Smart Move Signals A Changing Of The Guard

First off I would like to congratulate Marcus Smart and James Young on becoming the newest members of the Boston Celtics. I can’t wait to see what both are able to bring to the floor.

We all know that Danny Ainge went in to the draft with the tactic of drafting the best player available, not based on what the team needs right now. This is an obvious thing to do as it is clear the Celtics are a long way from title contenders.

Having said that, by drafting Smart with the 6th pick there is obviously going to be ramifications for the rest of the guards that Boston already possesses.

Credit: Brad Penner

Credit: Brad Penner

Rajon Rondo was the name that many people thought of first.  I truly believe that Smart and Rondo can co-exist. They are both brutal competitors and could form a very dangerous back court duo.

The trade rumours are obviously going to be crazy this off season, but I don’t think Ainge will actively shop Rondo. He is a four time All Star and Captain of the team, they don’t just grow on trees. It will take a huge offer for Ainge to pull the trigger, and I hope the offer doesn’t come.

The player I believe the selection of Smart effects most is Avery Bradley, who is a restricted free-agent. If Smart moves to the shooting guard position, and plays alongside Rondo, Bradley is left as the odd one out. Smart’s rookie contract is going to be a lot cheaper than retaining Bradley, who could ask for up to $9 million this off season.

Avery Bradley has always been known for his defence. Much like Bradley, Smart plays great defence and never gives up on a play. Smart is 1″ taller, and has a 2″ longer wingspan than Bradley. This may not sound like much but on the defensive end a long wingspan is so very valuable.  This only adds to the fact that Bradley could now been seen as dispensable by Ainge.

As much as I love what Bradley brings to the Celtics, I don’t believe he is worth $9 million. Sadly, I think we’ve seen the last of Avery Bradley in Boston.

Phil Pressey showed tremendous promise throughout his rookie season in 2013/14. He went undrafted but showed he can definitely have an impact in the NBA.

The drafting of Smart will have a huge effect on Pressey’s minutes going forward. Smart will take a lot of the minutes that Pressey saw last season. That being said, if Smart is moved to the two guard position, Pressey will most likely still see some court time as Rondo’s primary back up.

I think Pressey is definitely worth keeping around, especially due to the fact that he is cheap and is learning from one of the best in Rajon Rondo.

Jerryd Bayless came to Boston in the Courtney Lee trade last season. Mainly seen as a cost-saving move, he did provide some quality games for the Celtics and was a solid contributor once he became familiar with sBrad Steven’ system.

This off season, Bayless becomes an unrestricted free-agent. Unlike Bradley, Bayless could be signed for a reasonable amount. If the Celtics can sign him for a good price I think he will still have a role to play for the team. He could slot in nicely as a sixth man, behind Rondo at the point and Smart at shooting guard.

Marcus Smart brings so much fight and heart to the Celtics. He is mature beyond his years and has an NBA ready frame and mindset. Whilst his selection could be problematic for individuals, the future of the Celtics looks to be in good hands.

A Study In Green: Jason Collins

In this week’s addition to A Study In Green, we talk about former Celtics centre Jason Collins. Let’s see how Collins’ time with the Celtics panned out.

0503_oag_jason-collins

The Good

Collins’ strength may not appear on the stat sheets but in his time with the Celtics, he was able to demonstrate his ability as an effective defender who was able to set hard screens for the other scorers.

Although Collins has shortcomings as a player, he is universally regarded as a fantastic teammate. A great role model towards the younger players, he is the kind of guy who plays hard in practice and relishes the opportunity to mentor younger guys.

The Bad

Collins is far from the best player in the NBA. In 32 games for the Celtics, which included 7 starts, he averaged 10.3 minutes per game, 1.2 points per game and 1.6 rebounds per game. In addition, Collins would also find himself in early foul trouble in many of the games he played.

He was never really able to find a spot in the Celtics under Doc Rivers’ rotation and was subsequently traded, along with Leandro Barbosa, to the Washington Wizards for Jordan Crawford.

The Verdict

There isn’t much to say about Collins’ time at the Celtics. To sum up, it was an uneventful tenure. In a Celtics team that lacked height, Collins did provide a presence in the paint and on the defensive post.

There have also been questions of whether Collins could possibly be a Celtic again next season as he would come cheap and provide great leadership. This now seems unlikely since the Celtics have signed Brazilian centre Vitor Faverani and a coach who is keen on going forward with a young team. Being on the wrong side of 30, it will be hard for Collins to find a team in the NBA.  However, any team could benefit from Collins’ presence as he could provide a veteran defensive post presence in limited minute.

What did you think of Jason Collins’ time as a Celtic? Would you want to see him back for the Celtics? Why or why not?

A Study in Green: Jordan Crawford 2012/13 season review

Jordan Crawford fan art credit Kaine Underwood, resident Celtics Down Under artist.

Jordan Crawford art credit Kaine Underwood, resident Celtics Down Under graphic artist.

Every night, he scares both coaches.”

Doc hits the nail on the head with this quote when asked about Jordan Crawford.  After our bench scoring spark plug in Leandro Barbosa went down, Boston had no choice but to try to bring in somebody else to add a semblance of offense to the bench unit.  Enter Jordan Crawford, who prior to joining the Celtics, was known for throwing down a 2 handed dunk on LeBron, and his love for shooting the basketball.  Towards the end of his Washington stint, Crawford’s questionable shot selection and maturity contributed to him being buried deep on both Washington’s bench, and Randy Whitman’s dog house.

The Good

At the price of seldom-used Jason Collins and an injured Leandro Barbosa, Boston’s biggest need was met when they traded for Jordan Crawford mid-season at a very cheap price (he is still on his rookie deal also).  Not only was his bench scoring (9.1ppg in 21mpg over 27 games with Boston) important, but, his ability to create his own shot was equally as important, especially with Rondo injured and out of action.

Crawford is also an extremely good passer, to the point when Danny Ainge casually mentioned that Jordan might be the best passer on the team.   Jordan’s vision and patience in probing a team’s defence has been one of the most underrated aspects of his game.

The Bad

Shot selection.

Jordan Crawford, Alonzo Gee, Kyrie Irving

Crawford has never met a shot that he doesn’t like.  Doc knew the type of player that Jordan was, but, he could not change him in such a limited amount of games, so, he just let him play.  There was a lot of good, but, unfortunately, there was a lot of bad too.  jump shots instead of moving the ball more, contested long jump shots early in the shot clock, and out of control drives were things that would drive us fans crazy.

Crawford also struggled mightily in the playoffs, where he saw his averages drop to 3.6ppg in 11.8mpg.  After an incident free run in Boston during the regular season, his immaturity came up again after a stirring Celtics win in game 5 at MSG.  In a game where Crawford was a DNP-Coach’s Decision, he had some choice words for Carmelo Anthony after the game-and nearly came to blows with the star.  It was an undisciplined act that left a sour taste in my mouth in what otherwise was a great victory.

Verdict

After some major moves, the Celtics now have an unbalanced roster, which includes a logjam at the shooting guard position.  With that in mind and with the acquisition of Marshon Brooks, a player with a very similar skillset, the Celtics have reportedly shown interest in moving Crawford.  The roster is severely unbalanced at the moment so dealing some of our shooting guards will be a must-whether we can get any value back for Crawford will be a deciding factor on if he is moved or not.

Jordan Crawford is the definition of an X-factor.  If he can control some of his wild shots/drives while playing with some more consistency, he could very well carve out an important sixth man role (just like Jamal Crawford type), whether or not it is for the Celtics, only time will tell.

What are your thoughts on Jordan Crawford?  How would you rate his performance in his short stint with Boston?  Is he a keeper, or trade fodder?

Great off-season review!

http://celticsdownunder.com/2012/10/27/635/

Touchdown in Milan, Celtics get day off.

Rivers Gives Celtics First Day Off – Celtics.com

Their 9 p.m. local time tip off in Istanbul, Turkey, led to a late-night finish that pushed midnight. The team took a lengthy bus ride to the airport after speaking to the media and then headed out for the two-and-a-hal-hour flight to Milan, Italy, for the second leg of its journey.

By the time the Celtics landed in Milan, it was already 3:45 a.m. local time. It took another 45 minutes to get to the hotel, which meant players and coaches didn’t get into their rooms until about 5 a.m. at the earliest. And then they had to wait for their bags to arrive at their rooms in order to change out of the clothes they had worn on the flight.

It was a late night of travel, to say the least. It was so late that Doc Rivers put it in a very rare category.

“That was one of the later ones, yeah,” Rivers confessed when asked if it was one of the later nights of travel he had experienced in his tenure as Celtics coach. “We’ve had a couple like that. You usually have one a year.”

Talk about a crazy travel routine huh? It’s good to hear about the team getting some rest, something they have not had since media day apparently. Hell, that’s a pretty long stretch to go without off days.

This will be the first day the team has had off since it convened for media day on Friday, Sept. 28. Boston had strung together six consecutive days of practice and then last night’s game in Istanbul. That’s a lot of basketball, and not a lot of time to recover.

“They haven’t had a day off yet,” Rivers said prior to Friday night’s contest against Fenerbahce Ulker. “So it’s probably time to give them a day off.”

Not much to talk about until the next game rolls around, may the team be enjoying themselves over at Milan.

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