|Celtics targets in Chinese Basketball Association||02.15.13 at 6:01 pm ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers told Dennis & Callahan he and team president Danny Ainge received a list of Chinese Basketball Association imports who might fill two needs: 1) a guard who can play both backcourt positions, shoot and bring toughness and 2) a big who can stretch the floor and/or rebound.
After scouring the CBA’s 17 rosters, here are 10 guys who might be on that list of players who will begin to be available once the regular season ends Feb. 17.
Von Wafer: The 6-foot-5, 209-pound shooting guard just captured Asia-basket.com’s Player of the Week honor after scoring 51 of his team’s 112 points on 19-of-25 shooting (9-13 3P). Of course, Wafer, 27, has experience in the Celtics system, averaging 3.2 points in 9.5 minutes over 58 games during the 2010-11 season. A disappointment in Boston, he was thrown into the deal that sent Glen Davis to the Magic for Brandon Bass. Just don’t sign Wafer alongside Delonte West, the combo guard who Rivers and Ainge admitted was on their list of potential signees. Wafer and West reportedly exchanged blows after a C’s practice two years ago.
Stephon Marbury: After leading his Beijing Ducks to the CBA title last season, the 35-year-old veteran has averaged 29.5 points, 5.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game this season. He too has experience under Rivers in Boston, where he finally played his way out of the NBA during the 2008-09 season. Marbury averaged 3.8 points, 3.3 assists and 1.2 boards in 18.0 minutes a night over 23 games for the C’s.
|Von Wafer really wants to play for Real Madrid||07.29.11 at 12:43 pm ET|
Despite the Wafer camp’s “insistent” overtures to Real Madrid, the Spanish club instead signed guards Jaycee Carroll and Martynas Pocius, leaving little room on the roster for the free-agent shooting guard who came off the bench for the Celtics this past season.
Carroll graduated from Utah State in 2008 as the school’s all-time leading scorer and played for the Celtics in the Orlando Pro Summer League last summer. The Lithuanian Pocius played sparingly under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke from 2005-09.
Wafer averaged 3.2 points in 9.5 minutes over 58 games for the Celtics last season and recently indicated that he would like to return to Boston once the lockout ends. After being drafted by the Lakers in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft, Wafer has played for seven teams in seven professional seasons, including a brief stint overseas before being waived by Greek Euroleague club Olympiacos Piraeus in 2009.
In the original ESPN.com report about Wafer’s desire to suit up for the Celtics again, Wafer’s agent Terrance Doyle suggested, “Wafer might explore overseas options again depending on the length of the lockout.” In light of the most recent reports out of Spain, it appears that Wafer is already seriously testing the waters abroad.
As we’ve discussed previously in this space, the Celtics may not be interested in re-signing Wafer regardless of whether or not he signs overseas for at least three reasons: Read the rest of this entry »
|Report: Von Wafer wouldn’t rule out Celtics return||07.06.11 at 1:29 pm ET|
In order to break his streak of starting with a new team each time he enters an NBA training camp, Von Wafer is reportedly opening to returning to the Celtics if and when the 2011-12 season begins, according to a report by ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg. Here’s what Wafer’s agent, Terrance Doyle, told Forsberg:
“Von would love to be back. He’s never gotten that opportunity to go back with a team.”
But do the Celtics want Wafer back? Especially considering they gave Wafer’s No. 12 to their first-round pick (Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson) and drafted a shooting guard with their No. 55 pick (Purdue’s E’Twaun Moore) in addition to signing another undrafted guard (Pittsburgh’s Gilbert Brown). Not to mention the number of quality shooting guards expected to be available via free agency — including Delonte West.
In just 9.5 minutes per over 58 games — no thanks in part to a calf injury — Wafer averaged 3.2 points on 42.1 percent shooting from the field (26.9 from 3-point range). Unless you count his preseason brawl with West, Wafer didn’t exactly provide the firepower off the bench the Celtics had hoped from a guy who scored 9.7 points on 44.7 percent shooting (39.0 from 3) during his 2008-09 campaign in a Rockets uniform.
While Wafer’s defensive deficiency improved under the tutelage of Doc Rivers & Co., he only reached double-digit scoring just six times during the season. Two of those performances came in the final two games of the regular season, when the starters rested, and two more came in 15-point blowouts. Chances are the Celtics could find somebody to provide better punch on both ends of the floor — even at the bottom of the salary barrel.
|Biggest bonehead play of Celtics season?||04.12.11 at 2:54 pm ET|
Because Von Wafer provided us with perhaps the most boneheaded play of the entire Celtics season — which, when you think about it, cost the Celtics the game and an outside shot at the No. 2 seed — I’d be remiss if I didn’t include video of such an historic event on Green Street …
|Getting the new Celtics to play like Celtics||03.24.11 at 5:28 pm ET|
There’s really no precedent for what the Celtics are trying to accomplish in a post Kendrick Perkins world. While other teams have added complementary parts to the equation at the trade deadline or even one large piece to the puzzle, the Celtics turned over a third of the roster, while also trying to re-introduce three important cogs who missed a combined 134 games because of injuries in Delonte West, Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal.
That’s a lot of change for a team that prides itself on its consistency. For years they knew exactly what they wanted to do, and how they were going to do it. When something went wrong it required a subtle tweak more than a complete overhaul.
Step one is the relatively straightforward assignment of having the new players learn the system. That takes time and repetition, but at the end of the day basketball is basketball and it’s not like there’s a hundred different ways to defend the pick and roll.
More than the schemes and the playbook, however, the biggest challenge is more intangible than tangible and it’s the biggest question hanging over the team for the next three weeks: How do you get the new faces to play like Celtics?
“The most important thing Doc [Rivers] is trying to teach them is how we play, how the Celtics play,” assistant coach Armond Hill said following the team’s practice on Thursday. “How we move the ball, how we play defense.”
Added fellow assistant Kevin Eastman, “Every team that is vying for championships, they have a DNA. Part of our DNA is not just the set that we run or who we go to, but it’s how we do it. The how is every bit as important.”
Ask any of the veteran Celtics and they will echo the coach’s thoughts.
“Getting them to understand the level and disciple and professionalism and all the other things that come with being a Celtic, Kevin Garnett said on an interview with WEEI’s Mut & Merloni [Listen to the audio here]. “The responsibility of playing hard every night. We’ve set that precedent here.”
They have been around each other so much over the last three and a half seasons that their approach has become second-nature. That doesn’t mean they don’t mess things up on occasion. Just look at the last minute of the loss to Memphis on Wednesday where the execution broke down. But when things go wrong, they have a deep understanding of the how and the why and it becomes a matter of fine-tuning the process to get the desired results. There’s a level of trust and familiarity involved and that simply can’t be distributed and absorbed like a playbook.
That, more than the wins and losses, is what the last three weeks of the regular season is all about. Read the rest of this entry »
|Good news on Glen Davis, not so much Delonte West and Von Wafer||03.08.11 at 2:27 pm ET|
WALTHAM — After sounding hopeful on Saturday that Delonte West would return Wednesday against the Clippers, Doc Rivers ruled that possiblity out following practice on Tuesday. West has missed the last four games with a sprained right ankle and was limited to working out on an exercise bicycle Tuesday while the team held an open practice.
“He’s not going to play [Wednesday],” “I think he’s doubtful for Friday, as well. We’re hoping Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Von Wafer is also battling leg issues and Rivers said his back-up guard, injured against Golden State last Friday, is out indefinitely. “Von is going to miss a while. He’s nowhere close to coming back,” Rivers said.
There was some good news as Rivers sounded much more hopeful with regard to Glen Davis, who is battling left knee soreness. The power forward has missed the last two games with patellar tendinitis.
“Baby said he felt great today but we’re going to hold him out for the next two games, for sure,” Rivers said.
The Celtics play the Clippers at TD Garden Wednesday night before traveling to Philadelphia for a Friday night game with the 76ers. They host Milwaukee on Sunday night.
Also, Carlos Arroyo participated in his first practice Tuesday with the Celtics after being signed to a veteran minimum pro-rated contract for the remainder of the season over the weekend. Arroyo is expected to be available on Wednesday night when the Celtics play the Clippers.
‘He played against us in two playoff series. He should know some of our stuff. That’s the way we look at it. But he’s a point guard, been a point guard all his life. So I think some of the stuff, he’ll pick up pretty quickly. All the nuances of things, that’ll just take time,’ Rivers said.
|Doc Rivers to his new reserves: We don’t take practice off so you better be ready||03.05.11 at 8:40 pm ET|
WALTHAM — You could sense the urgency in his voice.
Doc Rivers is a coach who exudes confidence and a positive attitude. But he also calls it the way he sees it and can push the emotional buttons of his players when need be.
After practice Saturday, he sent a very clear message to his second unit.
“They’ve got to get out of their [old] habits, wherever they’ve been,” Rivers said, referring clearly to Jeff Green, Sasha Pavlovic, Troy Murphy and Nenad Krstic. “We don’t [practice] long but we play with intensity, play hard. You just see some of their habits and some of their habits have to change. It will. It’s just going to take time.”
Rivers made it clear before practice began with several hundred fans listening in that their “help” defense was very sub-par Friday night in a 107-103 win over the Warriors.
“Learning to cover for each other is number one,” Rivers said. “But you can’t do that unless you have unbelievable focus and intensity and that’s what we’re trying to show them. I thought they were trying to do the right stuff on their help [defense] but they were always late because they’re not ready.”
Then Rivers got really serious.
“A lot of pros practice and they think practice is leisure and we don’t believe that here. It’s quick here but it’s hard. When you have your starters, who are playing 35 minutes [a game] going hard and you have your second unit going in cruise control, that’s not going to settle well with me.”
During the open practice Saturday afternoon at their practice facility, which gave a peek to fans and special guests into some of their basic defensive principles, defensive coach Lawrence Frank called out positions and assignments and helped Rivers get the new players accustomed to the Celtics‘ way of defending. Read the rest of this entry »