Thursday, September 28, 2006

Celtics Roster: Pierce through West

Paul Pierce: Guard/Forward, #34 - I have a pretty in depth look at Pierce's career coming out Wednesday. So in the meantime let’s just reflect on the awesomeness that is Shaq giving him the nickname “The Truth.” That’s right up there with 4 straight 2000-point seasons in my book.

Kevin Pittsnoggle: Center, #51 - In August the Boston Globe reported that Pittsnogle received some “walking around money” from the Celtics for the summer. The amount? $50,000. I love the NBA. As a side note “walking around money” fits well with my aforementioned groupie plans. Pittsnogle is either regretting getting married in college or he’s very…um…let’s just move on.

Leon Powe: Foward, #0 - According to Aran Smith of, Powe entered Cal as one of the top 5 prospects in the country. He’s considered a warrior with a big heart. Additionally Smith has only had two major reconstructive knee surgeries and not three, which I originally thought. Sweet. You see what I did there? Research and sarcasm.

After making that joke I came across a bunch of articles like this one from Boston Celtics blog:
Leon Powe Does Not Mess Around

I didn’t scrap the joke but I’m rooting for Powe. And at least his money is guaranteed. How about the other stories getting the most play over the last month or so?

5. Ratliff is going to mentor Big Al and Perk.
4. Big Al and Perk will be ready for training camp.
3. Wally’s knee will be fine/Wally's knee will not be fine
2. Rondo takes a million shots a day.
1. Telfair is happy to be a Celtic and ready for a fresh start

Theo Ratlif: Forward/Center, #50 - Positives: Quickness, athleticism, leaping, shot blocking.

Negatives: Takes forever to come back from lingering injuries (thankfully he’s on a team the Boston media doesn’t really care about), not a big scorer.

Analysis: In the words of Bill Parcells, “You are what you are.” Ratliff will be limited on offense, play some good defense and not appear in all 82 games.

Allan Ray: Guard, #12 - Positives: stellar college career, showed toughness last spring by fighting through an eye injury from the Big East tournament, could develop into a scoring role player.

The negatives: Was not drafted, some concern that his size and strength, or lack thereof, will make him a liability, going to cause a great deal of confusion amongst middle aged people based solely on the fact that his name is the inverse, at least when spoken, of an accomplished superstar.

Analysis: Sometimes I wonder if, as the Boston Celtics GM, it’s better to role the dice with a Big East guy. If he does not work out emotional ties will mute some of the criticism. Of course this theory is moot with high draft picks, marquee free agents and if one of Leo Papile’s guys needs some “walking around money.”

Rajon Rondo: Point Guard, #9 Danny Ainge, scouts, your mom, everyone raves about this guy. Apparently he had some great workouts and tore it up in the summer league. On the flip side he may or may not be able to shoot. So I’ll get back to you once I get that figured out.

Brian Scalabrine: Power Forward, #44 - Epic backhanded compliment by the announcer at the end of the following clip. In fact it’s not even a compliment. Pretty much sums up the Brian Scalabrine era for me: Scalabrine to Vince. Also, is it just me or is that dunk not as impressive as Vince or the announcers would have you believe? I mean it's not this. By the way, throwing an ally oop off the backboard is similar to someone scoring 81 points against a team I'm playing on. I'm not saying it can't happen. I'm just saying I will either foul out or get ejected. But that's just me.

Wally Szczerbiak: Guard/Forward, #55 - I would feel a lot better if Wally was as good as he thinks he is. Also it takes a year to come back from knee surgery. So the jury is still out. On a personal note Wally seems destined to be the kind of guy who says all the right things and yet I inexplicably don’t like him. I am convinced he could have been the most hated college intramural basketball player of all time. Alas, he was good enough to make it.

Sebastian Telfair: Point Guard, #30 - The cynical part of me points to his height, weak jump shot, and weapons arrest. Furthermore, one would think the youngest team in the league in 2005/2006 would be looking for a little more experience. Having said all that I am excited for the Sebastian Telfair era. I’m even going to watch “Through the Fire". Hopefully it explains when girls began trying to have Telfair's baby. I'm guessing well before the shoe contract. "Don't worry I'm on the pill..."

Delonte West: Guard, #13 - Delonte West is a basketball player. His hustle and basketball IQ make him the only guy on the roster who can challenge Pierce for the lead in Tommy Points. Although Heinsohn LOVES Pierce to the point that it makes me uncomfortable. But back to West. His value is clearer than the other young guys. He just needs to stay healthy. So it’s disheartening to learn that his lower back is causing problems as camp approaches. I'm going to treat his back like Al's ankle, Wally's knee, Ratlif's body, Rondo's shot, Gerald's defense, Pierce's elbow, Kendrick's shoulder, the Telfair experience, Scalabrine's physical conditioning/game and every other question mark on this team. Wait and see.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Celtics Roster: Allen through Perkins

Tony Allen: Guard, #42 – Tony Allen’s lost sophomore campaign, though not as depressing for me as Big Al’s step back last year, was disappointing. I will always be a fan of a guy who works hard on defense and dunks whenever he can. But I do have a couple of concerns with Allen:

1. I’m not sure if all those put back dunks his rookie season blinded me to the fact that he might not belong in an NBA rotation just yet. However, you can’t blame me if you watch the following clip. I call it
Weak Side Rebound Yo!

2. His assault case was delayed to the point that it will take place this season. Although it worked for Kobe. So maybe Allen’s game will rise to new heights. Of course Kobe does not have a soul. No really he does not: Smoking Gun

Notice how the fact that Allen is facing assault charges was not a concern for me. The trial yes, but not the act itself. Not sure what this means.

Ryan Gomes: Foward, #4 - Young, inexperienced, but he plays hard and has a basketball IQ. Word is he lost weight over the summer (which seems to be a common theme) to potentially be a small forward/power forward hybrid. But most importantly Gomes’ mere existence led to one of the greatest sound bytes of all time: Frustrated Calhoun. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

Brian Grant: Foward/Center, #55 - I remember channel surfing one night, checking out a Lakers’ game, and being speechless when I saw Grant hanging out in the paint. That was two seasons ago. Thankfully Danny Ainge cleared the air in August by simply saying, “He has not been officially released; he's still on our roster but he's not going to play with us this year."

Gerald Green: Foward, #5 - In reading reactions to the Vegas Summer League it was clear that some scouts lowered Green’s ceiling. But he’s tall, athletic and will not turn 21 until mid January. Let’s all relax. And as Tommy Heinsohn says, “He's one of these kinds of guys that if you put a dollar up there he'll snatch the dollar off the top of the backboard and leave change, because that's how long he hangs in the air.” Enjoy the maniacal laughter too: Jerome James Poster

Orien Green: Guard, #0 - Okay he was waived on June 30th. Indulge me. I still can’t fathom how he appeared in 80 games last year and averaged 15 minutes. Although he was third on the team in steals (77). Regardless, there are two things I would not do as a borderline NBA player:

1. Wear #0. Why be a punch line?
2. Get arrested.

What would I do? Ride the groupie train as long as possible. Of course I would also hire a financial planner and invest my money…in groupies.

Al Jefferson: Forward, #7 - In the past year Jefferson was borderline vilified for his struggles on defense, failure to dominate summer league and ankle problems that eventually required surgery. At 21 I engaged in eating contests at Chinese buffets and then ate Hostess snacks afterwards to prove a point to my vanquished foes. As you can imagine I have patience with Big Al. Granted everyone is concerned with wasting Pierce’s prime, but young guys take time. Compare Big Al’s first two years to Jermaine O’Neal’s:



It is important to note that O'Neal was not playing as many minutes. And while I can only hope that Al develops into a similar player, I fully expect him to do this at some point: Haymaker

One more point on Jefferson. Having completely missed the “Live Strong” inspired wristband phenomenon I almost broke down and bought a “Big Al” wristband. But I could not bring myself to do it. I was reminded of Dwayne Wade's response to a reporter's question about whether or not he missed Shaq from earlier this summer, "As a grown man, I never say I miss another grown man." Now if Jefferson averages 20 and 10 I would be willing to reconsider.

Dwayne Jones: Foward/Center, #27 - I know two facts about Dwayne Jones. He played his college ball with Delonte. And he came over to the Celtics with Szczerbiak. Given the latter, Jones should use the following mantra with coaches, management, media, fans, etc:

I helped get rid of Mark Blount.
I helped get rid of Mark Blount.
I helped get rid of Mark Blount.
I helped get rid of Mark Blount.
I helped get rid of Mark Blount.
I helped get rid of Mark Blount.

Michael Olowakandi: Center, #41 - Olowakandi is a free agent, he's terrible and Celtics are bringing 5oo players to camp. I think it's safe to say that the picture to the right is the closest we'll come to seeing him in a Celtics’ uniform ever again. To be honest I was hoping to channel some Bill Walton style negativity but it just isn’t happening. Why? When it’s all said and done Olowakandi also helped get rid of Mark Blount. So how about a good Bill Walton anecdote instead?

Phone conversation from the summer of 1985:

“This is Bill Walton of the Los Angeles Clippers. I would like to play for your team. I think I can help.” – Bill Walton

“It’s Bill Walton. He wants to come here.” – Red Auerbach .

“Got get him.” – Larry Bird.

What are the odds of Auerbach and Bird being in the same room when Bill Walton decided to call? And did Red answer his own phone? There are some really unimportant people out there who never raised sixteen banners and still have secretaries. Of course if Red did have a secretary she would either be really old to the point that everyone was afraid she would die on the job. Or she would be the stereotypical young fox. And Red would smoke cigars and call her "Sweetheart", "Doll", "Sunshine" and so on. And no one would be uncomfortable with this. Where was I?

Kendrick Perkins: Center, #43 - I have to admit that I’m a little concerned that, like Big Al, Perkins is entering the season after a recent surgery. But I'll hold on to my optimism for another week or so. Meanwhile, enough time has passed that we can compare the Celtics acquiring Marcus Banks AND Perkins for Troy Bell and Dahntay Jones to the trade that brought Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish to town. Does anyone else think those deals are eerily similar? Actually they have nothing in common. But maybe, just maybe a Golden State Warriors fan will read this and it will ruin his whole day.

Coming Monday: Pierce through West.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Welcome to Celtics Bandwagon

I've got my Celtics/Cavaliers pre-season tickets, my Through the Fire DVD and a level of optimism that can only mean one thing: next year is finally imminent. In the coming days I will post my roster analysis for the coming season. In the meantime I leave you with this:

“So we’re on the bus to practice later and I told him I didn’t think he looked so good. I’m teasing him the whole time and he got so mad we almost got into a fight in practice. He actually took a swing at me. I said, 'Whoa, Scotty, I’m just kidding. But no more meat for you. It turns you into a killer.'" – Kevin McHale recalling an incident after having lunch with Scott Wedman (a vegetarian) where their meals were mixed up. Wedman ate half a chicken burrito before he realized, to his horror, what occurred.