Every team has their superstar. The guy who gets buckets when it counts, forces turnovers in the clutch and makes plays us mere mortals can only dream of pulling off. Cleveland have LeBron. The Lakers have Kobe. Houston have Harden and the Thunder have Durant. But what about the others on the roster? The ones who go unnoticed by the casual observer but are game changers to those in the know. These are the underrated stars. Their stats may not be great but it’s the little things they do that endear them to coaches, players and fans alike. Here are my top underrated stars thus far in the 2014/15 season. (more…)
It’s always hard seeing a player you like traded away. You watch these guys almost daily, playing their way through a tough 82 game regular season. It’s hard not to feel connected to these players in some way.
Some players you tend to feel an affinity to more than others.
Stand up Jeff Green.
All good supporters and fans of the NBA know that as much as this game is a sport, it’s become more so of a business.
But is it this business approach, and side of the game, that has made it increasingly harder to stay loyal to one team when your favorite players are sent packing?
When the doors opened at the TD Garden and the crowds began to file in, the hype surrounding this game with the locals was one of a quiet confidence. The Thunder has had a miserable start to the season and all were looking forward to adding more pain to their suffering.
This article is my first take on nailing down a couple of completely random thoughts/suggestions about the upcoming 2014/15 NBA Season.
Not one thing you look at may make sense to you, and that’s perfectly fine because the assorted array of conclusions I’m about to write about are my own personal views.
Want to know why compiling these kinds of lists are so much fun?
To show you how much fun writing these lists can be, I’ve made a list to break it down.
Following on from Nick C’s opening Julius Randle Rookie feature, I have decided to choose new Boston Celtics draftee Marcus Smart. My decision behind the pick was that as a Boston Celtics fan, I feel I can give a true account to his Rookie season as I’ll be watching him more than any other rookie in the League, while trying to stay as unbiased as I possibly can.
Free agency 2014 is done and dusted, with most teams finalizing their transactions, and beginning to prepare for the long NBA season ahead of them. The West is stacked, and the East is getting better, but there are still teams who have failed to match the off season efforts of others.
One team which has failed to make a splash in the market is the Boston Celtics, who have become a non-factor in a lackluster eastern conference these past few years, calling into question the true metal of much revered General Manager and former player Danny Ainge.
Since trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the summer of 2013, fans of the 17-time Champs have become increasingly more unnerved about the direction of the ball club, and how they plan on returning them to their rightful place atop the eastern conference.
There are picks a-plenty, and the future looks bright with young rookies Marcus Smart and James Young joining the ranks via the draft this summer. They also have a young core of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green, all of whom are ready to help the team progress into the next stage of Boston basketball. But what is the next step? What direction will this team, steeped in history, take?
There is zero doubt that Boston’s back court is deep, having drafted a one and a two, in addition to their already talented lineup of guards, leaving many asking the question why they let enforcer and 7th overall pick Julius Randle fall to the Lakers during June’s NBA Draft.
Drafting Marcus Smart was curious, given 1 x Champ and former All Star Rajon Rondo is still performing at an optimum level for the team, and will return at full strength this October, following knee surgery in February, 2013. Smart is projected to be a high performance player for Boston, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll be able to fully utilize him as a back up behind Rondo.
In this lies an interesting debate – Does it benefit the Celtics to trade their cornerstone, and franchise player before his free agency next summer?
Let’s look at the facts.
As mentioned previously, the roster is deep with guards. Rondo, Avery Bradley and Evan Turner only scratch the surface of their back court, with Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Jeff Green the only players of considerable note anchoring down the paint. Having prided themselves as a defensive stalwart for years, the Celtics would undoubtedly benefit from the addition of a top 15 big, who can average 20/12 on a nightly basis, and help reinforce Boston’s leaky defensive structure.
Injury is a concern. While Rondo is one of the league’s top point guards when healthy, there is uncertainty about his durability after a torn ACL restricted his playing time drastically this past season. Thus far, his value remains high, but should that decrease, and his ability begin to decline, so will his appeal. There is interest in Rondo throughout the league at this point in time, so at the very least, the Celtics should be willing to listen to offers.
An article surfaced earlier this week which indicated that Rondo wants to be “wined and dined” this summer, in similar fashion to Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Of course, this may be nothing more than a player wanting to have his ego stroked, but it could also indicate that that Rondo is willing to listen to offers come summer 2015. If the Celtics let Rondo test free agency, they’ll run the risk of losing him for nothing, and while he has said he wants to stay a Celtic, no one truly knows.
Should they keep Rondo beyond 2014/15, it will no doubt take up considerable cap space with the team having signed Avery Bradley to a four year, $30 million deal. There is little doubt he’ll sign for anything less than the max next summer, so the Celtics must make a decision about the style of basketball they’ll be playing for the foreseeable future. There is also the question of whether keeping Rondo will impact the development of Marcus Smart, if Boston do intend to utilize him to his full potential.
So, while it remains unlikely that Rondo will sign an extension with any team beyond 2014/15, there could still be something in it for Boston – It’s not so much that we’ll see a Kevin Love/Minnesota type situation between the Celtics and Rondo (given Rondo’s love for the team. A notion Love did not share when it came to the Wolves), but it would benefit Boston in a big way to shop him before he leaves for nothing when the opportunity at a title and max money rears its head.
So, with the information we have, does trading Rondo benefit the Celtics? In short, yes. Given what we know about the team’s current structure, Rondo’s tenure as a franchise guy/healthy player, and his impending free agency, it absolutely is in Boston’s best interests to move him.
While this may be the case, one must wonder if it hasn’t happened yet, will it at all? It’s getting to a point now where it looks more and more likely that the team is all in on Rondo, and should they decide against it in the coming months, it may already be too late.
Whichever way you look at it, expect to see a lot of Rajon Rondo in the trade winds throughout season 2014/15.
With the NBA Draft being just shy of 3 weeks away, the inevitable rumour mill is in full swing.
The source added that C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and his staff are at least momentarily focused on investigating players who will be available at No. 6, with a series of high-profiled workouts scheduled for next Thursday and Friday.
Ainge reportedly also has contacted two unspecified teams in the five slots above his pick about trading up for the most intriguing prospects in the draft. He has also taken a marginal number of calls from teams interested in the sixth pick.
Interesting quote to say the least, and it would be anyones guess as to what Danny would intend to use that higher pick for. A potential Top 3 pick to keep and hopefully make an immediate impact? Or is the Top 3 pick, what is needed to to include somewhere to dangle in front of the Timberwolves in the hope of landing Kevin Love?
Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy also wrote that:
The Celtics, as of yesterday, had yet to make an offer, though they are prepared to do so.
What’s unclear is whether that would be a package including the current #6 pick as well as other assets or is trading up to Top 3 all in aid of capturing Love?
Either way? I don’t think draft night will be a quiet one for C’s fans.
Boston Celtics guard Jordan Crawford is the player most fans in the past (and if I’m honest even now) love to hate. Whether it’s because of his tendency to speak his mind of his over confidence in his skills (Better than Michael Jordan anyone?), his trash talking to opponents (Did KG really sleep with LaLa Anthony?), or just his eagerness to put up a shot.
Consider this an experiment. Take one Playstation 3. Insert one NBA 2k14 game disc. Enter game modes. Choose season. Simulate. Sit back and watch the 2013/14 season unfold before your very eyes. Check out what my season entailed below. Results may vary… *May or may not be actual winners (more…)
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