Tag:Boston Celtics
Posted on: August 31, 2010 1:15 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 1:19 pm

Watching Shaq be Shaq is some kind of great

Posted by Royce Young

It didn't take a brilliant TV executive to figure out putting Shaquille O'Neal on televison in a reality show setting was a good idea. And once Shaq Versus runs its course, surely there has to be another avenue for the world to get a peek into Shaq's dynamite personality. The Boston Globe gave us one, as the paper followed Shaq around for a day as he helped promote the UFC's event in Boston that was last Saturday.

Included in the video is Shaq signing autographs, taking pictures, visiting Harvard and wrestling a 13-year-old kid. Yes, seriously. He wrestled a little kid.

ESPN's Dana Jacobson talked with the kid, Matt Weisman, about grappling with Kazaam himself. Weisman said it wasn't a planned event to have Shaw wrestle someone, but it was just a little eye contact and before he knew it, Weisman was on stage facing the seven-footer.

Shaq is one of those larger than life personalities that is always good for the game even if he's just a shell of his former self. Having him make appearances, sign autographs, do interviews and wrestle childen is something I hope to see the big guy do for a long time.
Category: NBA
Posted on: August 30, 2010 2:24 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2010 8:08 pm

NBA Pop Quiz: What can Shaq contribute?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question..

What can Shaq contribute to the Celtics?

We're going to make it through the rest of this entire blog post without using a single nickname. We're going to do it. It's going to be hard, but I believe if we stick together, we can make this happen. If you're ready, we'll begin.

Shaquille O'Neal is ten years past his prime. I'm not exaggerating, either. That's not a figure of speech. His prime was literally the 1999-2000 season, meaning he's coming up on the anniversary of the season after his prime. In '99-'00 he averaged 29.7 points per game, 13.6 rebounds per game, with 3.8 assists and 3.0 blocks while averaging 40 minutes a game. He shot 57.4% from the field. He had a 30.6 PER that season, good for 6th among centers playing at least 30 minutes per game, all-time. O'Neal will never be considered in the same hallowed breath as Wilt Chamberlain, but it's close, and that season he was.

He really was the most dominant player in the NBA. But as I said, that was over ten years ago. What did O'Neal contribute last year? First, it's important not to look at it from a per-game standpoint. His position with the Celtics isn't based on what he can give them game to game, it's based on what he can give them minute to minute. And his per-minute numbers were great. If we project 20 minutes for O'Neal while Kendrick Perkins recovers from knee surgery, splitting time with Jermaine O'Neal, and we look at how he did with those minutes last season we get the following: 10.3 points per 20 minutes, 5.7 rebounds with 1 block. That's a pretty good night for a guy his age. 10 points, 6 boards, with a block. That's what you want out of a part-time veteran center. Consider Zydrunas Ilgauskas, three years younger than O'Neal and a part-time center for the Miami Triad, who averaged only 7.1 and 5.2 rebounds last season for the same Cavs team per 20 minutes.

The biggest concern is that with O'Neal's size, he should be able to produce higher rebounding numbers. And for the Celtics, he'll have to. The Celtics were a paltry 13th in Defensive Rebounding Rate (percentage of all defensive rebounds available that were snagged) last season, and with Perkins down and Kevin Garnett another year older, they'll need even more from O'Neal in that area. His size should give him the ability to contribute more in the rebounds area and less in the points section. But that means sacrifice, which leads us to the biggest question mark about what O'Neal brings to the Celtics.

O'Neal has said absolutely everything you'd want to hear from him this summer. He talks about knowing his role, about not getting caught up in ego, and buying into the whole Celtics mythos built around team play and sacrifice. Execution is the tough part. It won't be difficult in the beginning, when everyone's settling in. But if O'Neal is playing well, scoring points but not collecting rebounds, and the team struggles in the win-loss column beneath their reasonably high expectations, O'Neal is more likely to start grumbling about getting the ball more. After all, if he's scoring, that's a good thing, right? But the issue is that O'Neal can't be considered the go-to, simply because he can't put in 30 to 40 minutes a night. The rest of the offense needs to stay in sync and not be bogged down trying to facilitate the guy playing 15 to 20. The Celtics have scorers. They need to maintain their defense and improve their rebounding, and they need to do it within both the tactical and emotional parameters they've already developed.

But unlike other emotionally volatile players the Celtics could have turned to, O'Neal does have one good aspect of his very large personality. He's a known quantity. Even if he doesn't follow through with the humble subjugation of his game for the good of the contender, you know what you're getting with O'Neal. He's going to miss a certain amount of games, he's going to look like dynamite for several games, and he's going to bring the attitude the Celtics want. They need to be arrogant, confident; the team that knows that it's a step above the teams in front of them. They thrive on that attitude, it helps fuel their game. And that's why in the end, signing Shaquille O'Neal wasn't that much of a risk. He's at once an antithesis and just what the doctor ordered. Now they just have to see how medicine goes down.

For more on the Big Shamrock (dang it!), follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNBA

Posted on: August 24, 2010 1:58 pm

Rajon Rondo withdraws from Team USA

Celtics guard asks to be cut for personal reasons, final roster set.
Posted by Matt Moore

A shocking development came down the pipeline of Team USA today, as Rajon Rondo has been cut from the team, after asking to withdraw for personal reasons . Head of USA basketball Jerry Colangelo thanked Rondo for his effort and commitment and issued a statement of support for the Celtics guard. Rondo had been the starter for Team USA, but had also looked lackadaiscal and dispassionate for long stretches.

The final cut was widely talked about being between Stephen Curry, whose game fits well on the international stage but who has been battling injury, and Russell Westbrook, the lowest name guard on roster. With Rondo out, they both make the team. Losing Rondo hurts in several key areas however. While a lot of talk has been about the lack of shooting on Team USA, an area Rondo was not equipped to help in, his pressure perimeter defense and distribution skills were unmatched among the plethora of guards Coach K and Colangelo decided to take overseas. Losing him means Derrick Rose will need to step up considerably on both sides of the ball to be the distributor, with Chauncey Billups primarily playing shooting guard for the club.

The final Team USA roster, finalized today with Rondo's withdrawal:

Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets)
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies)
Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers)
Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers)
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)
Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Lamar Odom
(Los Angeles Lakers)
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)

The 2010 FIBA World Championships begin Saturday.
Posted on: August 20, 2010 12:44 pm

Pierce wants to retire a Celtic, finish in Europe

"" Posted by Royce Young

Players finishing careers out on another continent is nothing new. We've seen it quite a bit recently in soccer, with players like David Beckham and Thiery Henry coming to the United States to finish out a great career, all while getting paid.

It's surprising more NBA players don't do it. Stephon Marbury is in China right now, but other than that, not a ton of big name players have gone to Europe. Especially the guys that aren't dying for cash once their career finishes. It's not anything new for NBA guys to play in Europe, but star caliber players don't typically play professionally overseas. But Paul Pierce is planning on doing exactly that.

From an interview with CSNNE.com:
As far as retiring from the NBA, I think I will be done after this contract because eventually I want to go overseas and play and live for a couple of years. That's why this is a big contract for me, knowing I'm going to retire a Boston Celtic. I want to go to either Italy or Greece for a year. I think I want to be able to bring my family over to just kind of share a different experience overseas for a couple of years, before I settle into retirement.
Pierce currently is under contract with the Celtics through 2014, though he does have an opt out after the third year. Right now, he's 32 so that means he'd "retire" at 36. Players play well past that often times (hello Shaq), but rarely is a guy ever playing at at very high level anymore.

From the sounds of it, Pierce is more interested in a paid vacation with his new wife and family than he is competing in Europe. And in my mind, that's seriously brilliant. Why pay for an Italian vacation when you can make serious cash playing a couple more years of basketball? Plus, kudos for the move of playing an entire career with one NBA team. That doesn't happen much anymore and the fact Pierce doesn't intend to drag his playing days out as a journeyman bouncing between a few teams as a big name role player is a noble move.
Category: NBA
Posted on: August 18, 2010 9:04 am

Shootaround 8.18.10: Louuuu!

Pierce wants help, Wall won't get that many buckets, and the Suns have the pick but no roll in today's edition of the shootaround. Posted by Matt Moore

Paul Pierce says the Celtics need one more piece , specifically a wing to come in and relieve him. He doesn't sound thrilled with the team losing Tony Allen, specifically. How they'll fill that hole is an entirely different question, if at all. Allen played a pretty specific role (and honestly didn't play it all that well prior to the second half of last season). Furthermore, Pierce's statement serves as a significant knock agasint Marquis Daniels, who's supposed to particularly be just that for that for the Celtics.

The Warriors, Hornets, and Pacers are in pursuit of Lou Amundson, the Phoenix big man who found the team didn't have room for him after their replacement moves this summer. The Warriors are the easy option, a nice market and a fun way to play. But it also provides the least chance to win. The Pacers are likely to be a fun team, full of speed and versatility (much like the Suns last season), but it's not clear if Amundson (28) wants to be the veteran presence on a team. That leaves the Hornets, who will play a much slower pace than he's used to most likely. The fact is that the best situation for Amundson was Phoenix, who really did need him. But hey, when Hakim Warrick comes available...

John Wall is a near-lock to lead all rookies in assists next year. But how's his scoring going to be? Bullets Forever takes a look at the issue and finds that Wall's top three options are heavy-usage players that don't necessarily score a lot off of assists. So not only will Wall's scoring be lower than expected, but similarly his point totals may not wow the eye either. There's a solution, here, ditching Gilbert Arenas for cheap fluff, but no one wants to hear that option in Washington (or they believe that no one will take Arenas period).

A perfect example of what advanced metrics can do? A block is a block right? Except some blocks have more value than others , and the number of blocks you make impact the overall value of all of your blocks. So a block is not just a block.

Kendrick Perkins is targeting February for a return . Which is awkward, because that means if the Celtics find themselves surprised by a lack of center depth (despite Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal), they're not going to have much time to make that assessment if they need to make a trade.

The NCAA president wants to see baseball-like rules for the NBA's draft guidelines. This would mean players can go to the NBA straight out of high school, but if they elect to go to college, they must stay for three years or until they're 21. An interesting idea, but as John Krolik points out , one fraught with complications. An additional question is where the NBA D-League would play in this process, and if it would help bridge the gap. Either way, it's unlikely for this option to be adopted, given the economic realities.

Jerry Buss isn't lacking for confidence when it comes to the Lakers' chances against the Heat. The list of people actually admitting fear or even legitimate respect for the Heat is pretty small, for some reason.

The pick-and-roll has been the cornerstone of the Suns' offense for years. And yet looking at their options , the Suns may be looking at a lot more pick-and-pops than rolls. Robin Lopez may be their only hope.

Posted on: August 16, 2010 11:12 am
Edited on: August 16, 2010 11:48 am

Doc gave Shaq the hard truth before signing him

Doc tells the big man some hard truths before bringing the MDE on board.
Posted by Matt Moore

When the Celtics signed Shaquille O'Neal, questions were rampant about how this was going to work. O'Neal has remained adamant throughout his career's downward slope that he's still capable of his former glory. It was pretty normal for people to start wondering exactly how this was going to work, and if Shaq was going to start making noise about his overly exaggerated role on the C's.

Well apparently, Doc Rivers nipped that in the bud.

The Boston Globe reports that before Shaq signed with Boston, O'Neal visited Doc Rivers' home for a little talk. And there, Rivers lowered the boom . Via the Globe:

"He told O’Neal he may not start. He told O’Neal his skills had declined, so touches won’t be a priority. He told O’Neal he was a liability on pick-and-roll defense. O’Neal sat there with a blank expression, and Rivers thought there was no chance of a deal getting done."

It must be nice to be Doc Rivers. Championship ring. Lots of dough. And the ability to tell the Most Dominant Ever that he probably won't be getting his name called in the introductions and that he sucks at pick and roll defense. I wouldn't tell him that. He'd eat me.

Of course, if I'm being a skeptical, cold-hearted son of a gun (and I am), I'd point out that saying you're totally fine with something in preseason is one thing. Keeping your mouth kept during a losing streak in which you don't feel you're playing enough is a different matter. And O'Neal knows he brings more offense and total size than either Kendrick Perkins or Jermaine O'Neal. But so far, it looks like the O'Neal has honestly bought into "the Celtic way."
Posted on: August 12, 2010 12:02 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 12:18 pm

It's Thursday and Rudy still wants a trade

Posted by Royce Young

Rudy Fernandez has made it pretty darn clear that he wants a trade. And he's reiterating those sentiments again. HoopsHype translated an interview done with Marca.com and Rudy once again laid his feelings out.

"It's more like we're trying to talk with (the Blazers) and make them understand my position. And let's make clear I understand theirs too," Fernandez said. "We have to come to an agreement and find a way out as soon as possible. I made a great effort going to the States, making less money that I would in Europe. This season, I decided with my agents that the best thing was to try to get traded so I could be on another team with more playing time."

The was also talk that Fernandez grew depressed over playing time and his situation. He talked a little about that too.

"Not to the point of being depressed, but I've been pretty messed up psychologically," he said. "I didn't feel comfortable on the court and sometimes I preferred to stay on the bench. I didn't feel capable of helping the team and that's very tough to handle for any player."

It's looking unlikely that Fernandez will in fact get moved any time soon though. The Bulls are still a candidate even though they just signed Keith Bogans, but Blazers coach Nate McMillan said in an interview with NECN.com that his focus is that Fernandez will be back and also how to use him when he comes back.

The Celtics are another potential spot for Fernandez to land, though if the Blazers aren't willing to swap Fernandez just to get him out of Portland, it's unlikely the Blazers will be satisfied with most packages teams like the Bulls and Celtics could put together. The Blazers have been clear they want a first round pick among other things, so teams like the Celtics and Bulls will have to weigh that and decide if Fernandez is a piece worth going after. But this much is apparently clear: You better play him if you get him or he'll want to leave.

Posted on: August 11, 2010 11:04 am
Edited on: August 11, 2010 11:08 am

Breaking down the back-to-backs

Posted by Royce Young

Other than the fact that since it's August and we're all starved for NBA news, the schedule release typically doesn't have a ton of surprises. On the surface, all schedules are created equal with everyone having 41 home games and 41 road games. (Unless you're the Lakers and you get a couple extra home games when you go on the "road" to play the Clippers.)

But all schedules are not equal. Not in the slightest actually. Other than some teams getting contenders four times instead of three because of the way the scheduling rotation works and the fact the Clippers have a 10-game road trip (!), there's the issue of back-to-backs. And back-to-backs can take what looks to be an easy month and turn it into a 30-day grind.

The Bulls and Bucks lead the way with 23 back-to-backs. That's a bummer for the Bulls who had one of the highest totals in the league last season. For all you Laker haters, here's some more ammo: The champs only have 15, which is tied for the fewest in the league. The Suns have just 16 and the Thunder and Hawks have only 17.

Six teams have 22, six have 21, two have 20, six have 19 and four have 18. The full list:

1. Chicago - 23
2. Milwauke -  23
3. Charlotte - 22
4. Cleveland - 22
5. LA Clippers - 22
6. New Jersey - 22
7. Philadelphia - 22
8. Portland - 22
9. Detroit - 21
10. Houston - 21
11. Indiana - 21
12. Memphis - 21
13. New York - 21
14. Washington - 21
15. Dallas - 20
16. Orlando - 20
17. Boston - 19
18. Denver - 19
19. Miami - 19
20. Minnesota - 19
21. Toronto - 19
22. Utah - 19
23. Golden State - 18
24. New Orleans - 18
25. Sacramento - 18
26. San Antonio - 18
27. Atlanta - 17
28. Oklahoma City - 17
29. Phoenix - 16
30. LA Lakers - 15

One underrated angle on the back-to-backs is how many games a team gets against a team on the second night of a back-to-back. Phoenix has the most in the league with 15 games against teams that played the night before. The Suns are followed by Cleveland (10), Oklahoma City (10), Atlanta (10) and San Antonio (9).

The Lakers, who have the fewest back-to-backs in the league, only have four games against a team that played the night before. Sacramento has the fewest in the league with only one.

Related to that, the Bucks, Cavs, Celtics, Bobcats, Bulls, Grizzlies and Clippers all have four or more games against a team playing in its fourth game in five days with no rest. The Lakers, Suns, Warriors, Spurs and 76ers have zero such games.
And on the flip side of that, the Bobcats, Cavs, Bucks, 76ers and Wizards all have four games that are on the fourth game in five days with no rest. So clearly the league tried to even that out. You get some, you give some. A bunch of teams only have to do that once including the Suns, Thunder, Lakers and Heat.

Based on back-to-backs, days off and playing against unrested opponents, you could make a strong case that Oklahoma City and Phoenix have two of the most favorable schedules in the league. The Lakers, while having the fewest back-to-backs, also have one of the lowest amount of games against unrested opponents.

While the schedule is going to be unfair for some teams because that's just life, it's clear the league tried to even things out. Playing against a team that is coming in off a red eye flight and that played just 20 hours ago is a huge advantage. Probably even more than having a low number of back-to-back games.

But back-to-backs are just part of the schedule story. Who are the back-to-backs against? What about long road trips, days off and long home stands? In the end, it doesn't matter all that much. For the most part, the best teams win and the bad teams lose.

Info pulled from NBAStuffer.com
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com