Ainge on offseason, goals, Stevens

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
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Danny Ainge's comments on Rajon Rondo during an appearance on Sunday in Worcester will draw headlines, but Boston's president of basketball operations offered insight on other aspects of his team. A few that jumped out:

No fireworks, but nothing silly: Ainge admitted the team didn't produce the much-ballyhooed "fireworks" that owner Wyc Grousbeck suggested might be possible, but expressed optimism about the future, including the team's two draft picks, Marcus Smart and James Young. "It wasn't the fireworks that we tried and we continue to try to do [them], but we're excited about Marcus and his future and James Young and his future," Ainge told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. "We need to be more patient with James, especially out of the gate. I think Marcus is more physically ready to play at our level than James is today, but we hope for fast progress from James. I felt like we acquired some assets. We didn't panic and do anything that was silly."

Limiting the goals: Ainge said he'll let his players determine the expectations for what's expected to be another rebuilding season. "I don't think our team is in contention for a championship," Ainge told the T&G. "We are a young team and we're in the development stages." He added: "It's hard for me to put goals on our team. I want to hear what they want to do. I want to hear what their goals are and what they believe they can accomplish this year."

More praise for Stevens: Ainge likes to joke that he'd give coach Brad Stevens a six-year extension if he asked. He offered more praise on Sunday. "Our coach is spectacular," Ainge told the T&G. "He is a fierce competitor. He is a tireless worker. You hear this word thrown around a lot. I've spent a lot of time thinking about character, but he is a man of great integrity. I'm a huge, huge fan."

[Read full story in Telegram & Gazette]

Ainge: We'd love to keep Rondo with C's

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
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Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Sunday that the possibility of trading point guard Rajon Rondo is "not out of the question" given his impending free-agent status next summer, but reaffirmed that the team would "love to keep him in Boston."

Answering questions during an appearance at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Worcester, Ainge maintained his often-repeated stance that he desires to keep Rondo in Boston, but is uncertain exactly how the team will proceed with the All-Star point guard desiring to explore unrestricted free agency next summer.

"The truthful answer is I really don't know," Ainge said of Rondo's future, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "I have no intention [of trading Rondo]. I'm not trying to trade Rondo, but because he's a free agent this summer, he assured me that he wants to stay in Boston. We'd love to keep him in Boston."

Added Ainge: "The possibility of a trade is not out of the question. Nobody is untradeable, but I don't see that happening."

Ainge has said repeatedly that he expects Rondo to have the best season of his career further removed from the ACL surgery that limited him to 68 games over the past two seasons. Rondo is set to earn a team-high $12.9 million in the final year of five-year extension he inked in October of 2009.

Rondo's name has swirled nonstop in trade rumors throughout his career, but Ainge has maintained that the only time he's come close to dealing Rondo was in a failed pursuit of Chris Paul.

"I love Rondo," Ainge told the T&G. "He's a fun kid to be around. I've seen a lot of growth in him as a person and maturity through the years."

[Read full story in Telegram & Gazette]

Insider: C's will rack up mileage

September, 20, 2014
Sep 20
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ESPN.com IllustrationThe Celtics have the worst four-in-five stretch of the 2014-15 season.
The Boston Celtics will be tops in the league in one category this season: The longest distance traveled as part of a four-game-in-five-night stretch. From Insider's Tom Haberstroh:
After analyzing the travel distances of every game this season, I discovered that the Boston Celtics effectively pulled the short straw and will have the longest 4-in-5 trip, covering more than 3,000 miles from Portland to Denver to San Francisco to Salt Lake City. Four games in four cities with only one built-in travel day. It gets worse: You'll notice that each of the second games on the back-to-backs will be played at high altitudes, where the air is thinner and the lungs are screaming. Oh, and they'll be losing an hour of sleep on both overnight trips due to time-zone differences. The Celtics will need all the four-leaf clovers they can find.

If the Celtics struggle as much as many expect in year 2 of this rebuild, then late January could be an especially grueling grind.

[Read full story Insider]

Green: Trying to take next step as leader

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
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BOSTON -- When Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green was asked about some extended summer stubble dangling from his chin, team president Rich Gotham playfully interjected that he must be going for a "Bill Russell look."

Chris Forsberg/ESPN BostonCeltics team president Rich Gotham, Jeff Green and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at an education event in Mattapan.
Green, who returned to the area this week to start ramping up toward the start of Celtics training camp later this month, joined Gotham and U.S. Secretary of Education (and hoops junkie) Arne Duncan for an event to support the My Brother’s Keeper initiative in Mattapan. Green added to his Russell look by wearing the latter's familiar blue button-down shirt and blazer, but when the conversation shifted to basketball, it steered more toward the current rebuild than the Russell-hung banners that served as Green's backdrop as he fielded questions.

"You can't really put a timetable on the rebuilding process," said Green. "As long as you continue to get better each day -- going to practice and just get better -- that’s what it’s going to take for us to get better as a team and to increase wins. I think we ended the season well and this whole summer each guy took it upon themselves to get better, which is going to make our team better."

What did Green focus on during the offseason?

"Just get better as a player, all around," he said. "I don’t have one or two things that I focused on completely throughout the whole summer. I think it was more just becoming a better all-around player and trying to take the next step to becoming a leader on this team."

The 28-year-old Green is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 16.9 points over 34.2 minutes per game. But despite welcoming the bull's-eye that landed on him with Rajon Rondo sidelined for the start of last season, Green never quite flourished as the sort of go-to presence that many hoped he might develop into (particularly after a strong playoff showing to close the 2012-13 season).

Green expressed optimism about what a healthy Rondo can add to a young Celtics core this season ("With him being 100 percent healthy, I think he’ll make our team just that much better," said Green) but the question remains whether the advancements of Rondo's supporting cast, and Green in particular, can help Boston take the next step in its rebuild.

On this night, the conversation at the Mildred Avenue School leaned heavier on education than hoops. While recovering from heart surgery that paused his basketball career, Green went back and finished his degree at Georgetown in 2012. This past summer, he made a $1 million donation to the school (which was matched by the Indiana Pacers' Roy Hibbert, while Patrick Ewing and agent David Falk pledged an additional $3.3 million toward the construction of an on-campus facility that will bear the name of Hoyas coaching legend John Thompson Jr.).

"Georgetown has done a lot for me in so many ways," said Green. "They gave me a great education. They gave me an opportunity to play basketball at a high level. And with the personnel that’s around that school, Big John [Thompson Jr.], the professors, my coach, [John Thompson III], they also made me a better person. I owe a lot to them for getting me to where I’m at, so it was a no-brainer for me to just give back in order to help build a new facility in John Thompson Jr.’s name. He’s done so much for that school, I think he’s really deserving of it. I think it’s going to be great for the school in the long run."

With a focus on Thursday's education event, Green added: "[Kids] look up to NBA players and to put our story out there about how we got to where we are and how education got us to the point we are now, I think it’s big for these kids to hear. I think that’s why we are out here, spreading the word, that education is very important. And it should come first."

A few more notes and quotes from Green's brief Q&A with reporters:

Meeting the new guys: Green said he's spent time this week meeting the newest faces on the team, including rookies Marcus Smart and James Young. "I’ve had a lot of time to talk to the guys, get to know them off the court, but also work out with them, get to know them on the court," said Green. "We’ve become close through the last couple days that I’ve been here. And they’ve been here for a long time. They’ve been working hard to get ready for this upcoming season."

Beard Inspiration: Russell > Harden: Given the option of picking Russell or former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate James Harden for his beard inspiration, Green joked, "I would go with Bill Russell before James Harden. It’s something that just grew; I wasn’t planning it. Just a different look, nothing big."

Players in the community: Gotham was asked about having the Celtics players involved in community activities, whether it's Green at the education event or newcomer Tyler Zeller at a food bank in Lowell earlier this week. "It’s really important," said Gotham. "The kids look up to the players. To have guys like Tyler, like Jeff today, this is their offseason. They are not under any obligation to do this kind of stuff, yet they value their role as a mentor to these kids and they know they make a positive difference by just spending time with them. Just the simple act of showing that they are willing to spend their time, that sends a great message to these kids, that someone’s caring about them, someone is thinking about them. We’re lucky, we have a great crew of guys who are able to not only make that statement, but also set an example like Jeff going back and getting his diploma at Georgetown, the importance of education."
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Jeff Green

Pressey family on opposite sides of rivalry

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
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New Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott formally filled out his staff on Tuesday, bringing former Boston Celtics assistant Paul Pressey on board as an assistant.

Pressey, who served on Doc Rivers' staff in Boston, has worked with Scott during his previous stops in Cleveland and New Orleans. The catch here? Pressey's son, Phil, is currently a backup point guard with the Celtics, putting father and son on opposite sides of the league's most storied rivalry.

The two annual meetings will mean a little extra for the Presseys. Phil retweeted a note that joked, "this means war."

Zeller eager to earn starting center role

September, 16, 2014
Sep 16
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LOWELL, Mass. -- Four days before his July wedding, Tyler Zeller learned that he had been traded to the Boston Celtics. He phoned his wife-to-be, Caitlyn, who was too busy preparing for the big day to answer her phone.

Chris Forsberg/ESPN BostonTyler Zeller delivers a donation from the Celtics to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank.
"She was getting her hair done -- a practice 'do or whatever -- and her mom picked up. I was like, ‘I need to talk to my fiancÚ,’" explained Zeller. "[His mother-in-law] was like, ‘OK, she’ll call you when she gets done.’ I was like, ‘No, no, no, I kinda need to talk to her now.’ [The conversation] went well, she took it very well and she was very excited to be here."

The Zeller family visited the Merrimack Valley Food Bank to help sort and distribute goods on Tuesday afternoon. Zeller also met with Boston reporters for the first time since the July swap that saw Boston bring him on, along with Marcus Thornton, as part of a three-way trade in which the team utilized a hefty trade exception.

With two months to process the change of address, Zeller expressed excitement to be with the Celtics. In fact, he used the word "excited" nine times during a nine-minute Q&A with reporters, particularly when referencing a partnership with head coach Brad Stevens.

"I know Coach Stevens is a very intelligent basketball coach; his basketball IQ is kinda off the charts, so I’m very excited," said Zeller. "And working him the past few weeks, everything has been very exciting, just to see his basketball knowledge and just how detailed he is."

The 24-year-old Zeller -- the middle of three NBA-playing Zeller brothers -- is familiar with Stevens after the former Butler helmsman recruited his siblings. Stevens has previously admitted he never really had a shot at Tyler, who landed at the University of North Carolina.

"He didn’t recruit me as heavily, but he recruited my older brother, Luke, very heavily, so I kinda got to know him through that," said Zeller. "I’m just very excited because of his basketball IQ and how brilliant of a coach he is. I know Gordon Hayward, who played for him, and he was always excited about his basketball IQ."

Zeller doesn't remember the first time he crossed paths with Stevens and jokes that, "I actually wasn’t very good at basketball at that point in time."

He's gotten decidedly better, emerging as the 17th pick in the 2012 draft. Now Stevens is hoping to maximize that potential in Boston, where a roster lacking pure size ought to give Zeller every opportunity to earn heavy minutes at the center position.

But Zeller isn't taking the starting spot for granted.

"I think [starting at center is] my goal this year," said Zeller. "I have a lot of work to do to earn that spot. I expect to have to earn it. But I think it is a great opportunity."

The first step in that process was bulking up this offseason. Zeller, who played at around 250 pounds in Cleveland last year, said he has added about 10 to 15 pounds with a desire to increase his ability to joust among the league's giants.

"I feel like I’m doing well," said Zeller. "I felt like last year I played a little underweight and if I gained 10-15 pounds, I’d be able to hold my own a lot better down there. I was able to do that, and hopefully I can continue to get better and better. I hope that will help me hold my own, rebounding-wise, as well as in the post."

Zeller is hoping to find a balance between adding bulk and maintaing an ability to run the floor. He's hoping to fuel an up-tempo offense by rebounding and pushing the pace.

Read on for other notes and quotes from his Q&A:

(Read full post)

Stevens: Rondo 'a big part' of future

September, 16, 2014
Sep 16
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Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Rajon Rondo is "a big part of what we're doing" and heaped praise on the All-Star point guard whose future has been the source of constant speculation as he enters the final year of his contract.

"I love him," Stevens told the Berkshire Eagle while taking in a women's soccer match at Williams College, where his cousin, Alex McInturf, plays for the Ephs. "I really think he's a big part of what we're doing. Hopefully, he can have a great year right from the get-go. I thought last year was tough from the standpoint that he never did have a chance to do any drill work or to rebuild habits. He just had to be thrown into the fire."

Added Stevens: "[Rondo has] been great. He's been very active. He's been in and around Boston most of the summer. He just got back from a trip to China. He was back mid-last week. He's been in the weight room and been around every day."

Stevens also offers some insight on the offseason, rookies Marcus Smart and James Young and being more comfortable in Year 2 of coaching in the NBA.

Read the full story from the Berkshire Eagle.

(h/t: Red's Army)

#NBARank: Babb + Bogans at tail end

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
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Boston Celtics guards Chris Babb (No. 499) and Keith Bogans (462) are among those at the tail end of ESPN.com's annual ranking of the league's 500 players.

Babb, with a rating of 1.31, creeps on the list a spot ahead of Indiana's Shayne Whittington. After starting last season in the D-League, Babb can take solace in simply being on the list after finishing the 2013-14 season with Boston. His ranking only hammers home his long odds to stick on Boston's overcrowded roster.

Bogans, with a rating of 1.83, finds himself in a land typically reserved for roster long shots. After being excused from the Celtics last season, Bogans plummets after being ranked No. 307 before last season.

Other Boston players that landed in spots 400-500 unveiled on Monday included Phil Pressey (413th, 2.28 rating) and Chris Johnson (424th, 2.19).

[Read full #NBARank]

Rookie Young eager to play with Rondo

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
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James YoungRobert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports
What is James Young looking forward to most during his rookie season with the Boston Celtics?

"Playing with [point guard Rajon] Rondo," Young told the team's official website during a recent video Q&A. "He's a player I looked up to growing up, and he sees the floor very well and has a high IQ for the game. So just getting open with him and seeing if we have can have a good connection."

Young and Rondo are both Kentucky products and Young is clearly eager to see if Rondo's playmaking can generate some open looks at the NBA level.

Asked about his first interaction with Rondo, Young added: "I met him two days ago in the weight room. We talked a little bit, nothing too serious... and we had a chance to play with each other a little bit in the open gym."

What can Rondo do for Young?

"By seeing me when I'm open at all times," added Young. "He sees the floor very well, so I'll just try to get open and he'll deliver me the ball."

Young also talked about his favorite play (his dunk pictured above against UConn in the national title game), what he's working on this summer (footwork, defense, and his right hand), and his favorite movie ("Friday").

[Additional reading: Our friends at Masslive.com transcribed some more of Young's answers]

Will C's be more watchable than we think?

September, 11, 2014
Sep 11
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As part of its 2014-15 season preview countdown, USA Today is ranking the 30 NBA teams based on watchability. The Boston Celtics landed at No. 29, just one spot in front of the basement-dwelling Philadelphia 76ers.

[+] EnlargeRajon Rondo
AP Photo/Michael Perez
It's not hard to understand Boston's low position. You have a rebuilding team coming off a 25-win season that made only minor tweaks this offseason. Heck, the NBA schedule-makers seem to agree with the rankings considering Boston landed only one national TV game -- an unremarkable mid-January tilt with the Atlanta Hawks.

Maybe we're drinking the green Kool-Aid, but we'd suggest that the Celtics have potential to be much more intriguing, even to casual viewers this season. We're not suggesting that this team deserves a massive vault in the watchability rankings, but Boston will almost certainly lure more eyeballs this season, particularly among those diehards that love to hopscotch on League Pass.

Here's a few reasons for potential intrigue:

Healthy Rondo: One prominent theme that's emerging as the new seasons nears is a sense from Celtics players/management that some have simply forgotten what a healthy Rajon Rondo is capable of. As Celtics team president Rich Gotham noted last week, "I think a healthy Rondo is a huge difference-maker for us." Further removed from the ACL surgery that limited him to 68 games over the past two seasons, it'll be interesting to see if Rondo can return to All-Star form and just how much he's able to elevate the play of a young supporting cast.

Competitive games: The Celtics lingered near the top of the league in close games for most of last season, playing a total of 49 games that were within five points in the final five minutes (that was tied for fourth most overall). Boston's lack of proven closers contributed to the team going 15-34 in those games (its .306 winning percentage the second worst mark in the league). Will Boston win more of those close games this season? That remains to be seen, but last year's efforts suggest that the Celtics will often keep things interesting (and trigger plenty of late-game "League Pass alerts.")

Can young talent take next step?: There's maybe no bigger reason to watch this year's team than the development of the youngest players. The Celtics have an intriguing young nucleus with players at all different stages of their development and lingering questions about just how good they can become. You've got someone like 23-year-old shooting guard Avery Bradley coming off his first big payday this offseason and he must prove he can be a consistent two-way threat to justify the team's spending. Then there's recent draftees like Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, both of whom will be expected to take the next step in their developments with potential to assert themselves as key parts of the team's future. Then there's rookies Marcus Smart and James Young. Even as the No. 6 overall pick, Smart has created an awful lot of buzz this offseason for both his personality and potential. The 19-year-old Young might even spend a good chunk of the season in the D-League shadows if he simply needs game reps to further his development, but there will be interest in his progress after just one season at Kentucky.

Reshaping on the fly: Even if the Celtics are completely unwatchable -- and their offense sputtered so badly at times last season that that could be a reality -- there's going to be lingering intrigue about how the team reshapes during the season. There will be constant speculation about Rondo's future, particularly with his looming status as an unrestricted free agent, while the team brought in other veteran bodies like Marcus Thornton and Evan Turner, who could attract interest from contending teams later in the season depending on their individual performances.

Again, we're not expecting this team to make a surprise run at a high berth in the Eastern Conference. During our Celtics Summer Forecast, our panel predicted a mere three-game improvement from this team. But in terms of pure watchability, even the casual fan might find themselves more invested this year. Gotham stressed that, this season, "the future will come a little bit more into focus."

Ignore the record and focus on the progress, and the Celtics might just be more watchable than you think.

Grantland: C's 2nd in Court Power Rankings

September, 9, 2014
Sep 9
10:15
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Grantland: Court Rankings


Grantland ranked all 30 NBA teams by their court design and we've got good news and bad news for fans of the Boston Celtics. The good news? Boston ranked No. 2 in the power rankings. Writes curator Zach Lowe: "The parquet looks nice even without the history, and we can’t penalize Boston just because you could purchase actual pieces of the floor where things like “Havlicek stole the ball!” actually happened. The logo, designed by Red Auerbach’s brother Zang, has stood the test of time; even the Celtics’ new alternate logo is just a white silhouetting of the original. There isn’t a shade of green like Boston’s in all of U.S. pro sports. It appears to have gotten darker over the years, but the team insists the Celtics are still using the exact shade they featured in 1981 — if not earlier. It is the best color in the NBA."

The bad news? A certain Los Angeles-based rival landed at No. 1.

[Read Grantland's NBA Court Power Rankings]

Insider: C's 24th in Future Rankings

September, 9, 2014
Sep 9
1:11
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ESPN Insider projected the future success of all 30 NBA teams based on a five-category ranking system -- players, management, market, draft, and money -- and the Boston Celtics landed 24th overall.

Future Rankings Celtics


A snippet from Insider's Kevin Pelton: "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."

Rapid Reaction: It's worth noting that the "players" category is weighted at 50 percent of the total score, with each remaining category worth no more than 16.7 percent. With the panel believing a Rondo trade is inevitable and uncertain on the development of Boston's younger players, it should be no surprise that the Celtics landed in the bottom third of the future rankings. What remains to be seen is whether the team will ultimately elect to move on without Rondo, or whether they'll build around him and hope that, if he can rebound to All-Star form during the 2014-15 season, he might help accelerate the team's rebuilding process by attracting additional talent to town. The Celtics will hope that their treasure trove of assets gives them multiple routes to navigate this rebuild, while believing their younger players will make the strides necessary to help the team be competitive again. Ultimately, there are too many variables to accurately predict how bright Boston's future truly is, but the team certainly hopes it has positioned itself better than Insider's ratings predict. -- Chris Forsberg

[Read full Future Rankings Insider]
BOSTON -- This time last year, members of Brad Stevens' coaching staff were scrambling to simply get to know each other and prep for the start of the new head coach's first training camp.

This time around, there's a lot more continuity and an understanding of everyone's responsibilities.

[+] EnlargeRondo
Barry Chin/Getty ImagesCeltics assistant coach Walter McCarty works with Rajon Rondo last season.
"We’ve just all been on the same page," said assistant coach Walter McCarty. "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. But we’ve really developed a great chemistry and learned 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 -- all just trying to make our team better. It’s been a really good summer for us."

McCarty and the fellow members of Stevens' staff have stayed busy this offseason with a steady flow of players visiting the gym for offseason workouts, everyone working towards a goal of being on the same page in Year 2.

"It’s been great. Guys have been in, they’ve been working hard, they’ve been eager to be in and be around," said McCarty. "They want to learn as much as possible and work on their games and see how they fit into our system. It’s just been a good summer having these guys in. Getting your guys to come in, it’s tough in the summer. But we’ve had a lot of guys in all summer, it’s just been awesome to see."

Stevens' staff lost one member when veteran assistant Ron Adams elected to take a job with the Golden State Warriors. It's expected that Boston will slide Darren Erman into an assistant role after he worked as an assistant coach for player development with the Warriors (this after four years as a coaching assistant in Boston). The Celtics will have familiarity bringing back bench assistants Jay Larranaga and Micah Shrewsberry, along with McCarty and Jamie Young.

McCarty knows a 25-win campaign left a sour taste in everyone's mouth last season, but the coaches are eager to build off it.

"I think having that year is going to help us out a lot," said McCarty. "It kinda let us know what we need to work on, where we need to go from last season, what are some of our strengths with our players, and what schemes work for us. [Last year], not really knowing that, it was kinda tough. We had to learn things on the fly. But I think we have a good grasp of what it is that we want to do defensively and offensively. Starting out in training camp, we’ll be able to establish some really good habits and move from there."

Sullinger, Turner finally set to team up

September, 6, 2014
Sep 6
12:00
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BOSTON -- Jared Sullinger will always wonder what might have been if Evan Turner had returned for his senior season at Ohio State.

evanalmighty12 on InstagramEvan Turner and Jared Sullinger will finally get to be teammates in Boston.
Sullinger sounds fairly certain that the Buckeyes would have competed for a national championship. Even after Turner leaped to the NBA, Ohio State won its first 24 games of that 2010-11 season and earned the top seed in the East before being upset by Kentucky in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

The two are finally set to team up this season for the Celtics. Turner's signing isn't official yet, but Sullinger is excited to soon have another Buckeye in Boston.

"We were talking about [missing each other at Ohio State] a couple weeks ago," Sullinger said Friday after leading a youth basketball clinic at Hennigan Elementary School in Jamaica Plain. "If it wasn’t for the lockout the following season, [Turner] probably would have stayed for his senior year and the team we would have had my freshman year would have been special."

The two players worked out together at Ohio State this summer with Turner posting a snapshot of him and Sullinger on Instagram after the duo scrimmaged some current members of the Ohio State squad. Sullinger said both he and Turner are excited about the potential to play together.

But Sullinger also acknowledges that Turner's stock is low at the moment after he faded from Indiana's playoff rotation despite being acquired from Philadelphia for a postseason push last season, but expects big things from him.

“I think everyone is down on him because of how the trade happened and what happened in the trade and how Indiana played," said Sullinger. "I think people misunderstand Evan. He’s a great basketball player, great teammate. I’ve known him for years, he’s all about winning. That’s his main goal. We bring a great opportunity for him."

Celtics prez Gotham preaches optimism

September, 5, 2014
Sep 5
8:15
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BOSTON -- Boston Celtics team president Rich Gotham still shudders when he reflects on sitting in the lottery war room in late May when the team's draft fate was determined and dreams of a top pick were dashed. While pleading for patience as part of the team's current rebuilding process, he's not bashful in admitting that he hopes that both he and the team can avoid the lottery process again for the foreseeable future.

[+] EnlargeRich Gotham
Essdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesCeltics president Rich Gotham says "the expectation for this year's team is that the future will come a little bit more into focus."
And three months after the ping-pong balls defied Boston, and a couple months since Boston plucked Marcus Smart (6th) and James Young (17th) in the 2014 draft, Gotham expressed an excitement about the team's youngest players and their future potential.

"I've been loving Marcus Smart's play, because he's just tough," said Gotham, admitting he often peeks at the on-court offseason action whenever he's at the team's training facility in Waltham this summer. "He goes out there and he competes. I saw James Young for the first time the other day, and I saw him stroke a couple of lefty 3-pointers from the a couple feet beyond the arc and I was like, 'Hmmm, we could use that.'

"It's exciting. I'm a hoops junkie. I love watching the young guys, I love watching their development, I love thinking about what these guys could become. I watched our draft workouts, but the best workout I saw all summer was Kelly Olynyk putting on a shooting clinic hitting 3s. We bring in all these guys, but we've got great guys on our team. It's exciting to think about how these guys will develop over time.

"The franchise, we're committed to being patient as we need to be to get the team to where it needs to go. What you want, most importantly, is to have options. Whether it's developing your young guys and utilizing those draft picks -- and utilizing them well -- and getting guys that can help you hang that next banner. Or it's using those picks and cap space as assets to acquire other players, whether it's via trade or free agency. I think we have all those options available to us, and they'll continue to be available to us for the foreseeable future. And that's really all that you can ask for. You can't be too hasty in trying to make things happen just for the sake of trying to make it happen in order to appease any sense of impatience. You gotta stay true to the process."

[Read full story]

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9