami and Chicago. While the Heat and Bulls could offer Redd more playing time, no team would allocate much more than the veteran minimum to the almost 32-year-old shooting guard — and the Celtics have one appeal those other teams don’t: Redd’s old friend and former Bucks teammate Ray Allen.
During a Celtics road trip to Milwaukee in March, Allen and Redd shared dinner the night before the C’s defeated the Bucks, discussing their three seasons together from 2000-03. Here’s what Allen told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about that conversation: Read the rest of this entry »
|Your daily Rajon Rondo update: With Kendrick Perkins||at 8:23 am ET|
Of course, it’s only for one day — Friday at 1 p.m. — in the Ozen (Beaumont, Texas) High gymnasium where Perkins played prior to joining the Celtics as the No. 27 overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft.
With As the culmination of a three-day basketball camp in his hometown, Perkins will host a celebrity all-star game, featuring former C’s teammate Rondo, current Thunder teammates Kevin Durant, James Harden and Eric Maynor as well as Bucks guard Stephen Jackson.
With the news that Durant just began negotiations on a potential deal to play alongside Deron Williams in Turkey, you can bet news outlets will be making the 90-minute trek from Houston to Beaumont.
Houston native Jackson and Rondo have long been friends of Perkins, also attending the former Celtics center’s 2009 bachelor party and wedding. And it appears Perk’s become fast friends with Durant, Harden and Maynor after being traded to Oklahoma City in February and playing just 34 games with his new team.
The news is just one more encouraging sign that Rondo — who tweeted a photo on Tuesday of his healing dislocated left elbow, knees and ankles wrapped after a lengthy workout — is on schedule to be NBA game ready when the lockout ends. Here’s a quick rundown of Rondo’s busy offseason schedule so far …
|Delonte West’s day in court & other Celtics news||08.02.11 at 4:02 pm ET|
Considering Delonte West‘s history with law enforcement, the news that the Celtics free-agent guard appeared in court on Tuesday morning could have been a lot worse, but he simply had a motor vehicle summons dismissed.
West and his attorneys appeared in a Stamford, Conn. courtroom as a result of what they called “a paperwork mix-up with his car registration” when state police stopped him in his Range Rover at a rest stop on I-95 at 11:30 p.m. on May 12 — the day after the C’s Game 5 loss to Miami in the Eastern Conference semifinals — according to the Stamford Advocate.
“There’s nothing to this,” West’s lawyer, Matthew Adams, told the paper.
That’s good news, since the last time West ran into the police (September 2009) he was hit with a couple gun possession charges while on his motorcycle near his Maryland home. That eventually resulted in a 10-game suspension when he returned to the Celtics this past season. West remained under house arrest for much of the 2010-11 season until he was released in March.
A couple other Celtics items of note on a Tuesday afternoon …
|Your daily Rajon Rondo update: At Patriots practice||08.01.11 at 8:36 am ET|
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo attended Patriots practice on Sunday and chatted up head coach Bill Belichick as well as a number of players, including newest Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco and nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who had developed a friendly relationship with as a regular attendee of Celtics games at the Garden.
Growing up in Louisville, Ky., Rondo played quarterback in youth football leagues, but his mother steered her 6-foot-1, 170-pound son toward a life of basketball as a safety matter. Perhaps that’s where he developed the toughness to finish Game 3 and play in Games 4 and 5 with a dislocated elbow.
Here are some more pictures from Rondo’s day at Patriots training camp … Read the rest of this entry »
|Your daily Rajon Rondo update: ‘Back to School’||07.29.11 at 3:26 pm ET|
According to University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari, Rajon Rondo will join fellow former Wildcats John Wall and Eric Bledsoe as students at the school for the upcoming fall semester should the lockout continue.
As Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones noted, Rondo & Co. could practice with their former college team as student assistant coaches should they enroll full-time (12 credit hours in a semester).
Rondo left Kentucky after his sophomore year in 2006, while both Wall and Bledsoe departed following their freshman seasons in 2010. Presumably, the Celtics point guard is a lot closer to actually achieving his college degree than his counterparts on the Wizards and Clippers. Hopefully, the NBA lockout won’t last long enough for any of them to take two or three years of classes, although all three should be commended if they actually do enroll and attend college courses.
And there better be a “Back to School” reality show based on this with Rondo going around saying stuff like, “I hereby dedicate this building to myself,” “Bring us a pitcher of beer every seven minutes until somebody passes out, and then bring one every 10 minutes” and “Why don’t you call me some time when you have no class?”
I could go on all day with Rondo in “Back to School” scenarios, but I’ll spare you. Instead, check out this Rondo impression by Harlem Globetrotter Dizzy Grant and answer the poll question below …
|Impromptu Irish Coffee: The Next Bill Russell?||07.28.11 at 1:58 pm ET|
When someone compares a player to Bill Russell, my usual reaction is a rolling of the eyes, followed by an audible sigh and capped by a sarcastic, “And Harold Miner is the next Michael Jordan.” However, when a member of the Celtics‘ front office makes the analogy, that’s an entirely different story.
Celtics senior director of basketball operations Leo Papile — also the Boston Amateur Basketball Club’s director — told Louisville’s Courier-Journal that the current star of his AAU program, Nerlens Noel (great name, by the way), could indeed be the next William Felton Russell:
“No one has ever been compared to Bill Russell, but I said that about this kid when he was in the eighth grade. He has a basketball brain like no other player that I have ever coached. He’s a special kid. …
‘He has great timing. Everything he does is just perfect. He passes, his team defense … it’s all just perfect. And now he has an offensive game.”
ESPNU’s No. 3 ranked recruit and top-ranked center in the Class of 2013, Noel led Papile’s BABC team to the Peach Jam title earlier this month and the AAU Super Showcase championship game this past week. This winter, the 6-foot-10, 215-pound Everett native enters his junior season at New Hampshire’s Tilton School.
To put Papile’s statement in perspective, he has worked for the Celtics since 1997 and currently serves as one of the team’s chief talent evaluators at the NBA, D-League, international and collegiate levels. Founding the BABC in 1977, he has helped develop NBA talents like Patrick Ewing and Dana Barros.
So, the real question is: Does the 17-year-old Noel even know who is the greatest winner in professional sports? Read the rest of this entry »