The NBA draft may be less than a month away, but the Celtics will be evaluating plenty of draft night trade candidates before then. A couple of key names on that list could be coming from Philadelphia as the 76ers are reportedly looking into trading Nerlens Noel and/or Jahlil Okafor in the weeks leading up to the draft.
In a radio interview on Thursday, ESPN’s Chad Ford said, “there’s a very high likelihood” that one or both of Noel and Okafor will be moved before draft day on June 23. Such a move would make sense for the rebuilding Sixers, as they will have a logjam in the frontcourt to begin next year.
In addition to Noel and Okafor, former Kansas standout Joel Embiid will finally be making his debut for Philadelphia after spending two years recovering from surgery on his right foot, and Croatian forward Dario Saric is likely to join the team this fall after playing overseas in Turkey since being drafted with the 12th overall pick in 2014. The Sixers also hold the #1, 24, and 26 overall picks in the draft, and could potentially add more big men to their roster via that route before the season begins. Read the rest of this entry »
In the midst of playoff chaos and offseason uncertainty, Celtics fans received some good news on Wednesday when the league announced Avery Bradley had been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team. Golden State’s Draymond Green, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, and Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs, who was the only unanimous selection, joined Bradley on the First Team.
The announcement was expected considering Bradley finished 6th in DPOY voting, most among all guards, but nevertheless was an exciting and well-deserved accolade for Bradley, who received the third-most votes at any position in the All-Defensive team voting, behind only Leonard and Green. Bradley’s selection marks his second All-Defensive team honor, as he was named to the All-Defensive Second Team following the 2012-13 season, and is the first Celtic to be named to the First Team since Kevin Garnett in 2010-11. Read the rest of this entry »
Boy, is Bismack Biyombo fun to watch! His joyful exuberance coupled with massive basketball-related limitations make him the third most important reason to watch the Cavs/Raps series (Reason 1: Kyle Lowry back from the dead! Reason 2: Inefficient hero-ball from Kyrie Irving and Lebron getting blamed for it. 3: Biyomblocks! Biyombombs! Biyomb(insert pun here)).
He would be the best non-crotch-related story-line of these NBA playoffs if it weren’t for his crotch. His rebounding, toughness, screen-setting, screen-hedging, shot-blocking, and ability to switch out on to perimeter players are making people lose their minds. Just look at what the best basketball writer in the game Tweeted last night:
The good news for Cs fans that want Biyombo? Raptors aren’t going to be able to afford him and DeRozan this summer. He can be had.
Next time you hear someone refer to a young basketball player as “NBA-ready,” please do me a favor and roll your eyes as dramatically as you can manage. Remember how Jabari Parker was supposed to be more NBA-ready than Andrew Wiggins? The trope goes back further than that. In 2004, Emeka Okafor was more NBA-ready than Dwight Howard. In 2003, LeBron was going to be a superstar, but ‘Melo was more ready. Just last season, many of our most esteemed basketball minds believed that Jahlil Okafor was more NBA-ready than Karl-Anthony Towns. You can look it up.
These days, there is some buzz (again!) that the Celtics are interested in trading for Jahlil Okafor, and many C’s fans feel like this is a good idea. The logic is that Okafor would be at least the 3rd best player in this coming draft, so giving up the 3rd pick for him would be a great idea. He’s an elite post-scorer, right? He averaged 17.5 points per game as a rookie! He’s going to be great!
Unfortunately, Jahlil Okafor’s game seems to be perfectly calibrated to dupe people into believing he’s a much better player than he is. In fact, we learned this season that Okafor was not NBA-ready at all. Read the rest of this entry »
As Ryan alluded to, the Celtics ending up with the third pick Tuesday night is a fitting homage to this team right now – it’s fine, better than people were bracing for or even expecting, but noticeably short of where they want to be.
A #1 or #2 pick would have meant a star in some form, either the weird super-combo of Rajon Rondo and Giannis Antetokounmpo that is Ben Simmons, or the sweet-shooting two-way string bean that is Brandon Ingram. Or maybe they use the allure of those two to finally pry Jimmy Butler or DeMarcus Cousins from the everlasting vice grips of their respective teams.
A #4 pick or worse would have resulted in groans and bemoans of Boston’s continued lottery futility, followed by a 99.9% chance of a Craigslist ad submitted by a “DA17Green” for all the picks in the 2016 draft in return for just about anything more tangible than yet another bleeping one-skill role player.
But the third pick? It’s so perfectly down the middle. No one, including Danny Ainge, seemed quite sure of how to react, other than to say something to the effect of, “Every option is on the table for us.” Which, duh.
Even if every option is, indeed, still on the table, the preference still has to be a trade. The Celtics are looking to improve now from back-to-back unceremonious first round exits, and any of the youngsters below the two big names will, even in the best case scenario, take a season or two to develop into what you want them to. (The one exception may be Buddy Hield, but I’m not sold on him as anything more than a very good microwave-type scorer off the bench. Evaluating draft prospects are also a never-ending story for another day.)
The Celtics offered four first-round picks for the chance to move up from no. 16 to no. 9: that 16th pick, no. 15 (acquired in a prearranged contingency deal with the Hawks), one unprotected future Brooklyn pick, and a future first-rounder from either the Grizzlies or Timberwolves, per sources familiar with the talks.
The dust has finally settled, and the Boston Celtics will have the third overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft this June. The pick, which originally belonged to the Brooklyn Nets, should yield either a promising young rookie or could become a major pillar of a larger trade package.
This post will be the first in a series where I dive into the value of some of the Celtics’ lesser loved assets. I won’t only be focusing on the specific value to the Celtics, but also how the value of the type of asset is changing in the larger context of the league. We’ll start with everyone’s favorite penny stock: 2nd Round Picks.
Through years of wheeling and dealing the Celtics have amassed a glut of draft picks, including eight this June. The sheer number of picks has led to numerous discussions over if the team would be able to use all the selections, and if having that many all at once is actually a bad thing. No one questions the utility of the three 1st round picks, but the five 2nds seem to leave people at a loss.
One of the issues in discussing these 2nd round picks is that, maybe because the team has so many, they tend to get lumped together as one block. Like the 1st round, the 2nd round can be broken down into tiers by historic performance and utility. Let’s start by defining those tiers for 2nd round picks, then think about how the changing league landscape impacts each type of picks. Read the rest of this entry »
The Boston Celtics announced that the team would begin construction on a new practice and training facility, scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2018. The team will partner with the NB Development Group LLC, the organization responsible for Boston Landing, the space that now houses the Boston Bruins’ new facilities.
Danny Ainge was busy making the rounds this week following the conclusion of the Celtics’ postseason in six games against the Atlanta Hawks. After holding court with reporters on Wednesday in his end-of-season press conference, Ainge took to the radio on Thursday for his weekly hit with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
While perimeter shooting remains at the top of Boston’s needs entering the 2016 offseason following a dismal performance for the second straight year in Round 1, Ainge pointed to another theme that has been consistent target in past summers for Boston: Rim protection.
“It was pretty incredible that we were the fourth-rated defense in the NBA without a shot blocker, really. I mean, Amir does a pretty good job, but he’s the only one that really provides length at the rim. And that’s a real testament to our perimeter defenders. But that is one thing in the offseason that we will be looking for is somebody who can be more of a rim protector. At least a specialist.” Read the rest of this entry »