Tag Archives: Boston Celtics

Eastern Conference Early Off-Season Report Cards, by Professor Weiner

Jake Weiner

buzzbeat

If you missed the professor’s Western Conference grades, click here: Part 1 Part 2. Also, make sure you send any NBA-related (or not) questions to jweiner13@gmail.com for #JakeznerMailbag2k13!

Atlanta Hawks

2012-13 record: 44-38 (6th)

Biggest departures: Josh Smith

Biggest arrivals: Paul Millsap

Analysis: Atlanta’s off-season is currently in a major state of flux. They decided to let Josh Smith walk and take a near max contract with Detroit, but rebounded very nicely by inking Paul Millsap for two years and $19 million. Not only is $9.5 million per season an extremely fair price for a talented power forward like Millsap, but the Hawks also maintain future flexibility with just a two year deal. I love this move, as Millsap has long been a secret of the stat nerds and Smith is infuriating. However, Atlanta’s backcourt is a complete question mark at the time of writing. The latest has Jeff Teague signing a $32 million offer sheet from Milwaukee and former Hawks coach Larry Drew, but the Hawks are apparently considering. They’ve also been rumored to be looking at former Buck Monta Ellis. My grade for Atlanta will depend a lot on what they do at point guard; I’m a big Teague fan.

Grade: Incomplete

Boston Celtics

2012-13 record: 41-40 (7th)

Biggest departures: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers

Biggest arrivals: Brad Stevens, A flaming bag of shit

Analysis: The Celtics decided quickly that it was time to restart from scratch. After the Doc Rivers Saga, Boston and Brooklyn agreed to an insane blockbluster swapping future Hall of Famers Garnett and Pierce for a ton of draft picks and some horrible contracts (Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, etc.). This trade probably amounts to a win-win scenario, but it was certainly ugly. Boston had no compelling reason to fight to the death for a low playoff seed and the right to be slaughtered by the East’s elite. Instead, they seized the opportunity to pilfer several first round picks from Brooklyn and jump started the rebuilding process. It’s not pretty, but the Celts do have two first round picks in four of the next five seasons, including the right to swap with Brooklyn in 2017*. They put the cherry on top by hiring promising young coach Brad Stevens, of Butler prominence. Seems like a very logical choice for a young team starting a lengthy rebuild.

Grade: 

*- If Boston’s gamble pays off, the Nets could win a title and still be horrible in 2017.

Brooklyn Nets

2012-13 record: 49-33 (4th)

Biggest departures: Gerald Wallace

Biggest arrivals: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Kidd (head coach)

Analysis: Has there ever been an off-season with bigger splashes from one team? The Nets surprised a lot of people by hiring the retired-as-recently-as-ten-days-ago Jason Kidd as the new head coach, which was interesting until they pulled the trigger on the aforementioned trade with Boston. Brooklyn got a lot better this off-season. They kept every key contributor from last season’s 49 win team and added two former superstars who can still contribute a lot. Furthermore, a team derided by many as gutless or heartless added two of the fiercest competitors in league history. The last piece of the puzzle for Brooklyn was signing Kirilenko for $3.1 million*. I’m all about AK47, you guys. He does just about everything you need on both sides of the floor, and he’ll help glue Brooklyn’s puzzle together. They’re a legit title threat and possibly the second best team in the East.

Grade: A

*-and $5 million in Russian whores from owner Mikhail Prokhorov

Charlotte Bobcats

2012-13 record: 21-61 (14th)

Biggest departures: Tyrus Thomas

Biggest arrivals: Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller*

Analysis: Insert joke about Michael Jordan being the worst owner in the league. Not really much else to say; the Bobcats continue to make no sense. They amnestied Tyrus Thomas, which is cute, but signed defensive black hole Al Jefferson to a three year, $43 million contract. Not exactly a logical signing for a young rebuilding team that should learn how to play the right way. The most curious ‘cats move of all, though, came on draft night. After a wild first four picks that saw dark, dark horse candidate Anthony Bennett go #1 overall, Charlotte passed on top prospects Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore for Cody Zeller, the soft big man from Indiana. Ever notice how “soft big man” never sounds good? Let’s just say I don’t envision Cody Zeller bringing the Bobcats to prominence….

Grade: D+

*- LOL

Chicago Bulls

2012-13 record: 45-37 (5th)

Biggest departures: Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, Ron Adams

Biggest arrivals: Mike Dunleavy Jr., Kinda Derrick Rose

Analysis: The Bulls have been pretty quiet this summer, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be optimistic about next season. Primarily, Tom Thibodeau has declared Derrick Rose to be “back”. I probably don’t have to explain too much how the (presumably) healthy return of a 24-year-old MVP point guard helps the Bulls*. Aside from that bonerific topic, the Bulls did great by signing Dunleavy to a two year, $6 million deal–especially considering that he confirmed turning down offers for more money and years because he longed to play for a contender and admired Rose**. Dunleavy’s sweet shooting will fit perfectly into the Bulls’ shooter sets and he’ll give a strong effort learning Thibodeau’s proven defensive system. However, Joakim Noah started to break down last season without a true back-up, and so far the Bulls have done nothing to address that. Besides that, only time will tell how Chicago’s two draft picks turn out. Strapped by the luxury tax and diving deeper into it after the franchise’s first tax bill this past season, fans should be excited that the Bulls are willing to pay a lot to field a team capable of beating anyone in a seven game series.

Grade: B

*-!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

**-for any conspiracy theorists saying Rose will miss more games to start the season, Dunleavy and Rose share the same agency.

Cleveland Cavaliers

2012-13 record: 24-58 (13th)

Biggest departures: none

Biggest arrivals: Andrew Bynum, Anthony Bennett

Analysis: The Cavs made two BIG splashes already. First, they surprised just about everyone by choosing Bennett first overall rather than Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladipo or another. Bennett is widely considered to be ready to contribute to an NBA offense, but not ready at all to defend. If he can improve on that end, Cleveland would be thrilled. However, the team shook things up greatly by agreeing to a complicated two year deal that only guarantees $6 million but can be worth up to $24 million (there’s a team option). If Bynum is healthy, Cleveland is a young playoff team with maximum salary cap flexibility for the 2014 LeBron sweepstakes*. Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Bennett and the gang learn winning basketball. Yay. However, if Bynum can’t get or stay on the court, Cleveland will be pretty bad again. The core is injury riddled (Irving, Waiters and Varejao have all missed a lot of time) and Bennett is a 3-4 tweener that may never fit their personnel. The Cavs took a home run swing, and as a small market team struggling to recover from the last superstar it lost, why the FUCK not?

Grade: A-

*-they have no chance, in my opinion. You, led by the owner, ostracize and tear down a 26-year-old man and expect him to crawl back a few years later? No way. That’s without even mentioning that the franchise is LOCATED IN CLEVELAND, OHIO!!

Detroit Pistons

2012-13 record: 29-53 (11th)

Biggest departures: none

Biggest arrivals: Josh Smith, Chauncey Billups

Analysis: Joe Dumars armed with a lot of cap space is both a beautiful sight to behold and an undoubtedly bloody one. Just ask my close friend and Detroit fan @ribevan. The Pistons threw Smith a big contract and he said “fuck it! Let’s play in Detroit. It’s a truly emerging economy!”* Now that I’m done senselessly bashing Detroit and their filthy citizens*, we can look at how the Pistons will shape up next season. They’ll definitely be a big team, with natural power forward Smith playing the three and talented big man Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond behind him. The addition of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Chauncey Billups should help spread the floor with shooting, but it’s still going to be ugly most nights on offense–that’s just the way of J-Smith. I don’t hate what the Pistons are doing, I just don’t know if Smith’s the right piece to build around. Drummond has been lighting the summer league on fire and Monroe and Brandon Knight are promising. This team could sneak in the playoffs, but it’s hard to see a blueprint to building a championship contender with the current core. Regardless, fans have a lot more reason to be excited now than they have in any of the seasons since the 2004 title team was dismantled.

Grade: C+

*-DRAMATIZATION

**-sorry. Last one I swear.

 

PART II OF THE EASTERN CONFERENCE GRADES WILL RUN THIS WEEKEND

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Counting of the Omer

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Omer Asik is not happy about the Dwight Howard signing

So now that you’ve read my take on Dwight going to Houston, I assume you’re left with the same question on your mind that I am: What are the Rockets going to do with Omer Asik? Before we can attempt to answer that question it is important to analyze the type of asset that Houston has on their hands.

Last season, Asik’s first as a full time starter after spending the first two years of his NBA career backing up Joakim Noah, was a productive one for the 27 year old center. Asik led his team in rebounding at 11.7 boards per game. He also averaged double digit points, although just barely, putting up 10.1 ppg. But with Asik, the raw numbers do not tell the full story. It is important to look at how the Rockets played as a team with and without Omer to fully take stock of his value.

According to 82games.com, with Asik on the floor last season the Rockets allowed 105 points/100 possessions. While this is by no means a superb mark, it is a respectable one that, supplemented with a high octane offense, is good enough to be competitive in the West. With Asik off the floor? Houston surrendered a gaudy 111.4 points/100 possessions. That’s a number that would have ranked dead last in the entire league last season. So with Asik, you’re getting a player who can potentially make the league’s worst defensive unit an average one. That’s pretty impressive. It also makes me want to renounce my Bulls fandom just like the Bulls renounced Omer, but that’s neither here nor there.

So what will the Rockets do with Asik, who clearly is not interested in backing up Howard? The obvious option, despite claims from the Houston front office, is to trade him. Obviously Houston is saying they are going to keep Asik in order to keep his trade value as high as possible, but I believe they will be looking to move him sooner rather than later. The potential return for Asik, who’s services are no longer needed, is too great.

Teams know that a defensive player of this caliber rarely comes on the market and are likely lining up for a chance to grab the Turkish big man who is on a very fair contract that expires in two years. But which teams? Glad you asked.

(Before we start, I want to point out that Asik looks like what would happen is Judge Reinhold was in a nuclear waste accident)

Rockets trade Omer Asik to the Pelicans and the Pelicans send Ryan Anderson back to Houston.

This is really a win-win for everyone. First off, the two players have almost identical salaries, making a straight up swap easy for those of us kinda sorta new to the NBA trade machine. For Houston, Anderson is the perfect stretch 4 to make their offense as fearsome as possible. Anderson allows Chandler Parsons to play more small forward, his natural position, and has already had successful seasons playing alongside Howard. For the Pelicans, they get to trot out Asik and Anthony Davis every night, and that’s potentially awesome.

Rockets trade Omer Asik to the Mavericks. Mavericks send Vince Carter and Jae Crowder to Houston

The Mavericks and Marc Cuban know that Dirk’s window is fast closing, and I believe they will make an aggressive move to vaunt themselves back into the West discussion. With Dirk missing a good chunk of last season, the Mavs spent the second half struggling to get back to .500. It was not so long ago that Dirk and another defense first center carried a not-that-great supporting cast to a finals victory of the Miami Heat. This trade allows Cuban to try and recreate the formula, a sort of mulligan on his decision to let Chandler walk after their championship run.

This deal is good for Houston as you get some veteran leadership in Vince Carter on a team where the oldest player is Dwight Howard. Having D12 be your veteran leader is perhaps not a great move. And Vince can still play a little bit. With Crowder, the potential upside is there. And while Dallas thinks he can develop into something useful, they should be prepared to part with him as his best days will likely come long after Dirk’s.

Rockets trade Omer Asik to LAC. Clippers send Deandre Jordan to the Celtics and Jamal Crawford to Houston. Celtics send Gerald Wallace to LAC and Courtney Lee to Houston

Ok this is one kind of crazy and I’m not totally sure it’s legal because Wallace hasn’t been updated as being on Boston in the trade machine yet. But I like this potential three teamer because it allows all three teams to take a step in the right direction. For Houston, you’re getting a dynamic scorer in Crawford who can come off the bench or even play with Lin and Harden. You’re also bringing back Courtney Lee, who might suck, but he can kind of play defense and no one else on this team can besides Howard.

For the Clips, you don’t have to deal with Deandre Jordan and all of his shit. You also can afford to lose Crawford now that you’ve got Dudley and Redick. You get a premier defender in Asik and a guy who might have a little juice left in the tank, albeit on a terrible contract in Gerald Wallace.

For Boston, its an opportunity to suck as much as possible and be a little more financially flexible. You ship out the fucking atrocious Gerald Wallace contract and the bad-but-not-that-bad contract of Courtney Lee. You bring on Jordan, who only has two years left on his deal (Wallace has three), and add a center to a roster that doesn’t really have one, even though he’s sure to have all of his flaws badly exposed on a really shitty Celtics team, which is ultimately good for Boston cause Wiggins and stuff.

Rockets don’t do anything

This scenario is no fun but it makes sense. Dwight may not be 2009 Dwight anymore. Last year shoulder and back injuries severely limited his effectiveness. It never hurts to have great depth at center.

The Rockets could also toy with putting both of them on the floor together. While this may cramp their spacing a little bit on offense, it would be potentially the best defensive combination on the league.

Buy em, Sell em, or Hold em: Celts, 76ers, Raptors

Steven Kerstein

Hey Guys,

It’s lunch-time (well it was lunch-time) on Wall Street and I’m sick of doing property tax appeals.  Since we’ve last talked, not much has changed.  Aaron Hernandez is hopefully enjoying prison and the Sox still suck.  (Note: this was written before last week’s draft and has been modified with all the craziness that ensued. Hence, the bold.)

Rather than scan the White Sox message boards, I figure that I’ll give you my two cents regarding the future outlooks for the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors.

Boston Celtics: Hold, now HOLD

While you might say that the Celtics should be a strong sell with rebuilding on the horizon, I wouldn’t be so fast to bet against the organization.  In the world of the NBA, it is better to be terrible than be average.  Just ask the Houston Rockets.  I think that the Celtics are light-years ahead of the Knicks in terms of understanding this process. With the impending trade of KG, Pierce and Terry to Brooklyn, the Celtics will hardly resemble their usual selves. While the 2013-2014 campaign must be a disappointing one for Boston, management is taking the right steps in revitalizing the organization.  Why I’m hesitant to buy for the long-haul: They might hire Vinny Del Negro.

Philadelphia 76ers: Sell, now BUY

Over the past 3-5 years, the Sixers have been an interesting story.  After drafting Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, it looked as though the franchise was setting itself up to be an up-and-coming squad in a weak Eastern Conference.  Then the team dealt for Iggy and pieces for Bynum.  When healthy, Andrew Bynum is as good as it gets down low.  The problem was Bynum couldn’t find the court in his brief tenure with Philly.  Suddenly, the franchise is at another crossroads.  While Holiday has emerged as a borderline star in the league, Turner hasn’t panned out according to expectations.  This team should probably be in full-out rebuild mode but doesn’t necessarily believe it just yet. I see considerable downside here. Short comfortably.  I think I just wrote about the White Sox. Oh Dear.

Listening to my advice, Sixers Management obliterated the roster up by dealing their only good player (Holiday) for Nerlens Noel.  This move serves two purposes.  1- Philly drafted the most talented player (according to analytics) in this year’s draft. 2- Ensured that they’ll be terrible next season to get a chance at Andrew Wiggins. 

Coupled with drafting Michael Carter Williams, the Sixers actually did a great job cutting the crap.

Toronto Raptors: Buy, now BUY

Let me preface this advice by saying this is my speculative, long-term hold.  Six years ago, the franchise looked to be turning a corner by winning their first division title.  Led by THE prototype of all raptors, Chris Bosh, Toronto looked to be destined as a playoff lock in the Eastern Conference for years to come.  Needless to say, shit hit the fan.  Bosh walked and joined the fools in Miami and the Raptors were stuck with Andrea Bargnani as the foundation of their franchise.  Uh oh.  But things have seemingly turned around lately. The collection of Rudy Gay, Demar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross might work.  Add in the fact that ownership pried Masai Ujiri away from Denver and something might be brewing north of the border.  Somebody’s got to have long-term success in this division… UPDATE: They’re getting rid of Barg! My buy recommendation last week still remains intact.

What the F@$# is up with the Celts and Clips? A Textversation

Here at DRaT, we often have group text threads that Stavi doesn’t feel inclined to participate in. What follows is a (slightly edited) transcript of said textversation.

Geo: Rondo + Deandre = bad news. Free throw/shooting is just too poor.

Bicky: Deandre has a terrible contract

Weiner: This clearly benefits Boston. KG is expensive as fuck too and Rivers was leaving. Free picks and they’ll probably unload some bad contracts (terry/lee). If they snag Bledsoe it’s an obvious coup.

Bicky: Don’t think he’s on the table.

Geo: Bledsoe’s a freak but I wouldn’t want him running my squad.

Weiner: Rondo would be the PG. Celts could experiment with Bledsoe’s role or trade him immediately.

Bicky: Listened to a Simmons podcast. He said he thinks the Celts might make a run at JSMOOV

Weiner: LOL RONDO AND JSMOOVE CLANKING JUMPERS

Bicky: ya kinda makes sense why doc wants to get the fuck out.

Geo: I’m gonna miss this Celtics squad. But the Clips will be interesting if the trade goes through.

Weiner: definitely contenders. They could get PP too.

Bicky: CP-(?)-pierce-Blake-KG with a coach who calls plays

Geo: And Crawford!

Weiner: sounds elite to me!

Geo: KG will teach Blake some shit too. That’s a scary team wow.

Bicky: Only thing stopping it is if Clips front office thinks they can get Dwight in a S/T for Blake and Butler or something.

Geo: You guys high on Blake?

Weiner: I think so Geo. Never had a real coach.

Bicky: Kinda weird him and CP don’t get along great though. I know a good coach fixes that, but gotta be a red flag.

Geo: VDN not a real coach? LOL. I like Blake too. Would like to see him work hard for a summer and become more polished. Easier said than done obviously. And I agree Bick. I wonder what the deal is with that. Blake needs to start playing more mad and fuck people up.

Weiner: It’s more of a red flag for CP3. He’s no more of a playoff winner than melo!!

Geo: CALL OUT!