Sunday, September 30, 2012

2012-2013 Player Profiles: Courtney Lee

Shooting Guard
26 Years Old
Courtney Lee is  one of the Celtics main additions in the off-season. The 26 year old shooting guard attended Western Kentucky University and has been a journeyman in the NBA since he was drafted in 2008. He's been with the Magic, Nets, and Rockets before joining his fourth team in five years when acquired by the C's in July.
He was brought in by Danny Ainge to bring in some depth to the 2-guard position. Since Ray Allen bounced down to South Beach, and Avery Bradley's shoulders are healing, Lee will start the year off as the starting guard  next to Rajon Rondo.
Doc Rivers is expecting a lot from Lee who has only averaged 10.0 ppg over his career but is very consistent. He can knock down the ball 3-ball and for the time being when he will be filling in for Bradley. He most likely be sitting down in the corner waiting for the penetration kick-out three pointer. Now if Lee shows that he can knock down that shot, a la Eddie House, he will make it very hard for Rivers to cut his minutes when Bradley returns. Also Lee is an athlete, he and Rondo on the fast break will be something that will certainly get Tommy out of his seat a few times a game.
(Yeah, he dunks on Lebron in this)
What I see happening for Lee in a Celtics uniform is to just keep the ship afloat while splitting time with fellow newcomer Jason Terry for the first few months of the season. He should fit nicely in with the C's  as a spot starter and a mainstay off the Celtics Bench.
Lee has shown in the past that he can handle the pressure of a big game surprising everyone with his performance in the playoffs as a rookie with the Orlando Magic.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Courtney Lee

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2012-13 Player Profiles: Brandon Bass

6'8" 250lbs
27 Years Old

Brandon grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and went to Capital High School, a prep school in Baton Rouge. He was one of the most sought-after recruits in the country his senior year. He went to Louisiana State and was the 33rd pick overall in the 2005 NBA Draft, drafted by the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. He originally declared for the draft after his freshman year in 2004 but ultimately withdrew his name and returned to college. 

In 2007, Bass signed with the Dallas Mavericks where he got a lot more playing time than he did with the Hornets. After averaging less than 10 minutes a game in his first two seasons, he averaged nearly 20 minutes, 8 points and 4 rebounds a game in Dallas.

He signed with the Orlando Magic in 2009 but didn't have the same numbers as he did with the Mavericks. In 2011, the Magic traded Bass to Boston in exchange for Glen Davis. This past season for Bass has statistically been the best of his career. He averaged 12.5 points, and 6.2 rebounds a game for the Celtics.

Bass' offense last season was great in helping the Celtics' front court. Bass' ability to score in bunches is what made him an asset. He shot the ball well and played solid defense alongside Garnett. Without Bass, Celtics would of had a hard time moving Garnett to the center position because of  the lack of power forwards on the team. His inside/outside combination of scoring freed up Garnett on the offensive end and gave opponents a tough time predicting whether Bass was going to shoot or make his way in. This forced opposing centers to defend Garnett one-on-one, instead of double teaming him.

Bass is great pick-and-roll guy, a play that lead to a lot of points for Bass last season. He's proven to be a knock down shooter from inside the arc and can really get on roll once he gets going. And when he's making his way to the hoop, he can finish with authority. I predict Bass to average 14 points this season. I think with a full training camp with Doc and his teammates before the 82-game season, he'll be even better.

Celtics Interested in Fisher?

The Celtics were surprised when they learned that Keyon Dooling had decided to retire, and left the club without another established point guard to help relieve Rondo. According to reports, Celtics have shown some interest in the veteran point guard.

I know, I know, it's Derek Fisher I'm talking about. But hear me out! Think about the type of point guard that the Celtics could use in the upcoming season- the type that will be a bench leader and a distributer for a bench with a couple of scoring options in Green and Terry. Fisher is your guy. Don't get me wrong, the thought of seeing Fisher in green makes me feel uncomfortable too. It's weird. I mean we're talking about Fisher here. But the pros do outweigh the cons in this one.

Fisher is someone that would come in and know his role already. He knows he's no longer a point guard in the NBA that can start for a contending team, and he knows that. But he's still someone that can eat quality minutes on the court without things going terribly wrong (while Rondo is on the bench). He's also proven that he's a leader everywhere he goes. Fisher hit big shots for the Thunder in the postseason and provided great leadership for the as they fought their way out of the Western Conference last season.

I'm not saying the Celtics won't succeed this season without Fisher. I'm saying the Celtics could only benefit from signing Fish. Fisher has hit so many big shots for the Lakers in the past. The taste of revenge would taste sweet if he were to sign with Boston, since the Lakers dumped him before the trading deadline last season. It would be a nice way for him to get back at his former club in the storied Celtics-Lakers rivalry.

And since there isn't a high demand for his services from any title contenders, signing with the Celtics could very well be his last chance to compete for an NBA title.

Josue Pavon

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Celtics Waive Dooling, Who Is Set to Retire

Keyon Dooling has been waived by the Celtics in a surprising move that seems to be Dooling's choice.

"Keyon has decided that he has given the NBA 12 good years and that it's time to pursue other interests and spend more time with his family," said Dooling's representative Kenge Stevenson. "He will never forget his time in Boson with the Celtics."

Dooling averaged 4.0 points and 1.1 assists for the Celtics last season but had big moments off the bench for the club. He was also thought of as a great motivator in the locker room and was signed during the off season because of it. 

The Celtics now have 13 guaranteed invited to camp. With Dooling out of the picture, this give the Celtics rookies, Kris Joseph and Dionte Christmas, who aren't guaranteed contracts, a chance to make the final roster before the start of the regular season. 

Josue Pavon

Celtics Set to Sign Milicic

According to’s A. Sherrod Blakely, the Celtics will be adding big man Darko Milicic to their roster. The 27-year-old free agent has agreed to sign a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum.

The Celtics look a bit thin at the five spot. With only Chris Wilcox and Jason Collins coming off the bench for Garnett, the Celtics could use another big man. The 2003 second overall draft pick was amnestied in July by the Minnesota Timberwolves and was offered a three-year six million dollar contract to play for the Spanish club Real Madrid but turned it down to remain in the NBA.

Along with Minnesota, Darko has also played in Detroit (where he was drafted), Orlando, Memphis and a very brief eight games stay with the Knicks. The Serbian player brings career averages of 6.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 18.5 minutes and a 2004 championship ring (I’m sure he doesn’t brag too much about) to Beantown. This signing gives Boston 14 guaranteed contracts and another seven-footer as they head into training camp in nine days.

Signing with Boston could mean more playing time for Milic behind KG. Milicic will be battling for minutes with Wilcox but is a better overall player offensively and defensively than Jason Collins. This is a good pick up and there is a low risk involved. Boston was the first team on Darko’s list after he was waived two months ago. 

By Joel Pavón      

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wade: Celtics Play Toughest Defense

Defense has been the culture of the Celtics for the past five years. Doc has instilled a system in his players- defensive stops lead to offensive opportunities.

When the New York Times asked Dwyane who plays him the toughest on defense, his answer didn't surprise me.

"I would say it's more about the teams that play defense more than an individual player," Wade said. "The Boston Celtics team defense is tough. The game is different now. It's not one guy that shuts you down. It's a team. They play a defense that stops you from getting to the paint." 

Although Wade's numbers in last year's Eastern Conference Finals were down compared to his overall 2012 playoffs numbers, he still finished with solid numbers against the Celtics. Wade averaged 21.4 points per game and shot 44% from the field. With no Avery Bradley to guard him, Wade was able to get to the hoop and the foul line more often against the Celtics but admits that it wasn't easy due to Boston's defense.

Doc's defense is the main reason why we nearly knocked out the Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. And I think we have a chance to improve that defense if we can do a better job crashing the boards.

Rebounding needs to improve in order for Boston to be tougher against Miami. The defense is solid against the Heat but if Boston can out rebound their opponents from South Beach, it will make things a lot easier. Although Celtics finished second in fewest points allowed by opponents last season (89.3 ppg), they finished last in rebounds per game (38.8rpg).

Josue Pavon

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Doc Rivers: Courtney Lee to Start at Shooting Guard

Doc Rivers recently spoke to Boston Globe's Bob Ryan and gave him a bit of an outlook for the start of the 2012-13 season. Doc told him that Courtney Lee will start, Jason Terry to remain in his traditional 6th man role and Avery Bradley's role has yet to be determined.

Sounds good to me, Doc.

I'm excited to see how Lee and Pierce will complement each other offensively and how much aggressive Rondo will be. Although I expect a quicker upbeat offense from the Celtics this season, Rondo needs to constantly be a scoring threat, while also pushing the ball.

Boston no longer have to stick to their half-court set of the past. A system that the club grew used, and was specially designed for an open Allen 3-pointer (that usually took 18 seconds off the shot clock). Celtics have more options this year. Lee will be a great for scoring transition buckets. He is more athletic than Allen and Terry, and will be an easy target for Rondo, especially after forced turnovers. His energy will be a great jump start for the Celtics but don't be surprised if you see Terry ending games.

A more aggressive Rondo on the scoring end is a must for the Celtics this season. Rondo proved last spring during the playoffs that the Celtics are a much tougher team to guard when Rondo constantly goes to the basket. Because he is a pass-first type of point guard, opponents give him a lot of space but tend to collapse on him defensively when he goes to the hoop. This style of play will lead to easier buckets for Pierce, Garnett, Bass & Lee.

Josue Pavon

Friday, September 14, 2012

Celtics Interested In Free Agent Forward Kenyon Martin

The Celtics have expressed interest in signing veteran forward Kenyon Martin. Although this story has yet to be confirmed by his agent, there is a strong possibility it is true. Celtics could use a little more depth in the front court and Martin would be a great candidate.

The veteran big man would be a perfect fit in Boston because of his size and defensive presence. Although Martin isn't the same offensive player he once was, he has shown he can still rebound and intimidate opposing big men in the paint.

Last season, Martin played for the Clippers following the lockout and had the worst season of his career. However, it was clear he wasn't in shape after coming back from his stint in China but still looked effective on the defensive end. The market hasn't been showing a lot of interest in Martin, so the bi-annual exception and competing for a title could possibly be enough to persuade him to sign. My only worry is that Martin will defer and sign with a contender in March which will decrease Boston's chances of getting him. We want to sign him now and avoid jumping into a mid-season bidding war.

This is not a risky move for the Celtics, we can only gain from Martin's presence on the floor. Stats show that the Clippers were statistically a better team with Martin on the floor last season; proof that he will actually make a difference. So in other words, he is no Jermaine O'Neal.

Josue Pavon

Causeway Street Catches Up With Jason Terry

"The Jet"
While filming a segment with for his Reebok brand, Jason Terry mingled with fans outside Fenway Park Tuesday night. I got a chance to catch up with Terry for a couple minutes and asked him a few questions about joining the Celtics.

Terry didn't hold back about his excitement to play with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. When the club expressed interest in signing him this past summer, it wasn't a hard decision for him. He also can't wait to get started and knows how important this upcoming season is for Boston.

Terry also gave fans his best Boston accent while joking around and talked about places he has visited since moving to Massachusetts. What I liked the most about Terry was that he listened to people's take on the Celtics' upcoming season and couldn't remove that giddy smile from his face while he listened to fans.

As the Red Sox wind down their horrible season (worst I've ever seen since I've been a fan) it was great to see excitement at the park for a change. It was fitting for the city, almost a prelude for the season. Terry has set the tone.

"I'm here to give them my all this year. It's all about Banner 18 in this city."

I can't wait.

Josue Pavon

Monday, September 10, 2012

Making A Point: One's Reaction to Rondo's Claim

In recent weeks, Rajon Rondo has claimed that he is indeed the best point guard in the NBA. This is nothing new from Rajon because he has been saying this for at least the last three years if you have been paying attention. 

Usually before the start of the training camp Rondo gets asked the same question: Who does he think is the best point guard in the league? Number 9 never disappoints when answering this question. However, this time as he enters his seventh season as a pro, and sixth as the leader of the C’s, he may actually have a legit argument. Personally, if we are talking about who’s the best “true-point guard” in the league there is no shadow of a doubt in my mind he tops the list. Rajon is the absolute best.

He is a throwback to when point guards used to focus on making plays and making passes to make your teammates better. That is what running the point is. It’s not just scoring, shooting, and not involving your teammates. Now if we are talking about all of the intangibles (overall) of a point guard, such as shooting percentage, free throw percentage, scoring, etc. Some might say the Celtics general is in the top three at best. After what we as basketball fans witnessed last spring, this point guard has clearly taken his skill set to another level. I can go on all day about this man. I believe he only is going to get better, if that’s possible. Obviously not everyone is going to agree with Rondo’s statement that he has repeated for the last few years.

Enter Mario Chalmers:

At a recent charity event in Brooklyn, New York, Chalmers stuck his nose in the conversation of Rajon putting himself at the head of NBA point guards. Of course Mario disagreed, going as far as saying he believed Rondo was in the top five at best. But he didn’t end there, Mario had more to say. When asked about his thoughts on the original statement and where he thought he ranked among the 30, this is what he had to say: 

“For him (Rondo) to say he’s the best is a pretty bold statement. I’d say that I am in the front end of the top 10.” 
Oh really now? Forget the fact you saying you are one of the top 10 point guards, but you actually believe you are in the top five? So in Mario Chalmers’ world, based on what has come out of his mouth, you and Rajon Rondo should be ranked the same? WOW! I guess the celebrities in Miami are coming across more potent bath salts than the bums these days.

Fact, yes you just won an NBA title, awesome, kudos for that. You are feeling yourself, and rightfully so. But if you actually think for one moment that you didn’t get outplayed by Darren Collison, Rondo, or Russell Westbrook, Mario look in the mirror and stop lying to yourself bro. You are not even a traditional point, at best you’re a “shooter” and even that’s a stretch. We all know who runs that team, and guess what, you don’t even make the top five on that list either! To be considered as the “point”, you have to lead your team and actually play the point. How are you leading when you’re constantly being scolded by LBJ, Wade, or your coach? Hell I’ve seen Bosh and even Haslem get in your face for making stupid mistake upon stupid mistake. In the four years you have been in this league and on the Heat you are averaging career numbers of: 8.3PPG/3.6APG/2.4RPG/27.1MPG/41FG%. These are numbers of a back-up point guard, not a starter my friend. Number wise, this past season was not even your best. So where are you basing your horrendous claim as a top point guard from? You’re barely a guard taking up space.

The only actual year you played as point guard in your career was when you were a rookie. You averaged 10PPG/5APG/3RPG/2SPG/32MPG/42FG%. Those are actually solid numbers for a first year guard elected to run a team. You started every game, and some thought you were on your way that being a good starting point guard. Miami ended up losing to Joe Johnson and the Hawks in the first round and in seven games, while you Mario, were being outplayed by Mike “Mini-Me” Bibby in the process. Then the next two seasons you were a sixth man- at best; starting only 50 games out of the 143 you played and averaging a mere 23 minutes per game in that stretch dishing out under 3 dimes and putting up 6.7 points. Let’s keep in mind Mario’s third year in the league was LBJ first year in Miami. 

Fast forward to this past championship year where you started all 64 games as the “point” averaging: 9 points, 3 dimes, and playing 28 minutes a game. Your title says starting PG, while LBJ and Wade are both averaging nearly three more assists than you. How you are making your teammates better again? Based on just numbers it’s easy to mention the likes of the Chris Paul, Derron Williams, Derrick Rose, etc. Last March, a list of the 30 points guards was compiled and ranked. Mr. Chalmers came in at 21 at the time. Even with his newly won championship ring, that still sounds about right. This means there are at least 10 point guards better than Mario. So I’ve decided to rank my own list, and the challenge was to look beyond the elites that are always brought up in conversations. This is what I came up with. Keep in mind #10, averaged less than 28 minutes per game and only started 28 out of 66 games. Yup, he actually had the ball in his hands and played the point!

10. Goran Dragic
  9. Jeremy Lin
  8. Kyle Lowry
  7. Ricky Rubio
  6. Darren Collison
  5. Ty Lawson
  4. Kyrie Irving
  3. Jeff Teague
  2. Jrue Holiday
  1. Mike Conley

So Mario, what are your thoughts about this list? Do you actually think you are better than the aforementioned? You are insane! The only reason you are a champion is because of one name and one name only. Good luck this season getting that ball, I mean since you do run the offense and all. It is time to check the definition of the term “Point-Guard” once again or re-write it, because Rondo’s statements are not very farfetched. As the great Jay-Z once said,” Men lie, woman lie, numbers don’t.” It's safe to say Mario is clearly dreaming down in South must be nice.

By Joel Pavón