Post-game Reactions

It’s been a tough year for Marshon Brooks thus far — so tough, that at Boston’s practice earlier this afternoon, a reporter asked him whether he or his camp had considered asking for a trade this season.

Brooks seemed to brush off the question.

“It’s way too early for that,” he said. “I trust Brad Stevens. He told me I’m going to get my opportunity, so I’m just waiting on my opportunity, honestly.”

Brooks is certainly right that it’s too early to be considering drastic decisions like requesting a trade, but the reporter isn’t wrong for asking the question. In three NBA seasons, Brooks has seen his playing time drop from 29 minutes per game in 2011 to 12 in 2012 to six in 2013. He’s seen a drop in his production as well: After averaging 15 points per 36 minutes in his first two years, he’s down to 11 this year with an abysmal PER of 6.1. He’s averaging career lows in just about every shooting metric (free throw percentage excepted), and in his minutes on the court, he hasn’t looked comfortable.

“When you don’t play for a while,” Brooks said, “you want to do too much. You want to come in there and make an impression. So I’m just trying to come in there and play team ball, play solid and pick my spots.”

There are certainly indicators that Brooks has been pressing while he’s been on the floor. Although most of his pace-adjusted numbers are down this year, his field goal attempts are remaining steady. Brooks is a shooting guard, so he isn’t expected to initiate the offense. But he is expected to be smart and pick his spots, as he said, and if he can’t do that effectively, analytics-minded Brad Stevens isn’t going to give him minutes.

“It’s been challenging,” Brooks admitted. “I just have to be professional and come to work every day and understand that I’m blessed. I have the opportunity to play in the NBA. When I get my opportunity, I’m going to try to make the most of it. Just do what I do.”

Courtney Lee is back

If Brooks gets more minutes, one returning role player will probably get fewer. Courtney Lee said he is feeling better and plans to suit up Tuesday against Milwaukee.

“I’m feeling good,” he told reporters at practice. “A lot better than the last couple days…It’s up to coach if he puts me in or not, but I’m going to go out there and dress.”

Lee’s return continues to complicate the Celtics’ backcourt, especially with Bradley’s seemingly permanent (and merciful) move to the shooting guard with the starters. We haven’t had any rumblings of a trade for Lee yet, but he is probably Boston’s most mobile asset, as Brooks hasn’t been given a chance to up his trade value and the Celtics probably value Bradley more than any potential trade partner.

Rajon Rondo is practicing; Kelly Olynyk is still out

Stevens was a bit cryptic when asked for an update on Rondo’s status, saying that he was “practicing,” but that his workload has been no more than it has been over the past couple weeks.

On Olynyk’s ankle sprain, however, he was much clearer.

“That probably still might be a week, from what I can tell,” Stevens said. “It was a significant sprain, so we’ll be smart and give him appropriate time to come back.”

There’s no reason whatsoever to hurry Olynyk back, especially considering Boston’s depth at power forward. If the Celtics plan to deal Kris Humphries at any point, this is as good a time as any to showcase his abilities while avoiding taking away Olynyk’s minutes.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

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  • John

    Am I the only one that thinks that Rajon is the perfect player to tie all of these misfit role players together? Adding options like Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger on the pick and role for rondo will only make them better and increase scoring production and versatility. Rondo will be able to find Bradley and Gerald Wallace on cuts and Jeff Green has the potential to be a great second option to Rondo, or third option behind Bradley. I'm not sure where Jordan Crawford, Kris Humphries and Courtney Lee and some of the others fit in, but playing a rotation of:

    Rajon Rondo
    Avery Bradley
    Jeff Green
    Jared Sullinger
    Kelly Olynyk

    Then you have a starting five that rondo could take to the playoffs depending on what happens at the trade deadline which could completely change the list of players above and will almost definitely change our bench.

    But If Wyc really wanted to try to make a playoff push with this team, I believe that with Stevens and rondo, we have the players and trade assets to build a team that could potentially land the 4th or even 3rd seed depending on whether or not Brooklyn and New York ever figure their shit out. Indiana and Miami are obviously the two power houses, but with the Rose out for the season, spots 3-8 are wide open. Teams like Cleveland, Washington, Toronto, and Detroit are mediocre at best. If Danny can go out on the market and turn the rest of our roster, and our collection of draft picks into a real, live, game changing player, we could easily jump up in the standings and grab a first round home court advantage. It's inevitable that miami and Indiana will meet in the ECF, but if we want this rebuilding process to go faster, we need to invest in what we have with Rondo, Bradley, Green, Olynyk, Sullinger and even Faverani. It makes more sense to go out and compete with that core and any potential trade return Danny can find, and then get them some experience. Make the playoffs and develop the players and their chemistry, because the talent is their. If Danny can get us a player that can legitimately contribute in a trade, and if we can get a couple of solid rookies, we could be consistently making the playoffs for years because of how ridiculously average the eastern conference is.

    • Dmitry
    • Ray Leighton

      I pretty much agree with everything you said, and I was even thinking about writing something similar. At this point, we have to consider the very real possibility that we could be a .500 team, and have a healthy Rondo back, by the end of December — no other team in the East is playing without a player of Rondo's caliber and is then going to get said player back. And we just got through a brutal schedule pretty well. Given all of that, we should expect improvement, and a 3 or 4 seed in the incredibly weak East is not unreasonable. But if that is the case, I don't believe that Danny will sit still — if we are going to be a 3 or 4 seed with no chance of getting past Indiana or Miami, then I suspect that the rebuild will go in a direction that few have suspected, i.e., instead of trying to tank and get Wiggins or Parker, Danny will look to pull off a replay of the initial KG trade. And we have the assets — promising young players, expiring contracts, and a load of draft picks — that would enable us to make such a trade with a team that is free-falling and is willing to blow it up. Like everyone else, we should keep an eye on Minnesota — if they keep plummeting in the standings, everyone is going to ask for Kevin Love. The difference is that we have the assets to potentially get him, if Minnesota chooses to tank. In any event, we probably shouldn't get too attached to anyone on the team right now — Danny is either going to trade veterans to enable us to tank, or he is going to trade some young guys to get a major star. I think that's sort of sad because I really like this team but that's the nature of the NBA right now.

  • Jim

    Rondo is a poor shooter, Bradley is hot and cold on any given night on both offense and defense, Green seems to be playing better and will only improve with Rondo back, Olynk has a long way to go before we will know how good he can be . Sullinger continues to impress but he is undersized, I think we have some hope but there is a long way to go before we can be a threat to any of the contenders. We need some guys who can shoot . I think you will see Rondos assist take a big hit with the current group of players we have. I think we have the right coach for what we are trying to do. I also think Jordan Crawford is an asset we should keep. I would like to see Brooks get some more playing time. We really need scoring.

    • YouSerious?

      Observe this shot chart: http://stats.nba.com/playerShotchart.html?PlayerI

      Notice that Rondo is a superb midrange shooter from the spots where he takes the most of his midrange shots. He was above 50% shooting from that range in the last season he played. He is not a poor shooter from inside the arc. His 3 pointer game needs to be addressed, but the idea that Rondo is a bad shooter is a myth at this point.

      • Jim

        Pretty eye opening chart. Thanks for posting that. I hope when Rondo comes back he shoots lights out.