Remember when Vitor was a surprise contributor at the start of last season? Barely, because that was back when Jordan Crawford was the Eastern Conference Player of the Week and everything paled in comparison to the Steez?
But Faverani is still a Celtic (and Steez is not, so pour one out), and with the dearth of center talent on the roster, you can bet he’ll get some minutes this season. Boston — coached by Brad Stevens, and not married to any particular traditional lineup — will likely try to run Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger together, but if that doesn’t work, Tyler Zeller and Faverani might be the center rotation. Faverani can stretch the floor a little bit, but his defensive contributions last season were minimal at best, and the Celtics already have floor-stretching bigs who offer minimal defensive contributions.
But not only is Garnett going to be back — something the Nets have expected for months, and which was confirmed by multiple players saying Monday he has been working out at the team’s practice facility for the past couple weeks — new coach Lionel Hollins said Garnett will be the team’s starting power forward when the season begins next month.
“There is nobody in the gym that I would put in his place,” Hollins said. “He has earned the right to have that opportunity, to be the starter from Day 1.
“Somebody has got to knock him out. … It’s got to be like a heavyweight fight. I don’t see that really happening, but if it happens then I will deal with that decision when it comes. But I think when we start playing, [Garnett] will be the starting power forward.”
Somebody has to knock him out? That could be a problem — Garnett is pretty experienced as a fighter.
The Celtics won 25 games last year, so it’s not really a surprise that four of the 15 players on their roster were in the bottom fifth of the NBA, per ESPN’s annual #NBARank. As always, the rankings are fun, a little ridiculous, and a great way to pass time between now and when games start in October.
#499: Chris Babb.
A quick Chris Babb story: After a game in March, Rajon Rondo was holding court in the Celtics locker room in the doorway. Given Rondo’s elusive post-game nature, his post-game conferences always attract a crowd, and in this case, the crowd was actually probably a fire hazard.
Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green were having none of it — both 6’9ish, 200-plus pound athletes made their way to the door and pushed their way through.
Meanwhile Babb stood back from the crowd, his backpack strapped on, patiently waiting for everyone to stop asking Rondo questions.
“You can probably push your way through,” I told him. “I don’t think anyone would get mad.”
“I know,” he said, smiling. “I don’t want to make your guys’ jobs harder, though.”
The Boston Celtics still need to do some work in order to trim down their roster before the start of the 2014-15 NBA season. That’s not the case for us here at CelticsHub. In fact, we want to do the opposite and add to our roster.
For the first time in a couple years, we are looking to bring aboard additional contributors for the coming season. Are you interested in writing about the Celtics and the NBA? We want to hear from you. Here’s a quick Q-and-A to help guide you through the process of applying to be a part of the CH team.
Q: How many people will you be bringing aboard?
A: We have no set number in mind. If there are two, three, or four great applicants we like, we may take them all. We expect to add two people at least.
Q: Are you looking just for writers?
A: Absolutely not. If you have experience making videos or have photography experience, we’d love to hear from you too, as we are looking to adding to the team from a visual media front as well.
Q: Why should I apply to write for CelticsHub?
A: The main thing we can offer you at CelticsHub is exposure and opportunity. Five years ago, we were a blog no one had heard of in the newly-formed ESPN TrueHoop Network. Now, CelticsHub is a well-respected blog on the NBA landscape with thousands of readers every day. Writing for CelticsHub isn’t a full-time gig, but it will give you a great platform for your work.
There is no better example of that than CelticsHub alumnus Zach Lowe, who now writes for Grantland. Zach had no NBA writing experience before we started CelticsHub together back in 2009 and he has risen to the top of the NBA writing ranks in a few short years. The work done here by several other members of our staff (besides Zach) have led to bigger opportunities for them on a local (MassLive, Boston.com, CBSBoston) and national level (ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report).
Besides all that, writing about the Celtics and the NBA is just a lot of fun. If you are an informed NBA fan, there is plenty of room for you here so we encourage you to apply, even if writing about/watching the NBA is just a hobby, not something you hope will turn into a full-time gig.
CelticsHub is also a credentialed publication for all Celtics games. That means you may have the opportunity to cover the team in person, ask questions in the locker room, etc. Finally, there may be opportunity for modest monthly stipend.
Q: What information should I include in my application?
A: A few items as listed below:
• Indicate if you are a current college student
• Writing background (If any)
• Explanation of why you would be a good fit for CelticsHub
• Writing clip(s). (If you don’t have any clips, please write a sample post/story)
• Video/photography experience
• Any other information you think we should know
Q: How do I apply? A: Please send everything requested in the application via email toCelticsHub@gmail.com We will begin checking through the applications right away, but feel free to send submissions through next week.
Q: Do I have to reside in the Boston-area to apply?
A: Nope. Some of our CelticsHub writers live all over the country. If we like your stuff, your location won’t matter.
Q: If I’m in college, could my work at CelticsHub count as an internship?
A: Absolutely, as long as your school approves it.
Q: What kind of a time commitment will contributing for CelticsHub entail?
A: That depends on you really. The one thing we ask of you is to please be upfront about just how much of a time commitment you are able to make. We pride ourselves on our in-depth analysis and covering every single game in such a manner, so we will need people available to contribute some time commitment weekly, although understandably people’s availability will fluctuate. If we like your stuff, and you can only post a couple times a week, we still encourage you to apply, but just be upfront about how much you think you will able to contribute.
Q: You didn’t answer my question, where can I ask it?
A: Please send it over to CelticsHub@gmail.com
One of my roommates is a Denver Nuggets fan — an NBA junkie who watches a ton of League Pass. As you might imagine, he’s forced to watch a lot of Celtics games, which is something I felt bad about last year as Boston tripped, stumbled and fell its way to 25-57.
This year? I don’t expect to feel bad. I think Boston’s team is going to be a lot of fun, even for a Nuggets fan.
The USA Today doesn’t agree, ranking the Celtics 29th in watchability. That’s just one slot ahead of Philadelphia, and behind…everyone else, including the Lakers, Pacers, Pistons, Knicks and any other number of teams that we’ll be sick of watching on League Pass by midway through the 2014-15 season. Unsurprisingly, I don’t agree with the ranking. Read the rest of this entry »
As part of an annual feature over at ESPN, analysts Chad Ford, Amin Elhassan, Tom Haberstroh and Kevin Pelton ranked every team in the league based on five criteria (players, management, money, market and draft) to get a gauge on which direction each team was headed over the next three seasons.
Based on those criteria, and considering that the “player” category was worth 50 percent of the score where as “draft” was worth just 8.3 percent, you can probably see why the Celtics finished 24th.
Our panel certainly isn’t sold on the Celtics’ talent, ranking the team 29th in players. To improve that score, Boston will need recent draft picks Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger to take a major step in their development. Lottery pick Marcus Smart also figures to step into a larger role at point guard when — not if — Rondo is traded. Beyond that group, Boston is paying a lot of money to inconsistent wings Avery Bradley and Jeff Green and has young prospects with more questions than answers at this point.
The good news is only the Philadelphia 76ers rank higher in terms of future draft value. The first of three picks coming from the Brooklyn Nets fell to 17th and was used on Kentucky wing James Young. The next two, unprotected in 2016 and 2018 (plus the option to swap in 2017) could have far more upside given our panel’s pessimism about the Nets’ future. The Celtics have a third first-round pick from Cleveland in 2016 and can clear $30 million or more in cap space that summer.
ESPN’s analysts obviously don’t think Rondo has a future with this Celtics team, and they don’t project Boston to be a playoff team anytime in the next three years. That’s probably realistic — as Kevin Pelton said in his blurb, Sully and Olynyk need to take big steps up, and even if they do, it’s tough to imagine them sharing a successful frontcourt. Read the rest of this entry »
Walter McCarty and the rest of the Celtics assistant coaching staff began their Celtics tenures in a pretty unique situation last year. Hired in the middle of the summer, McCarty and his colleagues had to help lead a first-time coach with no pro experience. As a team, the Celtics had their shares of ups and downs throughout the season, but the job Brad Stevens, McCarty and company did with the team’s roster earned them accolades for the large part.
In year two, McCarty and his staff now have their feet under them. The perils of a quick transition are behind them and they are looking forward to turning things around after a subpar 25-win season. Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston and I caught up with McCarty in an interview late last week while the assistant coach and other Celtics employees were volunteering at the Hennigan Elementary School in Jamaica Plain. Here are a few of the highlights form that interview:
Has it been different with the coaching staff this summer? “We’ve just all been on the same page. I thought we did a really good job last season coming together, getting to know each other before the season, and getting our assignments and learning how to work together. We’ve really developed a great chemistry and how to work efficient. It’s been a great summer, we spent a lot of time together at summer league, and just being in the office. Just trying to make our team better. It’s been a really good summer for us.”
Jared Sullinger was one of the few bright spots in the midst of a 25-win season for the Celtics a year ago. Despite that fact, he had plenty of work to do this offseason in order to improve his little of performance and conditioning. His play was inconsistent throughout the year thanks to issues with his fitness stemming from season-ending back surgery last February.
On Friday, I caught up with Sullinger at a Celtics community service event in Jamaica Plain. The power forward reflected on his offseason, fitness and what the fans can expect from him during the upcoming season. Here’s a portion of the piece I wrote for CBSBostonSports.com
“[Last year] shut me down,” Sullinger explained. “I couldn’t play until September. [Couldn’t do] full-blown basketball with contact, playing one-on-one, things like that, so I was kind of behind the 8-ball and stayed behind the 8-ball. This year, I’m in front of the 8-ball right now, hopefully going to hit the corner pocket, so we’ll see.” Read the rest of this entry »
I’m of the opinion that Smart’s jumper isn’t nearly as broken as some seem to think, and that an average jumper plus his offensive contributions as a penetrator PLUS his defense will help make him a very good NBA player in the future.
The recent developments over the weekend on the Rondo front has pushed forward the timetable of what was going to be an inevitable exercise this season: exploring Rajon Rondo trade possibilities.
Tuesday night, I joined Rich Keefe on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston to take stock of the entire Rondo saga over the last few days. Additionally, we took a closer look at the sequence of events that led to MacMullan’s Rondo report and his camp’s response.
After that, we decided to dig deeper into the reality that there just aren’t that many realistic Rondo trade destinations out there. So which teams are contenders to land the Celtics star? And is it even a certainty that Rondo will be dealt sometime this season? Check out the full two-part podcast below for the answers.