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Patriotic Saturday Notebook: Draft Mania, Doc’s Tired, Big Men Abound

• Now that the draft is over, it’s time to talk about free agency. In the Herald, Mark Murphy names a couple of big men who might be available in the C’s price range (i.e. the mid-level exception and below):

Think Chicago’s Brad Miller or maybe even Shaquille O’Neal, who soon may have absolutely no reason to return to Cleveland.

Those are two of the best options Ainge will have to plug the hole left by  Kendrick Perkins who will be recovering from surgery to repair what is now believed to be the so-called triangle – tears of the anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament.

The problem with relying on the mid-level exception and other cap exceptions: Every player available in that salary range comes with problems. I listed about a dozen of the more interesting options last week, and aside from Brendan Haywood, who almost certainly won’t be available at the mid-level, every one of those players has at least one major red flag sticking out of his back.

In the cases of Shaq and Miller, the red flags are obvious: They’re old, and after years of consistent productivity (on different levels and in different ways, obviously) their statistical profiles veered dramatically in the wrong direction last season. 

Can that trend be reversed in a lesser role? Can the C’s, so thin up front now, actually offer a lesser role? 

• Think Doc is having a tough time getting over Game 7 and contemplating his future? Check out this detail from Murphy’s Herald story (linked above):

“(Wednesday) night was the first night Doc got any sleep since our loss (in Game 7 of the Finals),” Ainge said.

And on Doc’s decision:

“It’s hard. I think you have to be there to really understand how hard it is on coaches. And when you take Doc, who is an amazing competitor, it’s just magnified. It’s hard, he needs some time, and he has a real big decision ahead of him.

“There’s a lot of tugs and pulls. I had this decision when I was coaching Phoenix. I felt like I shouldn’t be coaching, that I shouldn’t have come back, but I wanted to. Coaching is addictive in some ways, and it’s hard to walk away from contracts and different things.”

We’ll know by the middle of next week whether Boston needs a new head coach and a new top assistant. 

• Avery Bradley will need six weeks to recover from his ankle scoping, but he’ll be ready for training camp, Ainge told the Globe. He will miss summer league, though. That starts on July 5th in Orlando. 

• Luke Harangody is saying all the things you’d expect a son of Indiana to say about playing for the Celtics (via the Globe):

“Last night when I heard my name called it was a big deal for myself and my family,’’ Harangody said. “Just for them to give me a chance to make this roster and be part of this organization was a huge deal, especially being from Indiana, it was a big deal as well. It was just a huge deal hearing my name and being with the Boston Celtics.’’

• Via the same story: Danny likes the work ethic of both draft picks:

“One thing that led both of them to us are all the little intangibles,’’ Ainge said. “They play every possession. They don’t take possessions off. They give you the best effort at both ends of the court. And they’re different types of players.’’

Is Harangody the next Powe/Davis/Gomes second-round contributor? I’m skeptical, but Ainge sees it (via the Patriot-Ledger):

“The guys we’ve been successful with were a little bit like Luke in that they were terrific college players. For whatever reason, it may be they’re a little short for their position, or they are not as quick or don’t jump quite as well or have some sort of hole in their game, they’re not drafted high because we’re looking for the fastest or quickest.

“Like Leon Powe and Ryan Gomes, I see some similarities with Luke. When they got here, they were determined, like Luke will be, to prove their work and to prove their college careers weren’t a fluke. I’m confident he can continue his success as our level.’’

• Avery Bradley is not a point guard, and he’ll tell you so himself (via the Patriot-Ledger):

“Right now, a lot of the top guys in the league are called ‘tweeners’ and they can play the two or one,’’ said the 6-foot-3 Bradley, who will wear No. 0 as he did in college. “Me, I just call myself a player and I would call them players, too.

“I played point a little bit in high school and I was off the ball at Findlay. I’m a player, and I’m going to do whatever my team needs me to do to help us win.’’

• A detail you’ve probably read about Bradley but is worth repeating here (via the same Patriot-Ledger piece):

He was named the national high school player of the year and was ESPNU’s No. 1 prospect after that season, surpassing John Wall of Kentucky, who was the No. 1 pick on Thursday night.

It wasn’t just ESPNU, either. Rivals.com ranked Bradley 4th in his class, behind Wall, Cousins and Favors. ScoutHoops.com ranked Bradley 5th, behind those three guys and John Henson, who went to the University of North Carolina. 

Everyone appears to agree on his talent. That’s a good thing.

• Harangody has been working on his jumper, the Herald reports:

“I think I became much more comfortable playing on the perimeter and the range of my shot. I feel like I’m shooting it very well right now, and I dropped a little weight. I’m also moving a little better, I just feel like I’m a better all-around player.”

Good. If the Celtics actually sign Shaq (unlikely, in my view), floor-spacing will be at a premium. 

• Might we see Semih Erden in summer league? Ainge is thinking about inviting the 7-footer Turkish center the C’s selected with the 60th (i.e. last) pick in the ’08, the Herald reports:

“I think he can play in the NBA,” Ainge said. “He’s been working at it, so we’ll see what happens. I’m just not sure yet.”

• Chris Forsberg is in Vegas and sees the Suns and Thunder (among others) have better early odds than Boston at winning the ’11 title:

And since we’re in Las Vegas, we couldn’t help but take a glance at the early odds for next year’s NBA champion. Immediately after the Finals, the Celtics were — and remain — at 12-1 odds, that’s tied for sixth-best odds (with the Nuggets and Bulls). The teams in front of Boston: the Lakers (3-1), Magic (5-1), Thunder (8-1), Cavaliers (8-1), and Suns (10-1). 

• Tom Haberstroh at ESPN.com evaluates the market for Ray Allen. Lots of fascinating nuggets here—I’ll break them out in a separate post later.

  • KC

    From a report on Jarvis Varnado:
    “It’s also worth mentioning his strength. Varnado was only able to bench press 185 pounds three times in Chicago.  That ranked third to last among 43 players who were measured on the bench. UTEP’s Derrick Caracter benched 185 lbs. 22 times, second most to Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody with 23.”
    Say what you want, but Harangody is strong.

  • lakershater13

    As meantioned by maybe Jay P? Not sure who meantioned Erden. I agree with who ever said it that he could help right now.

    I didnt realized Bradley was ranked so high a year ago when he was in high school. Problem is that we wont see him in summer league.

  • I love Green

    Well we’re down 2 big men, so lets hope Erden has progressed well enough to be able to play for us.

  • I love Green

    Oh and I wonder what our odds were before the playoffs this year to win the championship. Not very good at all I’m guessing.

  • rob

    I don’t want to hear about what they think our teams capable of. They can start making predictions when we you know get a center for the start of the season

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Before, I was totally against this, but now that the Cs have effectively slammed the door on 1 area where we could get a big(S) we are running out of options. Depending on the price Shaq might be a better idea than what I previously thought. We need someone Andrew Bynum ***BIG*** who could bang with Bynum or Dwight or Gasol & battle them in the paint.

    During the season
    Shaq avg’d 12ppg at 57% 7rebs 1block in 23 min-That’s pretty good!!!

    What I was really interested in was how he did vs the lake:

    gm1 @Lake in 22min 5-8 63% 7rebs (2 Off) ….Bynum went 2-5 Gasol 4-10

    gm2 @Clev in 28min 5-9 56% 1steal 1block 6rebs 3assists …Bynum went 3-5 Gasol 5-14

    These points came from a post up game down low which is something we don’t have at all—And Shaq is a good passer out of the post when double teamed (Ray in the corner or Paul cutting). I would take those numbers vs the lake in a heart beat or would we rather go with Shelden & his numbers???

    My other thought was what about Dwight & the magicians….

    gm1 @Orl 20min 4-8 5rebs 1assist 2blocks….Dwight 3-3 with only 7rebs

    gm2 @Cavs 19min 5-9 6rebs 1block….Dwight 6-9 11rebs

    gm3 @Orl 31min 9-10!!! 2blocks 5rebs 1assist …scored 2 less pts than Dwight playing 44min.

    Those pesky Hawks:
    @Atl 26min 5-7 8rebs ….Horford 3-7
    @Cavs 20min 4-9 5rebs 3assists 1 block

    Then I wondered about Bogut & the deer:
    gm1 @deer 15min 5-9…Bogut 3-11
    gm2 @cavs 17min 4-6 1block 6rebs 1assist….Bogut was 2-7

    Many people are totally forgetting about Andrew Bogut & the deer. Who do we have to play Bogey?

    Depending on the $ I think Shaq could give us 20-28min & be productive vs the teams we are likely to face in the post season. He definitely has exp. & has played in multiple finals. Some people complain about his free throws, rightfully so, BUT the flip side is that the other team’s bigs are getting in foul trouble when they foul him so much. This is a HUGE plus when the bigs from the enemy are sitting on the bench in foul trouble– no way they can score or rebound sitting on that bench.

  • Steve B

    Ryan Gomes yes. Jermaine O’Neal maybe??

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Oh, & 1 other thing about Shaq. I heard multiple people say, “but he did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the playoffs.” Rather than just believing Bob Ryan & others piling on Shaq I went & looked at

    Shaq’s playoff #s:
    22min 12pts 52% 6rebs 1block 1assist
    —for perspective Sheed in the playoffs avg’d 17min 42% 6pts 3rebs 1block
    —Glen Davis in the po’s avg’d 20min 48% 7pts 5rebs 1steal

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Ryan Gomes was told not to fly into Portland to report so he is going to be on the market, but I really thing we need some BIGS.

  • I love Green

    No on Shaq. We don’t need more old guys!

  • dslack

    You’ve sold me on Shaq. He would probably be a great use of the midlevel. They could keep Pierce if he opts out, re-sign Ray for 2 years (over-pay him — say, $18M per year — but just for 2 years till KG’s contract is up), re-sign Tony, and trade Sheed for a wing. For instance, Sheed + Glen Davis to Chicago for Luol Deng. Or to Detroit for Tayshaun Prince or Rip Hamilton. Or to Phoenix for Barbosa (they’re often looking to trim salary). I’m sure there are other options, too.

  • We should go after that Ian MAhimi guy possibly. Young, athletic, huge upside, building towards the future. Unclear if he can produce now, but might be worth the risk

  • Cptn Bubbles

    @dslack I had a completely negative attitude about Shaq primarily based on reading/hearing what others said. Just this past friday, Bob Ryan blasted Shaq on pti. I went into looking at Shaq’s #s with bias fully expecting him to be terrible. It was really shocking to see him putting up some decent #s. It seemed like many people wanted to blame the cavs problems on Shaq. When I looked at how Shaq played vs playoff teams I was very surprised. He was putting up #s in limited minutes that could really make a difference. We have ZERO post up game right now. We can shoot jump shots all day long, but we have nothing in the post.

    With bigs, we don’t have a lot of choices out there. When Lebron makes his decision & the other max players sign there are going to be teams caught holding the bag, empty handed. It would be wise if Danny would sign bigs quickly BEFORE Lebron makes his decision if at all possible. I think New York is going to be hugely disappointed & scrambling to sign some guys for more money than they are worth.

  • KC

    The problem with Shaq is that he kills the C’s strength: pick-and-roll defense. Not happening. He can still draw fouls, and even defend the paint. But still, not happening

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Pick & roll defense is great if you can get the rebound when they miss the shot.

  • Iggy Pap

    Another cast away looking for a ship on the horizon.

    No one is there to save you now.


  • Great story and example