Just a few weekend Celtics links, in rough order of importance:
• Spears has a draft analysis arguing that there are no certain great players in this draft beyond Blake Griffin. (One side: any article that subtly bashes Keith Van Horn is almost guaranteed to get linked here). Most notable for our purposes: Ainge calls the trade rumors “jokes,” though it’s unclear which ones he’s talking about, and says there’s “nothing close to happening” in terms of a trade that would move the C’s up from #58 in the draft.
Of course, as Roy Hobbs at CelticsBlog points out today, it’s not like you can actually believe much of what an NBA executive says days before the draft.
• The Globe has a nice career retrospective on Sam Jones a few days before the Sports Museum will honor Jones and six others at the Garden for their contributions to Boston sports. It’s a nice piece that has all the classic Sam Jones stories–his taunting of Wilt Chamberlain; the time in the 1962 Eastern finals when Chamberlain chased Jones around the court, and Sam picked up a photographer’s stool to defend himself, as if he were a lion tamer; his place in the first all-black starting line-up in NBA history (take that, Spike Lee!); his skill with the bank shot; and his famous “lucky” shot that won Game 4 of the ’69 Finals against the favored Lakers.
One thing I had forgotten about Jones, though: He was very, very close to being a Laker. The Lakers drafted him in 1956, the year before Boston nabbed him with the 8th overall pick in the ’57 draft, but Jones decided he wanted to go back to school after a two-year stint in the Army. Lucky for us.
One other note: Jones, like Bill Russell, appears have some mixed feelings about Boston, in part because of the deep racial segregation Jones found when he got there in ’57. He hasn’t been to Boston since the original Garden closed in ’95. Here’s the money line from the story:
Asked recently why it’s been so long since he’s been in Boston, Jones said he doesn’t go where he’s not invited.
Of Boston now, he tells the Globe: “I hope it’s changed for the better.”
• Tommy Heinsohn goes to bat for Red Auerbach in Mark Murphy’s piece for the Herald, which discusses the Phil Jackson-Red Auerbach “Greatest Coach Ever Debate.” Not much new here, except that Heinsohn takes points off Jackson’s ledger because the Triangle offense belongs to Tex Winter, not Jackson, and because Jackson hasn’t spawned a group of successful coaching disciples. Eh. I’m already tired of this.
• Kendrick Perkins apparently spent “several thousand dollars” to get some “oral bling.”