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Tuesday, 17 September 2013 16:36

Report: Boston Celtics Waive Donte Greene

According to HoopsHype.com, the Boston Celtics have officially waived newly acquired forward Donte Greene. About a month ago, the Celtics landed Greene in a trade that sent Fab Melo to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for the 25-year old journeyman.

The move shouldn’t come as any surprise to Celtics fans, especially when you consider the fact that even Greene knew he wasn’t a part of the organization’s short or long-term plans.

Greene’s agent, Chris Grier-Luchey, informed HoopsHype’s Jorge Sierra of the contract his client would be finalizing with a squad in China in the near future. Of course, Greene won’t officially be able to sign that deal until the Celtics complete the process of releasing him.

With Greene almost out the door the Celtics now have their roster down to 18 players, four of which are on non-guaranteed, camp invite contracts. It’ll be interesting to see if the team decides to add another player to max out their depth chart at 15 players. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe, Boston Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens said today that there is no timetable set for when Rajon Rondo might return to action. 

As you know, Rondo tore/ruptured his ACL back in late January of this year during a regular season bout with the Atlanta Hawks. The mercurial point guard then went on to have surgery in early February and, fortunately, the procedure proved to be successful. But despite the success of that surgery, Rondo has yet to participate in any major basketball related activities to this point in the offseason. Of course, you could count some light shooting as working out but those "jumpers" are more like set shots. 

With that said, though, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that Rondo is still sidelined. 

On average, it usually takes an athlete about a year to fully recover from an injury such as this. However, you might argue that the rehabilitation process can move more rapidly in some cases (see Peterson, Adrian). But Peterson is the exception, not the rule. In other cases, rehabbing can last longer than a year (see Rose, Derrick). Each player's body is different and it's crucial for the athlete to trust in the rehabbing process so as to avoid both setbacks and relapses. 

Fortunately, Rondo doesn't seem to be in any rush back. Whether he is ready to go on opening night or doesn't come back until late December/early January is completely irrelevant. And judging by the way the Celtics organization has approached questions on the return of Rondo, they truly aren't even sure themselves. Danny Ainge originally said it would be opening night but Jared Sullinger then turned around and said his point guard would return in December. Ainge later retracted his first statement and told the media that he "has no idea." In essence, Stevens all but solidified Ainge's most recent statement when he added his two cents earlier this afternoon. 

Having not even the slightest clue hinting at when number 9 will lace up his sneakers for the first time since the injury, our best bet is to just sit tight -- as hard as that may be -- and wait until the team gets a chance to evaluate him further at training camp. We may not know of his status until the day before his first action. 

Friday, 13 September 2013 18:57

What to Expect From Rajon Rondo in 2013-14

Tim MacLean (@TimMacLean_)

Predicting what the 2013-14 campaign has in store for Rajon Rondo is a bit tricky. At this point in the offseason we still aren’t sure when he’ll be ready to suit up and, as recent as today, the Celtics still have “no timetable” for his return. But given the state of this team, Rondo should be in no rush to get back on the floor with his teammates even if he thinks he’s almost 100%.

Similar to Derrick Rose, Rondo should be with the mind set of fully recovering from the torn ACL he suffered in January of last season. The difference, though, is that Rondo’s Celtics aren’t contending for a title like Rose’s Bulls were. And because of that, the Celtics can afford to begin their rebuilding efforts without their star floor general.

With that said, I would expect to see Rondo make his season debut either in late December or at the turn of the calendar year. Until then, Rondo will continue to lead on the sideline during both games and practices as he began to do late last season. However, when the time comes for Rondo to go to battle, I think he’ll be the same, if not better, player he’s always been.

Although his assists numbers may decrease from what he’s used to, I truly believe Rondo will be a better scorer. Usually, when a player tears their ACL their jump shot improves due to the fact that shooting is all you can really do when you begin rehabbing. Of course, they’re more like set shots but nonetheless they help to develop a smoother and more consistent shooting stroke.

Overall I believe Rondo is more than ready to be the top dog in Beantown. Whether or not he takes advantage of this opportunity is completely up to him. If he becomes frustrated and proves to be a detriment to the team then Danny Ainge may have no choice but to move him prior to the trade deadline.

Stat Projections:

38.7 MPG, 16.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 9.1 APG, 48% FG, 34% 3-FG

Thursday, 12 September 2013 17:36

What to Expect From Jared Sullinger in 2013-14

Tim MacLean (@TimMacLean_)

There are a lot of things you can do to start an NBA season off on the right foot, but getting arrested isn’t one of them. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to Jared Sullinger earlier this month when he turned himself in to police a few days after a domestic violence incident he was involved in.

With another court date set for later this month, Sullinger has both that and training camp, which begins at the end of the month, on his plate. It will be interesting to see if Sully can get past this sticky situation because he’ll have to be completely focused on the task at hand if he hopes to earn starter’s minutes this year.

Legal issues aside, Sullinger has a rare opportunity in front of him that not many second-year players get. The former Ohio State Buckeye will be starting games for the Celtics this year, whether it’s from day one or at another point in the season. With the Celtics in the middle of a full-blown rebuild, the team is going to want their pieces of the future playing as much as possible. Sullinger is one of those pieces and he proved that with his fantastic play in 2012-13.

The 2013-14 campaign should be no different for this big man, granted his back doesn’t act up on him. If he can stay healthy and avoid missing a ton of games, Sully has a very good chance at leading Boston in rebounding. Hopefully the Celtics front office doesn’t mess this up by overplaying Brandon Bass or another veteran that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for the near future. The quicker the younger guys on this team develop, the quicker we get out of this rebuild. Look for Sullinger to have a very impressive sophomore season.

Stat Projections:

37.3 MPG, 13.0 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 49.8% FG

Wednesday, 11 September 2013 19:23

What to Expect From Avery Bradley in 2013-14

Tim MacLean (@TimMacLean_)

For Avery Bradley, the 2013-14 campaign is one that will ultimately aide in determining the young guard’s NBA future. Currently in the last year of his rookie contract, the Celtics have until October 31st to sign Bradley to an extension. However should they fail to do so, Bradley will become a restricted free agent once the summer of 2014 commences.

At this point in the offseason there hasn’t been much chatter of a potential contract extension for the former Texas Longhorn and, due to the recent passing of his mother, I don’t expect him to be talking numbers with the Celtics any time soon. After all, would you be negotiating a new contract while simultaneously mourning the loss of a loved one? Absolutely not. And nobody would expect you to.

Bradley is fortunate enough to have already proven himself as a valuable piece throughout his three-year career. As a result, the question isn’t whether or not Bradley gets paid following the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, it’s whether or not the Celtics will be the organization paying him.

Despite dealing with nagging shoulders injuries since entering the Association, Bradley has made a name for himself as a lockdown perimeter defender. With a career defensive rating of 103, Bradley uses both speed and toughness to contain some of the league’s best players and this year should be no different.

But perhaps what makes Bradley so special is his ability to contribute on both ends of the floor. You look at a defensive stalwart like Tony Allen and you immediately recognize that he’s strictly one-dimensional. Bradley on the other hand showed us flashes of a knockdown jumper during the 2011-12 season. The Boston two-guard shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and converted on 40 percent of his three point tries. Unfortunately both of those numbers took a hit last year but I chock that up to Bradley coming off of double shoulder surgery during the summer of 2012.

While it’s unlikely Bradley will be able to sustain those percentages from 2011-12 this upcoming season, I fully expect him to improve upon last year’s marks. And for the first time in his short career, Bradley will be asked to take more shots on a game to game basis due to the loss of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

With his first full, injury-free offseason under his belt heading into this year, expect Bradley to have his best season to date, especially on the offensive end of the floor. His exact role in the offense is uncertain but what we do know for sure is that Bradley will be getting a new pay day at the end of the season.

Stat Projections:

35.6 MPG, 14.2 PPG, 1.9 SPG, 37% 3-FG

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 17:21

What to Expect From Kelly Olynyk in 2013-14

Tim MacLean (@TimMacLean_)

Prior to the 2013 NBA Draft many people wondered whether or not Kelly Olynyk has what it takes to be an effective big man at the NBA level. Standing seven feet tall and weighing in at 238 pounds, Olynyk doesn’t possess the Herculean mass that you see in the majority of today’s post players. As a result, both scouts and GM’s around the league became unsure of the Gonzaga forward’s long-term outlook and that’s completely understandable. However, Danny Ainge and the Celtics saw something in Olynyk that other front offices didn’t, making it easy to snatch up “Sunshine” – as Jeff Green dubbed him – with the 13th overall pick.

Olynyk began proving doubters wrong during the Orlando Summer League earlier this summer. He ranked fourth in the league in points per game (18.0) all while shooting at an extremely impressive 58% clip. What’s more, Olynyk put in solid work on the boards each time out, hauling in 7.8 per contest. Of course, it would be foolish to read too much into Summer League stats but, still, Olynyk’s performance throughout the five day tournament was more than enough to keep us excited for his regular season debut.

At this point in the offseason we know exactly what the Celtics have in Kelly Olynyk. He’s going to score in myriad ways, whether it’s mid-range jumpers, threes, or crafty low-post moves, he’ll have little trouble putting up points in the NBA. The only downfall is that he’ll most likely be a liability on the defensive end of the floor during his inaugural season due to his lack of girth. Expect to see opposing teams attack Olynyk on the low-block by playing bully ball. If the big Canadian is being continuously dominated in the paint game in and game out then his overall confidence may take a huge hit.

But as is the case with all rookies, the 2013-14 campaign will surely be a massive learning experience for the Celtics draftee. And while it will certainly take some time before Olynyk becomes a solid NBA defender, I expect to see him contribute in a big way offensively as Boston’s third, fourth, or fifth scoring option.

Defensive sieve or not, Kelly Olynyk will be a mainstay in the Rookie of the Year conversation throughout the season.

Stat Projections:

25.0 MPG, 13.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 53% FG, 36% 3-FG

 
Monday, 09 September 2013 20:28

What to Expect From MarShon Brooks in 2013-14

Sloan Piva

One of the most intriguing new additions to the Celtics roster, MarShon Brooks could be a delight to watch this season. The 24-year-old, previously drafted by the Celtics in 2011 then carelessly traded for JaJuan Johnson, could be here to stay now. He's young, he's cheap, he's quick and he does a lot of things well. He's got long arms, which helps on defense and on the boards. The one issue that could keep him off Stevens' regular rotation is his proneness to one-on-one isolations. If he remembers to play team basketball, he could emerge as one of the finer offensive talents in the league.

Stat Projections:

23.1 MPG, 9.2 PPG, 1.5 SPG, 45.7% FG, 30.0% 3-FG

Tim MacLean

Among the haul of players Boston received in their blockbuster deal with Brooklyn earlier this summer was MarShon Brooks, a hit or miss scorer with loads of potential.

The Celtics originally drafted Brooks with the 25th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft but immediately traded him to the then-New Jersey Nets in exchange for JaJuan Johnson and a 2014 second-round pick. However it wasn’t too much longer until Danny Ainge had realized he made a pretty big mistake.

Brooks played the role of “sleeper pick” during his inaugural season with the Nets averaging 12.6 points over the course of 29.4 minutes per night. The Providence product quickly became a focal point of that New Jersey offense, accumulating a 22.9 usage rate during the lockout shortened 2011-12 campaign. A usage rate that high is pretty impressive for a rookie – Lebron James had a 28.2 usage rate for his rookie year – but one must remember that the Nets were terrible that year. And don’t get me wrong, Brooks only compares to King James in his dreams. He’ll never be even a tenth of the player James is but the comparison was strictly to put his dominance of the ball in perspective.

The biggest knock on Brooks, though, comes down to either his inefficient three-point shooting or his abysmal defensive play. The former Providence Friar certainly knows how to put the ball in the basket but he launches shots with a mindset reminiscent of Nick Young.

A career 30% shooter from beyond the arc, Brooks has a lot of work to do if he wants to become a consistent marksman. But if Brooks can shore up his inconsistencies on the offensive end and put in a greater effort on defense then he should be a very serviceable piece in 2013-14. As of now Brooks still has a load of untapped potential but if he can set his mind to perfecting his craft, he could become one of the leagues more feared scorers.

Stat Projections:

25.3 MPG, 14.2 PPG, 1.1 SPG, 44.0% FG, 34.7% 3-FG

Sunday, 08 September 2013 20:55

What to Expect From Courtney Lee in 2013-14

Sloan Piva

Courtney Lee struggled mightily last season, appearing to lack a true identity in Doc Rivers' offense. While he shot fairly well from the field (46 percent), he showed very little aggressiveness and seemed to mistrust his jump shot. Expect a slight bounce-back from Lee this fall, as he and coach Brad Stevens should hit it off. In what will likely be a fast-paced, up-tempo style of play, the quick-footed 27-year-old could return to double-digit scoring averages like he enjoyed two years ago in Houston.  Just don't expect him to distribute the ball or provide too many plays of the week.

Stat Projections:

26.4 MPG, 10.4 PPG, 1.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, 39% 3-FG

Tim MacLean

Heading into the 2012-13 campaign Courtney Lee was expected to be a key member of Doc Rivers’ rotation. A career 38% shooter from downtown and a respectable on-ball defender, Lee had all the tools necessary to be an effective “3-and-D” player for the Boston Celtics. Unfortunately, that’s not how things panned out for the 27-year old out of Western Kentucky.

Over the course of 78 games last year, Lee failed to match his career mark from three point range as he converted on just 37% of his attempts. And while the difference between 37 and 38 percent doesn’t seem like all that much, it’s important to remember that this is a guy who shot at least 40% from beyond the arc in three of his first four seasons.

Lee’s inefficient offense ultimately led to him being placed in Rivers’ doghouse during the playoffs where he would shoot 20% and 0% from the floor and distance, respectively, in just 39 minutes of play.

But now that Rivers is out and Brad Stevens is in, Courtney Lee has a chance to redeem himself in 2013-14. He’ll be given the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and essentially re-play his first season in Boston due to the simple fact that Stevens’ rotation is anything but set in stone. I expect Lee to serve as the first guard off of the bench while he takes another crack at being a “3-and-D” specialist.

With less pressure on him to produce, the 6-6 guard will find it this year to be much less stressful. He won’t have to play with the mentality that he is trying to replace some of Ray Allen’s production. Instead, Lee will be able to play his own game and, as a result, he should realize greater success in his sophomore season as a member of the Celtics.

Stat Projections:

26.0 MPG, 12.4 PPG, 1.7 APG, 1.7 SPG, 41% 3-FG

Saturday, 07 September 2013 17:56

What to Expect From Kris Humphries in 2013-14

Tim MacLean (@TimMacLean_)

Prior to falling out of favor in Brooklyn last season, Kris Humphries was one of the few players in the league that exemplified what it meant to be a walking double-double.

Humphries achieved the aforementioned feat during both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons while playing starter’s minutes for the then-New Jersey Nets. And his 10.4 and 11.0 rebounds per game, respectively, were each good enough for fifth best in the league in those same to year’s.

Now with Boston, Humphries could potentially be in for a heavy work load in 2013-14 due to the Celtics’ lack of depth at center. At 6 feet and 9 inches Humphries isn’t exactly of ideal size compared to the rest of the league’s middle men but the Cs don’t have much of a choice with Vitor Faverani being the only true center on the roster. Of course there is the possibility of starting Kelly Olynyk at the five but questions of his low post strength may force Brad Stevens to go in another direction.

However whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, Humphries’ 10th year in the Association will certainly be a big one. I fully expect to see him average double digit points and rebounds for the third time in his quietly productive career. In fact the 2013-14 campaign could be the best Humphries has had to date due to the simple fact that he is in a contract year. Humphries is going to be on a mission to prove that last year’s drop off in production was a direct result of limited playing time, not declining ability.

Stat Projections:

32.7 MPG, 12.0 PPG, 11.2 RPG

Friday, 06 September 2013 17:46

What to Expect From Gerald Wallace in 2013-14

Sloan Piva (@sloanpiva)

"Crash" comes to Boston as one of the more expensive parts of the Pierce/KG trade, but he's also probably the best all-around offensive player of the mix. Wallace will cost the C's over $30 million over the next three seasons, so it's a distinct possibility he gets dealt if president of basketball operations Danny Ainge can find a way. But if he stays on board, his role on this team could equal one of the more dynamic hybrid bench threats in the league. He's only a couple years removed from an All-Star 2009-10 season, in which he posted 18 points and 10 rebounds per game with the Bobcats. The Celtics need his rebounding, hustle, intelligence and scoring ability for things to work between them. Basically, he needs to forget about his woes last season and the Celtics need to forget about how much he costs this season.

Stat Projections:

29.5 MPG, 15.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 42.5% FG

Rich Conte (@richconte)

As recently as four seasons ago, Celtics fans would have been ecstatic over the possibility of acquiring Gerald Wallace.  The 6-7 Swiss Army knife was a rugged defender and rebounder, as well as an opportunistic scorer perfectly suited to come off the bench and put a title threat like the Celtics over the top.  Four years later, taking on his contract (roughly $30M over the next three seasons) was the bitter pill that Boston had to swallow in the deal that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn in exchange for a bounty of draft picks and expiring contracts.

Wallace’s skills, or at least the perception of the value he brings on the court, have deteriorated significantly since his appearance in the 2010 All Star game.  He has gone from a line of 18.2/10.0/.484/.371/.776 with Charlotte in 2010 down to 7.7/4.6/.397/.282/.637 last season with the Nets.  The best case scenario for the Celtics this season is that Wallace is able to reestablish enough value that he becomes an attractive trade target for a contending team at the deadline.  Given that, he is likely to see steady minutes backing up Jeff Green at the 3 and even playing alongside Green in smaller lineups.  If Rajon Rondo returns to form early in the season and the Celtics commit to playing a more up-tempo game, Wallace will have a decent chance at a bounce-back year.

Stat Projections:

27.4 MPG, 11.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.9 SPG, 44.3 FG%

Tim MacLean (@TimMacLean_)

At this stage of his career Gerald Wallace is nothing more than a role player and that’s exactly what he’ll be for the 2013-14 Celtics.

With Jeff Green slated to enter the starting line-up this season, Wallace has a chance to become the first option of off Brad Stevens’ bench. The 31 year-old forward may have had a down year with the Nets last season but Wallace’s track record proves to us that he can still make a substantial impact in this league.

Prior to having his worst statistical season since his third year in the league, Wallace had averaged at least 11.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game over the last eight seasons. But while that’s certainly impressive it’s also concerning that he’s never played a full 82 game season throughout his 12 year career. If he can stay healthy for the majority of the year then Wallace could definitely be an 11 and 5 guy for the Celtics, possibly better depending on how much burn he gets.

Ultimately it’s going to come down to how efficient he can be on the offensive end of the floor. Wallace has converted on .468 percent of his field goals over the course of his career but in 2012-13 he only was only able to shoot at a .397 clip. If he can reclaim his rep as an accurate scorer from the field then he’ll be go back to being a very serviceable player on both ends of the floor (career 103 DRtg).

Stat Projections:

26.3 MPG, 12.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 46.7 FG%

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