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Archive for September, 2008

Perk Still Banged Up, Will Miss Training Camp

Posted by r1zzo23 on September 27, 2008

From RealGM.com:

Celtics center Kendrick Perkins will miss the start of training camp after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in July.

However, Perkins is expected to be ready for the regular season.

“He’ll be trying to get through September,” said GM Danny Ainge. “I’m confident he will be in the starting lineup opening night.”

Doesn’t really surprise me as this shoulder was giving Perk some problems all season. I just want him to wait until he is 100% before he throws himself out on the floor. If that means he has to miss a few regular season games, so be it. The Celtics have enough fire power to go 5-10 regular season games without him and that would give Patrick O’Bryant a chance to prove himself to the coaches and the fans.

Get well soon Perk!

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Divisional Outlook – Packed Pacific

Posted by r1zzo23 on September 24, 2008

With four teams in California and one in Phoenix, these teams are about as close as any division in the league. What’s even scarier is that the talent level could be about as close as any division as well.

2008-2009 Record: 64-18

2007-2008 Record: 57-25

The Lakers are the class of the Pacific and maybe even the entire Western Conference. They have the best player in basketball (Kobe Bryant), two great big men (Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum), a matchup nightmare (Lamar Odom) and plenty of great role players surrounding them. This team will finish with the best record in the league and should be the favorites to win the Western Conference crown. Question is will they come to play with the best that the East has to offer.

2008-2009 Record: 52-30

2007-2008 Record: 55-27

The Phoenix Suns made a huge trade last yaer bringing in the Big Shaqtus, Shaquille O’Neal. This went against everything that Mike D’Antoni stood for and, as we all could have assumed, D’Antoni is gone. They still have Nash and Amare as perhaps the most dangerous point guard-big man combo in the entire league. No offensive system or defensive scheme can stop these two and they should be a lock for a playoff spot.

2008-2009 Record: 49-33

2007-2008 Record: 23-59

One team that has been a disappointment the last two seasons was the LA Clippers, although last year can attributed to injuries to Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston. Now those two players are gone, but the additions of Baron Davis and Marcus Camby should make up for subtractions. Al Thornton has another season to grow and they added the future replacement of Cuttino Mobley to the roster in Eric Gordon. This team could be the surprise team of the Pacific Division and perhaps the Western Conference.

2008-2009 Record: 39-43

2007-2008 Record: 48-34

If there is any team that plays off absolute emotion, it is the Golden State Warriors. They have very energetic players that make this team a playoff nightmare. But, with the loss of their floor leader in Baron Davis and the mysterious injury to Monta Ellis, this team could be on a down year. The Warriors now have to turn to Marcus Williams to run the offense. With no Baron Davis, who will be able to keep Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington in check? This could spell disaster.

2008-2009 Record: 30-52

2007-2008 Record: 38-44

The Kings have a nice, young nucleus and I would love to give this team some more wins, but the loss of Ron Artest is going to hurt this team. Shareef Abdur-Rahim, a classy veteran, has recently retired and will be a tough player to lose, but there are plenty of young players to step up in his place. Jason Thompson was drafted higher than most expected and he may be asked to play some meaningful minutes early and often for this team. They also have two good centers in Brad Miller and Spencer Hawes, a very resourceful point guard in Beno Udrih and a young, budding shooting guard in Kevin Martin. This team will be good in the near future.

Other Division Outlooks – Northwest

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Celtics Storm the White House

Posted by r1zzo23 on September 20, 2008

The Boston Celtics, finishing off their Championship Trophy Tour, visisted George W at the White House in Washington D.C. You’ve seen the Lakers, Spurs, Pistons and Heat do it in recent memory, but it sure is good to see our beloved Boston Celtics standing there with Mr. President. They presented him with a basketball signed by all the members of the team (which he did dribble once, I may add) as well as a #43 Celtics jersey, representing Bush as the 43rd president of this wonderful nation. I’m sure Kendrick Perkins (#43 on the court) was pretty pumped about having the president wear his number. The Celtics also said they would give a $100,000 check to help with the victims of Hurricane Ike.

President Bush also acknowledged one specific player on the team:

Despite an injury to this team’s captain, Paul Pierce, he played with courage… That’s why this league calls him ‘The Truth.’ And this team calls him the captain.

Truer words could not have been spoken, Sir.

I must say, watching the team tour the country with the Larry O’Brien trophy never gets old. Hopefully we’ll be back at the White House again next year. The question is: who will be the president waiting for our arival?

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Miles Suspended 10 Games

Posted by r1zzo23 on September 19, 2008

Darius Miles enters the season with the magic number of ten. If he plays 10 games this season, he will add $18 million of total payroll on the Blazer’s cap over the next two seasons. But his return from a career-ending injury will have to wait until Game 11 of the season, at the earliest.

From RealGM.com:

The NBA announced Friday that Darius Miles of the Boston Celtics has been suspended without pay for 10 games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program at the end of the 2007-08 NBA season.

His violation of the program involved phentermine.

Miles’ suspension will begin with the first game of the 2008-09 NBA regular season for which he is eligible and physically able to play.

This isn’t much news to those of us following the Celtics closely. Hopefully this will allow Patrick O’Bryant or Bill Walker 10 games to show what they’ve got to offer to this team.

I also looked up to see exactly what phentermine was. Apparently it helps with weight loss, so perhaps the new-age ephedra? Not sure why DMiles would need it, but that’s not going to be disclosed to us, obviously.

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Divisional Outlook – The Great Northwest

Posted by r1zzo23 on September 19, 2008

The Northwest has got some intriguing stories across the division. The region (geographically) lost a team to Oklahoma City, lost the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up (who just so happened to win the award the year before) and has one of the most hyped players since Lebron back and totally recovered from a knee injury. Here’s how I think the division will shape up.

2008-2009 Record: 56-26

2007-2008 Record: 54-28

The Utah Jazz have been a staple in the playoffs under Jerry Sloan and that is certainly going to continue this year, but they will be adding another Northwest Division banner to the rafters. Deron Williams to Carlos Boozer looks like the 2nd coming of Stockton to Malone, but how much longer will this duo be together? Andrei Kirilenko will probably continue to struggle to blossom under Sloan’s system. Mehmet Okur will still be holding it down in the paint, but has got some young blood behind him in Kosta Koufos and Ante Tomic. This team should be considered a legit title contendor. If Boozer does leave after this season, it will be very interesting to see how they fill that void.

2008-2009 Record: 47-35

2007-2008 Record: 41-41

The Blazers probably have the largest bandwagon of any team in the league with Greg Oden starting his long-awaited rookie season. Team him with the likes of Brandon Roy, Lamarcus Aldridge, Rudy Fernandez and all the rest of the youngsters in Portland and this team is going to be scary in two years. Portland once again dominated the draft and managed to snag Jerryd Bayless and Nicolas Batum. Bayless should contribute immediately while Batum is a perfect player to stash overseas for a couple years. This team will make noise this season and will fight for a playoff spot in the powerful Western Conference.

2008-2009 Record: 42-40

2007-2008 Record: 50-32

So maybe it’s obvious by now that the Allen Iverson/Carmelo Anthony duo wasn’t the right move. Granted, this team has been exciting to watch, but they weren’t title contendors in the previous years and definitely aren’t now with Marcus Camby being shipped out of town for a conditional 2nd round pick next year. Their defense was atrocious before and it will be even worse (if that’s even possible) this season. The Nuggets are going to need both Nene and Kenyon Martin to be healthy all season if they even want a chance at reaching the playoffs. Also, don’t expect Allen Iverson to be back in Denver next season with his contract up at the end of this season. I’d even go out on a limb and say he’ll be gone by the trade deadline.

2008-2009 Record: 31-51

2007-2008 Record: 22-60

We just received news that Al Jefferson has a little problem with his knee, but should be ready for the season. This very young team added a grizzled veteran in Mike Miller and also a big body to play next to Jefferson in Kevin Love. Love doesn’t have the typical athleticism of an NBA player, but he has a great feel for the game and his basketball IQ is off the charts. I think there will be some growing pains with this group this year, but next year could be ready for a playoff push. Al Jefferson should be on an all-star team within the next two years as well.

2008-2009 Record: 20-62

2007-2008 Record: 20-62

I tried to justify giving this team a better record. They’ve got some great young pieces to build around, but they are just too young. Kevin Durant scared me last year. He came into the league and instantly became a chucker, shooting below 40% for quite some time. I thought that this was going to be the way he played his entire career and he quickly was going to fall out of favor with many of his fans. Then he started taking better shots as well as hitting the glass and playing a little bit of defense. Durant took a huge step forward in just his rookie season and should take another big one this year. If Russell Westbrook can show he can get his teammates involved in an offense, those two will be good friends for a long time.

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Six Part Series – Divisonal Outlook

Posted by r1zzo23 on September 19, 2008

This will be the first of six installments of Divisional Outlook. Basically, I’m just going to go through each division, assign a regular season record for each team and give a quick synopsis of what I think of the team, major additions and losses and the direction the team is heading. The first I will focus on is the great Northwest division, then start working my way East with the Pacific, Southwest, Central, Southeast then, of course, finishing out with the best division in all the NBA, the Atlantic! Without further adieu, let’s get this kick started!

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Big Three Must Stay Healthy

Posted by r1zzo23 on September 17, 2008

All last offseason and through the regular season, we stressed how important it was for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to stay healthy if we wanted to win a championship. If we lost any one of them for a long stretch of time, it could have been very detrimental to the team. Ok so I know the team was 9-2 when Garnett missed 11 games throughout the season, but still. The camraderie that the team, especially these three, built right off the bat in Rome was spectacular. They weren’t just teammates when they were at practice or games, but they became the best of friends and family on and off the floor. To lose any of them would be like watching the Patriots with Tom Brady.

The reason I bring this up is because it was announced today that Gilbert Arenas had more surgery on his knee and won’t be back until late December or early January. Watching the Wizards without Gilbert is like watching a totally different team, and some (myself included), actually think that they play better without him. Sure, Agent-0 is capable of lighting up the scoreboard himself, but when the teammates just stand around watching “the show”, that can be very ineffective. When Gil isn’t in the lineup, Eddie Jordan has his team running his Princeton Offense and it’s much more fun to watch, and I’m sure to play, when everyone is getting involved. They still have two all-star caliber players in Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, a young big man in Andre Blatche, a pretty good pass-first point guard in Antonio Daniels to go along with their serviceable big men. Heck, the Wizards did beat the Celtics in back-to-back games without Arenas!

I’m just saying that it’s interesting to look at another trio of all-star players in Arenas, Butler and Jamison and know that perhaps the best of the bunch being out makes the team, as a whole, play a little bit better. You could never say that about Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett. Ray Allen, don’t get me wrong, can easily be the best player on the court for any given game. But when it comes down to it, Pierce is the captain and The Truth and KG is KG. This team just wouldn’t be the same, and absolutely nowhere near as good, if they lost Pierce or Garnett for any extended period of time. Let’s just hope these guys stay in great shape in the offseason, stay healthy for the entire season and get some extra rest along the way by getting the younger players some more burn.

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Who Will Be Active?

Posted by r1zzo23 on September 17, 2008

As of right now, the Celtics have 16 players under contract and one unsigned rooke (Semih Erden). NBA teams are only allowed 12 active players for any given game, so which four players are going to be seeing some time on the inactive list or the D-League? It’s obvious that ten spots are locked in for sure. The starting five will obviously be back in full force along with Sam Cassell (when he signs next week), Tony Allen, Eddie House, Leon Powe and Glen Davis. That leaves two spots left for players to fill in. Let’s break down the remaining players and see who earns, or perhaps eliminates themselves from, a roster spot.

The first player to bring up, and basically to just get out of the way real early, is Brian Scalabrine. Scal is a funny guy and is probably the best person on the team to go get a beer with, but he won’t be suiting up for too many games this season. There’s one of the remaining six out of the way. Now it’s a five-headed monster to cut down to two.

Looking at the point guard position, it looks as if we will be pretty set with Rondo blossoming into the lethal distributor and defender we all know and love along with the re-signing of both Eddie House and Sam Cassell. Sam isn’t the biggest fan favorite, but he is a veteran point guard that can be a calming influence over the second squad. Whether he gets them involved or not is another question. House earned his new contract by being such a solid contributor all season, even after virtually all of his minutes were taken away by Cassell. He stepped in during the playoffs and started right back where he left off: giving an unreal amount of energy as well as a relentless assault of three-balls. Sad to say, but it’s going to be another year before we see Pruitt active on a regular basis.

The last four candidates are rookies J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker as well as two new free agent faces in Darius Miles and Patrick O’Bryant. I think Giddens will be active because he will fill in as the #3 SG on the team and will be great to groom defensively in some blowouts. Also, if Tony Allen God forbid were to ever hurt his knee any further, it would be nice to have Giddens ready to go with some experience under his belt.

Patrick O’Bryant is a work in progress at the center position. We got by last year for most of the regular season with Garnett and Perkins starting and Davis and Powe relieving them from the bench. The addition of PJ Brown later in the season was a huge addition, but does O’Bryant make PJ expendable by the time late-February rolls around? I think the Celtics let Clifford Ray work with O’Bryant in practice for a while before activating him.

So it seems as if the final active roster spot is between Bill Walker and Darius Miles. Bill Walker coming off minor knee surgery, which seems like it shouldn’t hold him back at all this year. Darius Walker had what was diagnosed as career-ending knee surgery, but he’s back and ready to play, although his knee may never be 100% ever again. Ainge recently said that Bill Walker has been very impressive, so much so that they quickly scratched the idea of sending him overseas and want him here with the team. Now does that mean he’s going to be on the active roster or will he be inactive or even a D-League candidate? Given Miles’ injury history, I think he’ll stick around with the team rather than go to the D-League so he will be working with the veterans like Paul Pierce to be ready to play when his number is called.

Also, a very interesting point reguarding Darius Miles. One reason for Danny and Doc to make Miles active is to really stick it to Portland. How you may ask? Well if Darius Miles plays in 10 games this season (and this is after his suspension) it would put $18 million back on Portland’s books. A potential Western Conference power, I’m sure the Celtics would like to do whatever they can to set them back, and forcing them to dish out $9 million a year for the next two years on Miles rather than signing a free agent would be one way of doing that.

So what I’m saying is that the Celtics will get Miles his 10 games of action to insure that his salary goes back under Portland’s cap, then from there that spot will be available to both he and Walker. Of course, if one of the bigs is injured and needs to miss some time, O’Bryant would usurp the active roster spot. Until Miles is back from his suspension, I think O’Bryant will be on the active roster.

So in my opinion, I think this is what the opening day active roster will look like:

PG: Rajon Rondo, Sam Cassell, Eddie House

SG: Ray Allen, J.R. Giddens

SF: Paul Pierce, Tony Allen

PF: Kevin Garnett, Leon Powe, Glen Davis

C: Kendrick Perkins, Patrick O’Bryant

Inactive: Gabe Pruitt, Darius Miles, Bill Walker, Brian Scalabrine

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Sam Playing Next Year, Coaching In 2009

Posted by r1zzo23 on September 16, 2008

According to Sam Cassell, he will be back with the Boston Celtics this upcoming season. Thoughts were that he would be going to Denver to reunite with George Karl and become an assistant coach there. Well looks like his plans to coach are on schedule, just the destination has change a bit.

This from an article at RealGM.com:

Sam Cassell plans to become an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics after playing one more season in the NBA, according to Baltimore Sun.

“This is my last year playing with the Celtics,” Cassell, 38, told a reporter. “Next week, I’ll sign the contract.”

After that, he plans to exercise an option to join Boston’s coaching staff. “I am playing this year,” Cassell said. “After that, I have the option to do coaching for them.”

Very interesting stuff right there. Seems as though it’s a done deal and the language in the contract has been figured out and just need to have Sam throw his John Hancock on the contract. Sam didn’t provide the stability we would have all liked to see last year, but seeing that he wants to become a coach in the very near future, perhaps that will translate to his game on the court and he can start running the offense much more effectively.

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