It’s a new year, and time for a new gimmick. I got sick of writing about the same five teams for my Power and Sour rankings, so I have decided to switch it up. Instead, I will rank the entire roster of our hometown squadron, the Boston Celtics. These rankings are based on gut feelings and convenient statistics. If you disagree, which if you are a regular WEEI commenter you will, please sound off at the bottom of the page. If that doesn’t feel like a enough of a personal attack, please yell at me on Twitter @SPackGuy.

Honorable mention: Tim Frazier

I love me some D-League, and especially some Maine Red Claws. Frazier is easily the best player stashed up in Maine, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a 10-day contract later in the season.

15. Gerald Wallace

Averaging seven minutes per game and sounds like a didgeridoo.

14. Jameer Nelson

13. Brandan Wright

12. Jae Crowder

Small sample size, but I do like Crowder’s hairdo and his defensive intensity. Given Wright’s length, I expected to see him get more minutes. Never predict a Brad Stevens rotation.

11. Phil Pressey

Instant energy off the bench, but really too short to make a significant impact. He consistently drives with reckless abandon with no intention of attempting a shot. It’s frustrating.

10. James Young

Young has only played in six games, but he is the future, and one time he answered some of my questions about his time in Maine. Can you believe he has never been to Freeport? I just hope he continues to get minutes, because he clearly has a knack for getting buckets.

9. Marcus Thornton

Marcus “The Microwave” Thornton is the Celtics‘ only irrational confidence scorer. Injuries have kept him out of the lineup and thus low on the rankings. He does win the award for Celtic I would most like to hang out with.

8. Brandon Bass

“BASS IS WHO YOU THOUGHT HE WAS!” Thanks to Dennis Green for the guest commentary. I hope for Bass’ sake that Danny Ainge finds him a nice contender for whom he can play meaningful minutes down the stretch. There is really no reason he couldn’t be the Warriors’ version of P.J. Brown.

7. Avery Bradley 

Without a doubt, AB has been the most disappointing player on the team. He just keeps shooting and shooting and shooting, and the ball rarely goes in. I appreciate his defense, but you need more that 12.5 PPG and 32 percent from 3 from your starting shooting guard.

6. Marcus Smart 

Smart has had some great moments, but he also has struggled to run the offense, often committing stupid turnovers. Stevens tried him as the starting PG and quickly realized that was a horrible mistake. Plus, Rob Bradford hates his shot, so he can’t be top five.

5. Kelly Olynyk 

Jelly Man Kelly has done quite well ever since he started coming off the bench. He goes through stretches where, depending on the opponent, he might be the second-best player on the court. He needs to continue to stay aggressive and possibly cut his hair. Jelly Man Kelly with a Brian Bosworth haircut would not only scare small children, it would produce at least four more points a game.

4. Evan Turner

The people of the Internet love to hate Evan Turner. Maybe it’s because he was a No. 2 overall pick, maybe it’s because his voice is very confusing, maybe it’s the fact that he is guaranteed to commit two dumb turnovers each game. With that being said, Turner has done an very good job when starting at PG and is one of the few Celtics who can create his own shot.

3. Jeff Green

Before the Rondo trade, Uncle Jeff would have been at No. 1 on these rankings. He had yet to put together one of those classic Jeff Green clunkers where he forgets that its his job to shoot the basketball. After the Rondo trade, he has seemed mildly depressed and had his first three games where he only scored in single digits. It almost like he is aware that he is going to be traded soon and that somehow is affecting his play? I know, Crazybeans.

2. Jared Sullinger

Before the season there was an absurd amount of Sully-hype. (I’m looking at you r/BostonCeltics) After hearing it suggested that he could be an All-Star this year, I started the year with an anti-Sully agenda. Slowly but surely, with each double-digit rebound game, I have climbed back on the Sullinger Caboose (pun intended because, you know, he has a giant ass). Before I can consider myself fully on board, Sully needs to stop throwing up a shot every time he finds himself with the ball beyond the arc. If he can limit the 3’s, then ALL ABOARD.

1. Tyler Zeller, aka #GodZeller

This guy has the softest hands in the league. He has a knack for finding the right place to be in transition and has the ability to catch almost any pass thrown in his direction. Everyone assumed that with Rondo gone he would stop producing, but everyone was wrong. Zeke has unparalleled finesse around the rim and actually is playing decent low-post defense. The only thing that could make #GodZeller better would be if he did the Sam Cassel big balls celly after hitting one of his beautiful two-footers. I know that is a complete pipe dream because as I understand it, if you are from the Midwest you are not allowed to have a personality. (Just look at the head coaching robot B. Stevens).

Blog Author: 
Sam Packard

James Young had played 18 minutes on the entire season entering Monday night’s game against the Hornets. His last appearance on an NBA court was when he played two minutes in a blow out against the Lakers on Dec 5. Since then, Young has missed time with a shoulder injury and spent time playing for the Maine Red Claws in the D-League.

Monday night was a coming out party for the No. 17 overall pick in this past June’s draft. Young matched his season total by playing 18 minutes in the game against Charlotte, coming up huge by nearly leading the Celtics to a comeback victory. In the second half alone the rookie played 15 minutes, pouring in 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting, while going 3-for-4 from downtown. Young’s finest moment came on a 3-pointer he hit in the fourth quarter to cut the Hornets lead to just six points, the smallest it would get after being as many as 22 points.

“I just tried to take every shot with confidence,” Young said following the game. “After one fell I just tried to go for another, and another and that’s how I’ve been playing all my life so I just tried to stick with it.”

Young has been sent to the D-League often of late, playing major minutes for the Red Claws when asked to. In eight games in the NBADL, Young has averaged 22.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.5 steals in 32.6 minutes of action. He has also been practically automatic from beyond the arc, shooting 35-of-73 in those eight games. His experience seems to be paying off, though.

“I was king of nervous when I first got in. [It was] My first time playing, really, in the regular season,” said Young of his jitters. “I was just trying to go out there in the second half and just be aggressive, everyone told me to be aggressive.”

So did Young get advice from anyone in specific before his breakout game?

“Yeah, before I walked out [Brandon] Bass just told me to be me. [To] stay aggressive and just zone in, and that’s what I did.”

Young’s performance easily could earn him a longer look in Brad Stevens‘ ever changing rotation, he’s a player the coaching staff certainly wants to give minutes to in order to help his development. At the same time, Stevens admitted he was “throwing darts” with his rotation on Monday, Young could have simply been one of those darts on this night.

“I just want to go out there and just provide for my team,” Young said of his role. “If I get more minutes, I get more minutes. [I] just want to bring energy to the floor.”

One way or another, the 19-year-old rookie will get more shots at earning minutes as the season progresses. What Young does with those minutes remains to be seen, but if he can produce as he did in his first opportunity, he may have a bright future in Boston.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Brad Stevens is steering a sinking Celtics ship. (Steve Babineau/Getty Images)



Brad Stevens has reached a low point in his second season as Celtics head coach.

Brad Stevens has reached a low point in his second season as Celtics head coach.

Stevens sounded an ominous signal Monday following a 104-95 lifeless loss to the lowly Charlotte Hornets on “Seats for Soldiers” night at TD Garden.

His team started slow out of the gate and really never recovered, trailing 22-11 late in the first quarter and 50-36 at the half.

“First of all, they played at a great pace, and they made shots and Kemba (Walker) was great,” Stevens said. “We couldn’€™t stop him. Cody Zeller was playing at a higher energy-level than anybody else on the floor a lot of the game, and you know (Gerald) Henderson has always really given us fits. I thought all three of those guys looked like they were at a different level early. And we weren’€™t very good.”

It got so bad that Stevens ran through his entire 13-man roster by the end of the third quarter. What was he hoping to accomplish?

“No idea. I think tonight was more of an anomaly because I was throwing darts. I can act like I know the answer to your question but I was throwing darts,” Stevens said.

Asked a question about the breakout game for James Young and whether it might mean more playing time for the rookie, Stevens instead took the opportunity to do a little soul searching.

“€œI don’€™t know,” Stevens said. “I don’€™t know. I’€™ve got to figure out how to coach this team better. I’€™m not doing a very good job. We’€™re not playing well and we’€™re playing almost ‘€“ it’€™s not good basketball. We’€™ve got to do a better job playing good basketball. I’€™ll figure out the rotations later, once we start playing good basketball and once we all are very focused on very good basketball. And that’€™s on me. I’€™ve got to do a better job.”

Stevens then channeled his inner Bill Belichick when asked why other players besides Jared Sullinger couldn’t find offensive rhythm.

“I don’€™t know,” Stevens said. “Again, I’€™ve got to figure out a way to get those guys to play, and it’€™s ‘€“ that’€™s on me. We weren’€™t very organized offensively, we weren’€™t very good defensively, we got torched by one guy ‘€“ pretty bad coaching.”

From an inspired effort at times against Rajon Rondo and the Mavericks Friday to a gutty effort in a road loss to the Bulls Saturday, the Celtics have shown consistent inconsistency. Then they laid an egg against an 11-24 team Monday night before their home fans. Right now, Stevens doesn’t know what to expect from night to night.

“We’€™ve got to get to the point where we know, we’€™ve got to know it every day. We’€™ve got to play the right way every day. And, you know that was really disappointing. That was a disappointing effort all around.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Fresh off of an overtime loss in Chicago, the Celtics returned home on Monday to face the underachieving Hornets at TD Garden.

Fresh off of an overtime loss in Chicago, the Celtics returned home on Monday to face the underachieving Hornets at the TD Garden. Part of the problem for Charlotte has been injuries, as they were without both Lance Stephenson and former Celtic Al Jefferson for this contest.

Jefferson played a huge role in the Hornets’ 96-87 victory over the C’s on Dec 10 in Charlotte, finishing with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Boston was out for revenge this time around, however, they didn’t find it on Monday.

Kemba Walker was dominant for the Hornets in their 104-95 win over the Celtics, seemingly finding a bucket every time the Celtics started to claw back. Walker finished with 33 points to go with five boards and five helpers. Click here for the full box score.

Here’s five things we learned in the loss:

COLD START

On a 19-degree Boston eve, the home team may have brought some of that weather inside. The Celtics began the season by customarily getting off to hot starts at home (and then letting their leads slip away late). Recently it’s been a different story.

The Celts were able to manage just 16 points in the first quarter on a mere 7-of-23 shooting. Things improved slightly in the second quarter, but for the most part it was more of the same for Boston. The C’s headed into the locker room with just 36 points while going 14-for-43 from the field (32.6%). The Celtics were also out-rebounded 30-18 in the half, contributing to the deficit.

NEAR COMEBACK

The Celtics got it together in the second half, but the youngsters were at the head of the charge this time around. Rookies Marcus Smart (nine points and four assists) and James Young (we’ll get to him later) each had big games along with newcomer Jae Crowder (13 points and five rebounds) to help pull the team within six points late in the fourth, 88-82, after being down as many as 22 points. But the C’s fell short as Walker and the Hornets proved to be too much to handle late. Jared Sullinger also scored 14 points in the second half, he finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

JAMES YOUNG FINALLY BROKE OUT

After going back-and-forth between playing big minutes for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League and riding the bench for the Celtics, 19-year-old rookie James Young played when in mattered for the first time in weeks. Young came in to play the last three minutes of the first half, but didn’t come in gunning like he has done so far in his career.

That all changed in the second half. Young scored 13 points in 13 minutes on 5-for-6 shooting in the second half alone (including 3-for-4 from downtown), nearly leading the Celtics to a comeback victory. It’s just one game, but Young was masterful on offense, and even played aggressive on the defensive side of the ball. Young is definitely a player to watch going forward as this performance may have carved him out a spot in Brad Stevens‘ wild rotation going forward. Speaking of which …

BRAD STEVENS PLAYED EVERY AVAILABLE CELTIC

Ever since the Rajon Rondo trade Stevens has been tinkering around with all kinds of rotations. In the last two games this meant playing 11 different players double digit minutes. On Monday it meant playing all 13 of his available players (Marcus Thornton and Jameer Nelson sat with injuries) during meaningful action.

You know about Young already, but Gerald Wallace saw minutes in the second half, and rather than filling in for Nelson by letting players in the rotation play more, Phil Pressey stepped in to take Nelson’s role. Playing 13 players before a game even turns into a blowout says a lot about a rotation, mostly negative things. Eventually, Stevens is going to have to pick a direction with this team and establish a rotation that allows his players to find more of a rhythm.

BATTLE OF THE ZELLERS

Tyler Zeller’s younger brother, Cody, has owned his big brother so far in his career. Not necessarily in the individual matchups, but Cody’s team has won all five games in which the brothers have faced off. Cody clearly had the better game in this matchup finishing with 20 points and seven rebounds to Tyler’s two point and two rebound effort. More importantly for Cody, his team is now 6-0 against Tyler’s teams when they have faced off in the NBA.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

Another good effort, another road loss for the Celtics.

Another good effort, another road loss for the Celtics.

Pau Gasol had 29 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots, and the Bulls beat the Boston Celtics 109-104 in overtime on Saturday night in Chicago.

“The last couple years, I had issues with my knees. I couldn’t really jump as much as I’m jumping now,” said Gasol, who was coming off a career best nine blocks in Chicago’s previous game. “Not that I’m jumping super high, maybe an inch more.”

Evan Turner scored 24 of his 29 points after halftime, but Boston dropped to 2-6 since trading Rajon Rondo to Dallas on Dec. 18. Avery Bradley had 17 points for the Celtics (11-20). Jared Sullinger added 16 points in Boston’s fourth consecutive road loss.

Aaron Brooks added 19 points for the Bulls (24-10), who won for the ninth time in 10 games. Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose had 12 points apiece.

“They do what they need to do to win, obviously, even when they’re not playing well,” Turner said.

Saturday was Boston’s first game since the Rajon Rondo return with the Mavericks on Friday in Boston, a 119-101 loss to Dallas. The Celtics did not show serious hangover effects and played hard against a Bulls team missing starters Jimmy Butler (bereavement leave) and Mike Dunleavy (right ankle).

Rookie Nikola Mirotic scored 10 points in his first start, and Kirk Hinrich replaced Butler for the Bulls’ ninth different starting lineup of the season.

Rose stole the ball and passed to Joakim Noah, who found Gasol for a layup for a 103-99 lead with 2:21 left in overtime. Two Gasol free throws and a Rose layup extended the lead to 107-103 with 24.8 seconds left. The Bulls then held on despite going 2 for 4 at the line in the final eight seconds.

The Bulls shot 37 percent from the field and committed 18 turnovers. The Celtics shot 45 percent and turned the ball over 22 times.

A Gasol jumper and free throw gave the Bulls a 98-95 lead with 1:13 left in regulation. Green made two free throws to cut the lead to one. Gibson was fouled with 22.7 seconds left and made one of two free throws, and Sullinger scored on a putback with 2.6 seconds left to tie it at 99.

Blog Author: 
WEEI