After one of the roughest seasons in recent memory, good news keeps coming in for the Boston Celtics. After the team secured the fourth-worst record in the NBA last night, ensuring a 33.5 percent chance at the one of the top 3 picks in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Wednesday afternoon, that draft pool got a little bit deeper as freshman phenom Jabari Parker declared for the 2014 NBA Draft via an article he wrote for SI.com. Here is a key excerpt of the well-written piece, which explained his decision:
I haven’t consulted many people during this process. I talked to my parents, though. They simply said it was my decision and they would stand behind me either way. They just want me to be happy.
Ultimately, I boiled my decision down to two simple questions:
Which environment — college or the NBA — offers me the best opportunity to grow as a basketball player?
Which environment — college or the NBA — offers me the best opportunity to grow and develop off the court?
With last night’s loss to Washington in the regular season finale and Utah’s 136-130 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Celtics finished with the best possible scenario entering the night. We covered the various possibilities yesterday afternoon, and a tie for fourth with the Jazz was as good as Boston could have hoped for.
But Boston’s own pick wasn’t the only thing in play — with Brooklyn slipping into a tie with Washington in records, the Celtics pick (previously 18) could now be 17th, pending a coin flip. It’s not a big jump, by any means, but it does make a slim difference. Read the rest of this entry »
Brandon Bass, PF26 MIN | 7-9 FG | 2-3 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | -14
The well-deserved winner of the Red Auerbach award finished with the type of consistent performance that won him the honor. Not sure if he would survive a roster purge, but he’s been an incredibly steady presence.
Jeff Green, SF36 MIN | 6-15 FG | 6-7 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | -21
It’s the end of the season and we are feeling friendly, so let’s credit Green with getting to the line seven times.
Kelly Olynyk, C30 MIN | 10-16 FG | 4-5 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 24 PTS | +5
Olynyk has been really, really good over the past few weeks with consistent minutes and a consistent role. I’m am the excites.
Avery Bradley, PG37 MIN | 7-18 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 18 PTS | -17
Danny Ainge before the game, on whether players having an injury history can affect money offered to them: “It can, yeah. Sure.”
Phil Pressey, PG42 MIN | 3-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 10 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 9 PTS | -18
It doesn’t get more Phil Pressey than 10 assists (including my personal favorite of the entire season: A between-the-legs hike to Brandon Bass for a slam) and 25 percent shooting.
Chris Johnson, SF29 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -6
Chris Johnson was part of the crew that brought so much energy in the second quarter, the Celtics almost avoided a blow out.
Joel Anthony, C29 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -1
Think Boston wanted to win this game? Take a look at how many minutes Joel Anthony played and re-think your position. It’s also worth noting that Anthony played as well as you could reasonably expect Joel Anthony to play.
Chris Babb, SG11 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -8
Boston’s first guy off the bench!
One Thing We Saw
We’ll have a ton of posts over the next few days, including quotes from Danny Ainge, a lottery round-up, and lots of other fun stuff, but for now, thanks everybody very much for reading, commenting, agreeing and disagreeing with everything we write here at Celtics Hub. Without you guys, we are just yelling Celtics opinions at no one, and nobody likes those guys. Thank you all for everything.
The Celtics announced before the game that Brandon Bass is the recipient of the 2013-14 Red Auerbach award, a somewhat vague honor handed out to the player or coach who ”best exemplifies the spirit of what it means to be a Celtic through performance on the court and off.”
Winners in previous years:
2013: Kevin Garnett
2012: Paul Pierce 2011: Doc Rivers 2010: Rajon Rondo
2009: Ray Allen
2008: Kevin Garnett
2007: Al Jefferson
2006: Paul Pierce
Bass makes a lot of sense as a recipient this year. With no star to honor (since Rondo sat out much of the year) and several veterans playing a lot of tough minutes for a very bad team, it made sense to reward the longest standing veteran. But it’s not just a lifetime achievement award: Bass has participated in various community events around Boston all season, and he’s been a quiet contributor all year. Read the rest of this entry »
Previewing tonight’s action, we take a look — as we have basically every day this awful season — at Boston’s lottery odds.
Right now, Boston has three potential finishes:
1. Tied for fourth with Utah. Boston would have a 10.35 percent chance at the top pick, and a 33.5 percent chance at a top-3 pick. The Celtics only get these odds if they lose to Washington tonight and Utah beats Minnesota.
2. Alone at fifth. Boston would have an 8.8 percent chance at the top pick, and a 29.2 percent chance at the top-3. The Celtics get these odds if they lose to Washington and Utah loses to Minnesota. Alternatively, the standings would finish like this if Boston beats Washington and the Lakers beat whatever collection of scrubs Gregg Popovich puts out on the floor. The loss to Washington combined with Utah’s win over Minnesota seems the most likely option. Read the rest of this entry »
Pressey has been one of the leaders in efficiency among rookie point guards in 2013-14, sporting an assist-to-turnover ration of 7.6 to 2.6 per 36 minutes. Pace-adjusted stats can be deceiving, since they normalize a small sample size and often make players who compete against second units look better. But in this year’s rookie class, only Trey Burke has a better assist-to-turnover ratio per 36 minutes than Pressey. It’s also worth noting that as a starter, Pressey’s ratio stays largely the same: 6.9 assists to 2.5 turnovers.
What’s more, Pressey hasn’t exactly made a point of being careful. His style of play mixes no-look passes with tricky dribbling, all of which — according to Pressey — is simply the best way to make a play happen.
“It’s unconscious,” Pressey said after Friday’s game. “Danny Ainge has told me to make the same passes and still be creative, but kind of tone it down a little. But sometimes, I see something and the only way I can get him the ball is to be flashy and creative. I feel like that flashy and creative allows me to work.” Read the rest of this entry »
Brandon Bass, PF38 MIN | 3-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +8Just because we’re on auto-pilot doesn’t mean you can take your hands off the wheel, Brandon.
Jeff Green, SF38 MIN | 10-16 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 27 PTS | +1Here’s the thing about Jeff Green: He has never been and never will be a solid top option for a team offensively since defenses can latch onto him when he’s the focal point. We’ve covered that a thousand times this year. That being said, against a team like Philadelphia — which doesn’t really have anyone capable of latching on to anyone — he can remind you how good he was alongside players like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. If he’s going to stick in Boston, the Celtics will need to get a better top offensive option next year.
Kelly Olynyk, C35 MIN | 10-19 FG | 6-7 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 28 PTS | -12Olynyk’s last few games have been tantalizing, and given nearly six months of offseason to obsess over them, we all may have convinced ourselves that Olynyk is DIRK WITH A HANDLE!!!!!!! by the time next season rolls around. He’s not, obviously, but he’s playing very well.
Rajon Rondo, PG35 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-1 FT | 11 REB | 14 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 8 PTS | +16Rondo has to lead the league in double-doubles achieved without scoring double-digit points.
Avery Bradley, PG42 MIN | 9-22 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 23 PTS | +6Do you applaud Bradley for taking more 3-pointers (since it’s a more efficient shot than his long two-pointers) or do you penalize him for continuing to fire away despite shooting just 2-for-11?
Chris Johnson, SF17 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -4Best of both worlds on Johnson’s final shot: He drained it and got to look mega-clutch, but he stepped out of bounds (not really his fault) and didn’t damage Boston’s lottery odds.
Joel Anthony, C14 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7Keep getting them checks, Joel.
Phil Pressey, PG15 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 2 PTS | -24Just three assists today? I think it’s pretty evident that Rondo is HOLDING PHIL PRESSEY BACK.
Chris Babb, SG6 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -9Babb has earned himself a training camp invite, but barring some kind of offseason miracle, it’s probably safe to assume that he won’t make the team next year if the Cs are at all competitive.
One Thing We Saw
If only losses to bad teams counted positively toward lottery odds.
Before we all scream “TANKING!” and “DANNY, WHERE WAS THIS A WEEK AGO WHEN BOSTON WAS IN THIRD AND ALL IT HAD TO DO WAS LOSE THE REST OF THE WAY TO STAY THERE?”, remember that it’s possible — probable, even — that these injuries are all legitimate. There was very real concern about Bayless’ knee — enough so that he needed to stay in Boston for an MRI after the win over Charlotte. After they decided nothing was wrong, it probably seemed a little pointless to fly him out for the road trip.
Meanwhile, Sullinger noticeably tweaked his ankle against Cleveland, and Humphries has been dealing with a nagging knee issue for a few games.
Last night’s win over Cleveland is virtually impossible to grade. Completely setting aside the fact that the win was borderline catastrophic to Boston’s lottery odds, the Cavaliers are such a dumpster fire of a team (and such a dumpster fireball of a defense) that they can turn B-grade offense into A+ simply by allowing Kelly Olynyk to drive to the basket uncontested, or by allowing Phil Pressey to trail a play in transition and slam home a put-back dunk.
Brandon Bass, PF34 MIN | 7-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | +9
Bass was as efficient and productive as one could reasonably hope. He and Phil Pressey work very well together.
Jeff Green, SF34 MIN | 8-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 18 PTS | +9
Minus three or four 3-point attempts, this was second-half-of-last-year Jeff Green — attacking the rim and scoring around the basket.
Jared Sullinger, C28 MIN | 8-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +1
Sully gets docked for being part of the crew that allowed Al Jefferson to torture Boston, but he gets a significant bump for hitting big shot after big shot after big shot.
Avery Bradley, PG38 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | +4
Any time you shoot 4-for-6 from 3-point range and score 22 points, you are getting something in the A-range. I think that’s actually in the CBA somewhere.
Phil Pressey, PG39 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 13 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 10 PTS | -2
I could dock Pressey for shooting 4-for-11 shooting from the floor OR I could reward his Rondo-like statline. I’ll do the latter.
Chris Johnson, SF14 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -6
There are many nights Chris Johnson makes his impact felt on the floor. This was not one of them.
Kris Humphries, C11 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | 0
This grade may seem harsh, but Hump didn’t do much offensively, and Jefferson put him in a BLENDER a couple of times.
Kelly Olynyk, C22 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -4
That kind of long-range shooting will more than get the job done for Olynyk.
Jerryd Bayless, PG19 MIN | 0-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +4
Bayless hyperextended his knee tonight. He’ll get an MRI. Be well, Jerryd.
One Thing We Saw
If I might make a suggestion? Just don’t look at the standings. It’s going to play out however it plays out, and we have no control. Boston is not going to have the worst or the second-worst record. The third-worst may have just slipped away. But one way or another, no amount of fretting is going to make Boston’s lottery odds improve. Things are just going to happen however they happen.
And yes, I’m advising myself as much as you guys. Sue me.