Vitor Faverani

Vitor Faverani

Vitor Faverani and Gerald Wallace are both expected to be healthy enough to participate when Celtics training camp begins next week, but whether Faverani will be in uniform on opening night remains a different story.

Each underwent season-ending surgery in March to repair a torn left meniscus, and the 32-year-old Wallace also had left ankle surgery. Both “should be all clear” when official practices begin Tuesday, said coach Brad Stevens, although Faverani faces a potential suspension for his DUI arrest this summer.

“We’re still contemplating [disciplinary action],” said team president Danny Ainge, “but there will be some consequences, absolutely. But I won’t make those public.

“Health-wise, Vitor’s knee has been up and down,” Ainge added. “He’s been on the court some, but he still had some challenges. I do expect him to be ready to go by training camp. We’re just being extra cautious with him right now, but he’s been on the court playing, doing drills. He’s had some setbacks with the swelling, but we’re hopeful that he can make it through training camp.”

As for Wallace, “I don’t know completely on Gerald,” said Ainge. “I think he’ll be ready to go by training camp, but I haven’t seen Gerald yet. He’s an old cagey vet, so we’ll probably see him on Media Day [Monday].”

Following his trade from the Nets to Boston last summer, Wallace didn’t show up until Media Day in 2013, either. Meanwhile, a number of other Celtics, including Faverani, have been working with Stevens in recent weeks.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge continued to straddle the fence on The Rajon Rondo Question — to trade or not to trade his four-time NBA All-Star point guard — during a Q&A

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge continued to straddle the fence on The Rajon Rondo Question — to trade or not to trade his four-time NBA All-Star point guard — during a Q&A session with former WCVB-TV sportscaster Mike Dowling at Worcester’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“The truthful answer is I really don’t know,” Ainge told the congregation on Sunday, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “I have no intention. 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.”

On the other side of the fence, “The possibility of a trade is not out of the question,” Ainge added. “Nobody is untradeable, but I don’t see that happening.”

According to the T&G’s Bill Doyle, Ainge told the several hundred gathered that the Celtics approached Rondo’s agent about a contract extension to no avail each of the past two summers. Of course, Rondo’s value the last two offseasons isn’t close to what he could command as an unrestricted free agent next year should he submit another All-Star caliber season. In the meantime, Ainge will keep on straddling that fence.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

I think we can all agree the Celtics won’€™t be raising banner 18 in the immediate future, and more likely than not the 2014-15 NBA season will result in another lottery pick come June, regardless of how ardently Rajon RondoAvery Bradley & Co. argue the contrary. It’€™s been a year since Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, launching the process of stockpiling draft picks and cap-friendly contracts. Since the Celtics failed to cash in those commodities in exchange for fireworks this summer, this season’€™s preview will have a Wyc Grousbeck theme, focusing on the hodgepodge of C’€™s pieces in a series we’€™ll call Asset Management. Next up: Avery Bradley.

In NBA circles outside Boston — and even some in Celtics Nation — Bradley’s four-year, $32 million contract extension received extensive criticism this summer, which seems weird for a player of his caliber. Let’s think about this.

When compared to Detroit’s overpayment of Jodie Meeks (3 years, $19.5 million), Bradley’s average annual value of $8 million doesn’t seem so bad, but teams were frugal with guards this offseason, and a deal like San Antonio’s with Patty Mills (3 years, $12 million) makes Bradley’s price tag appear a bit high.

Play along for a minute and take a look at these numbers from 2013-14.

Player 1: 18.4 ppg (44.4 FG%, 41.7 3P%, 79.5 FT%), 3.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.9 spg
Player 2: 14.9 ppg (43.8 FG%, 39.5 3P%, 80.4 FT%), 3.8 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.1 spg

If you were paying attention this past season, you’ll recognize Bradley as Player 2 in this scenario. Player 1? None other than Klay Thompson, the shooting guard Golden State wouldn’t give up to land Kevin Love. The same Thompson whose agent, Bill Duffy, recently dubbed his client, “the top two-way, two-guard in basketball,” in an attempt to land a maximum contract extension from the Warriors that would start at roughly twice Bradley’s average annual value.

Is Bradley the offensive talent Thompson has proven himself to be? Of course not, although his 40 percent shooting on 200 3-pointers wasn’t so bad. Just 12 guards matched that feat in 2013-14: Bradley, Thompson, Curry, Mills, Meeks, Goran Dragic, Jose Calderon, D.J. Augustin, Marco Belinelli, Arron Afflalo, Joe Johnson and Bradley Beal.

And how many of them have an NBA All-Defensive nod on their resume? Only one: Avery Bradley, who at 23 years old also happens to be the second-youngest member of that group behind Beal. The backcourt mates for much of that shooter’s dozen were also fairly impressive. Mills and Belinelli had Tony Parker, Dragic had half a season of Eric Bledsoe, Calderon had Monta Ellis, Johnson had Deron Williams, Beal had John Wall, Thompson and Curry had each other, and Bradley had, well, Jordan Crawford, Phil Pressey and 30 games of Rajon Rondo‘s rehab stint.

So, why the criticism? Bradley’s inability to stay on the court has been the biggest roadblock on his path to success. His 2012 double shoulder surgeries cost the Celtics a shot at a third NBA Finals in five years and set him back 30 games the following season. Ankle sprains and an Achilles strain cost him another 22 games last year. The shoulder issues haven’t popped up since and Bradley has been training all summer in a program designed to limit the injury risk to his lower extremities, but that “injury prone” label won’t go away until he proves otherwise.

Since playing 33 games alongside Rondo and essentially saving the Celtics season in 2012, the apparent backcourt of the future has shared the floor in just 26 games over the past two years. Somehow, Rondo and Bradley have only played a combined 63 games in their four years as teammates. Every season, we’re teased by the possibility of this wonderfully complementary pair — Rondo’s passing wizardry offensively and off-ball gambling defensively combined with Bradley’s 3-point-splashing, backdoor-slashing ways on one end and on-ball lockdown ability on the other. And every year we’re left wondering what might have been. Barring a preseason injury or a blockbuster trade involving Rondo, we’ll at least see them in the same season-opening starting lineup for the first time, and that’s something.

If Bradley keeps displaying that All-Defensive talent and 40 percent shooting from 3 while avoiding serious injury for the next four seasons, he’ll be worth that $8 million annually and then some, regardless of whether Rondo or Marcus Smart mans the other guard position by the end of that contract. The Celtics are banking on it.

Asset Rating: B+

This has been another edition of Asset Management. Check out more Celtics player valuations below.

Asset Management: Jeff Green’s Celtics future
Asset Management: Tyler Zeller’s Celtics future
Asset Management: Kelly Olynyk’s Celtics future
Asset Management: Marcus Smart’s Celtics future

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

The Celtics are coming off of their worst season since 2006-07. Despite high expectations this offseason, the team is entering 2014-15 with a similar roster to last season, which comes with similar expectations. However, Brad Stevens will be in his second season as coach, Rajon Rondo will begin the season healthy and Danny Ainge has added some new, young talent. But it’s still clear that the Celtics are entering yet another rebuilding season, leaving us with some major questions. We’ll try to find some answers in this five-part series called Rebuild Spotlight.

Brad Stevens showed signs in his first season with the Celtics that he can be an elite NBA coach. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Brad Stevens showed signs in his first season with the Celtics that he can be an elite NBA coach. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Despite just 25 wins in Brad Stevens’ debut season in Boston, the verdict is in on the coach: He’s the real deal. That was the hope when Ainge lured Stevens away from Butler with a six-year contract, but now we have clarity. After dazzling in his first season on the NBA sidelines, Stevens has made it clear that he is going to be as much a cornerstone of the Celtics’ rebuild as anyone.

Of course, much like the young players he coaches, Stevens must reach his full potential if he is going to lead the Celtics back to contention. The C’s were a solid defensive team right away last season; they were 14th in defensive rating heading into the All-Star break, but finished 20th at season’s end. Stevens wants to establish a defensive identity, and with Avery Bradley (who sees Boston having a top-10 defense this season) returning and the addition of Marcus Smart (whom scouts believe is the league’s next great perimeter defender), improvement on that side of the ball is expected.

Defense will be Stevens’ focus when training camp begins, but the Celtics’ offense, untraditionally, is where the biggest improvements are needed. Frankly, last season was a mess offensively, regardless of whether Rajon Rondo was on the floor or not.

Boston finished the season 27thin offensive rating and 28th in turnover rating. Until those numbers change, the losses are going to continue to pile up. Last year’s plan was to make Jeff Green the featured piece on offense. Yet, he failed to prove himself as a consistent option when all signs pointed to Green compiling career numbers.

On the other hand, Bradley (23 years old) and Jared Sullinger (22) stepped in as strong offensive options when healthy. Stevens would be silly not to present his younger stars with larger roles in the offense this season. Obviously, beginning the season with a healthy Rondo to go along with the additions of Smart, fellow rookie James Young, Tyler Zeller, Marcus Thornton and Evan Turner have to prove to be of some help.

Stevens likely will be dealing with an offense by committee like he was last season, this time with Rondo at the helm from the get-go. Bottom line is that there must be more offensive fluidity if the Celtics expect to up their win total from a year ago, particularly in terms of attempting to find some sort of consistency that Green couldn’t provide.

When it comes down to it, Brad Stevens is a fantastic leader for the Celtics going forward. His job is certainly not in any kind of jeopardy at all, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect improvements this season. Stevens has had a year to settle in and learn the ropes of the NBA. This season, prepare to watch him take the next step toward becoming one of the elite coaches in the league.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

I think we can all agree the Celtics won’€™t be raising banner 18 in the immediate future, and more likely than not the 2014-15 NBA season will result in another lottery pick come June, regardless of how ardently Rajon RondoAvery Bradley & Co. argue the contrary. It’€™s been a year since Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, launching the process of stockpiling draft picks and cap-friendly contracts. Since the Celtics failed to cash in those commodities in exchange for fireworks this summer, this season’€™s preview will have a Wyc Grousbeck theme, focusing on the hodgepodge of C’€™s pieces in a series we’€™ll call Asset Management. Next up: Marcus Smart.

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

We can’t blame Smart for the Celtics landing the sixth overall overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. It would’ve be nice to score Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, as the 76ers did, or Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton, as the Magic did. But the Celtics had the sixth and 17th picks — not third and 12th or fourth and 10th — so they’re banking on Smart and James Young being the best available talents at those slots, and so far at least we have no reason to believe otherwise.

The more we hear about Smart, the better fit he seems in Boston. He’s a defensive bulldog on the court, a likable character off it and a leader in both arenas, all traits the Celtics have sorely lacked since Kevin Garnett‘s departure.

If nothing else, Smart completes quite the defensive triumvirate in the backcourt. With him and Avery Bradley each capable of hounding the ball-handler, Rajon Rondo is free to gamble while defending the NBA’s dearth of off-guards — or, better yet, Smart and Bradley annoy the hell out of everyone, and they all rub off on Marcus Thornton — providing the Celtics a puncher’s chance on that end of the floor, despite the absence of a paint-protecting frontcourt.

Offensively, Smart’s Summer League stats (29.4 FG%, 25.7 3P%) didn’t do much to quell concerns about his shooting, although Rondo and Bradley have illustrated the ability to improve in that area, even as criticism persists. Jump shots can improve. Defensive effort, generally, doesn’t, and that’s why Smart went sixth and Young 17th.

Thus begins Smart’s future on a franchise with a wild lottery history that includes Len Bias, Eric Montross, Ron Mercer, Chauncey Billups, Paul Pierce, Jerome Moiso and Joe Johnson. One tragic, one sublime, and all gone too soon in one way or another. That’s why they call it a lottery, I guess. It’s a crapshoot, sometimes it’s just crap, and we don’t know well Danny Ainge rolls the dice since he’s traded every other top-10 pick he’s ever had.

It’s also not Smart’s fault his career will forever be linked to Rondo’s. If we’re being honest with ourselves, using the sixth overall pick in a loaded draft on a player who mans the same position as their captain, only All-Star and soon-to-be free agent leaves the Celtics with two choices going forward: 1) Trade Rondo and keep Smart, or 2) Keep Rondo and trade Smart. Both could be a mistake, either could be brilliant, but one will happen, because Ainge’s two most valuable players are both point guards, and either could fetch a hefty sum in return.

Asset Rating: A

This has been another edition of Asset Management. Check out more Celtics player valuations below.

Asset Management: Jeff Green’s Celtics future
Asset Management: Tyler Zeller’s Celtics future
Asset Management: Kelly Olynyk’s Celtics future

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

I think we can all agree the Celtics won’€™t be raising banner 18 in the immediate future, and more likely than not the 2014-15 NBA season will result in another lottery pick come June, regardless of how ardently Rajon RondoAvery Bradley & Co. argue the contrary. It’€™s been a year since Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, launching the process of stockpiling draft picks and cap-friendly contracts. Since the Celtics failed to cash in those commodities in exchange for fireworks this summer, this season’€™s preview will have a Wyc Grousbeck theme, focusing on the hodgepodge of C’€™s pieces in a series we’€™ll call Asset Management. Next up: Kelly Olynyk.

Kelly Olynyk

Kelly Olynyk

Olynyk’s run-in with a billboard has been the lasting image of his summer, a hilariously perfect reminder of all the long-haired 23-year-old 7-footer’s flaws — the sign accentuating his limitations both athletically and defensively.

In reality, the past year hasn’t changed opinions much on Olynyk. This is a guy Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge dubbed upon drafting “just a really good complementary player. He’s not a go-to guy, not a star player. He’s like a really good teammate type of player and complements other guys.”

I wasn’t sure how to feel about that then, and I’m not sure how to feel about it now. The Celtics traded up three spots to draft Olynyk, declared him “not a go-to guy, not a star player,” and then watched the Bucks take the most promising player in the draft two spots later. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but to the best of my knowledge Ainge doesn’t own a DeLorean, so we look to the future.

We learned a bit about the Canadian’s exchange rate when Minnesota turned its nose on a Celtics package of Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and multiple first-round picks for Kevin Love, which is to say his value elsewhere in the NBA isn’t what it’s perceived to be in Boston — despite those 36-minute averages of 15.6 points, 9.4 boards and 2.8 dimes.

We saw two sides of Olynyk his rookie season. Prior to the All-Star break, we witnessed a guy who wasn’t a particularly good shooter, rebounder or defender, all fairly important things for 7-foot stretch forwards. In the 26 games after he started in the NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge, Olynyk averaged 18.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per 36 minutes while recording a scintillating 59.6 true shooting percentage. Not too shabby.

But he also averaged 5.6 personal fouls per 36, so his defensive struggles never allowed for such playing time. Olynyk’s shooting and passing ability could still make him “a really good complementary player,” as evidenced by his contributions to an offense that ranked among the league’s best with him and among the worst without him, but the Celtics also allowed an atrocious 108.2 points per 100 possessions with Olynyk manning the middle.

A year later, Olynyk still has the potential to be “a really good teammate type of player,” whatever that means, and that kind of talent for $7.3 million over the next three seasons isn’t such a bad deal, even if fellow 2013 draftees Tim Hardaway Jr. at $4.8 million or Mason Plumlee at $5.1 million seems better. But somewhere along the line the Celtics have to start finding stars in their endless galaxy of lottery picks, and Olynyk isn’t one.

Asset Rating: B

This has been another edition of Asset Management. Check out more Celtics player valuations below.

Asset Management: Jeff Green’s Celtics future
Asset Management: Tyler Zeller’s Celtics future

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

As expected, the Celtics officially announced Prince Edward Island native Scott Morrison’s hiring as head coach of the Red Claws, their NBA Development League affiliate in Maine.

As expected, the Celtics officially announced Prince Edward Island native Scott Morrison’s hiring as head coach of the Red Claws, their NBA Development League affiliate in Maine.

In a press conference last month, Morrison stepped down from the same position at Ontario’s Lakehead University, where he compiled a 185-174 record over 10 seasons. He had been working as an assistant for the Red Claws under Mike Taylor during a leave of absence from Lakehead this past season.

“I am truly honored to have this opportunity,” said Morrison. “I want to thank both the Boston Celtics and the Maine Red Claws, two top-notch organizations, for believing that I am the right coach for this job. I was fortunate enough last year to spend the season with the Red Claws, and I am excited to be coming back to this great community with the best fans in the NBA D-League.”

Morrison has also coached the Canada National Junior Team for the past three years, mentoring 2014 first-round selections Andrew Wiggins and Tyler Ennis as well as projected 2015 lottery pick Trey Lyles. He served on the World Team staff at the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit, guiding future lottery picks Emmanuel Mudiay and Karl Towns Jr.

The Red Claws are one of 17 D-League teams solely affiliated with an NBA club, meaning Morrison will be tasked with developing anybody the Celtics designate for assignment this winter in Brad Stevens‘ system.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

I think we can all agree the Celtics won’€™t be raising banner 18 in the immediate future, and more likely than not the 2014-15 NBA season will result in another lottery pick come June, regardless of how ardently Rajon RondoAvery Bradley & Co. argue the contrary. It’€™s been a year since Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, launching the process of stockpiling draft picks and cap-friendly contracts. Since the Celtics failed to cash in those commodities in exchange for fireworks this summer, this season’€™s preview will have a Wyc Grousbeck theme, focusing on the hodgepodge of C’€™s pieces in a series we’€™ll call Asset Management. Next up: Tyler Zeller.

Tyler Zeller

Tyler Zeller

The list of Celtics centers this season includes Tyler Zeller, Vitor Faverani and Joel Anthony, which seems like a good place to start with Zeller, since Faverani is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn left lateral meniscus and crashed his BMW hatchback into a bus this summer and Joel Anthony won last year’s Brian Scalabrine Legacy Award on a team full of worthy contenders.

Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass all have experience playing center, but the Celtics have rolled the dice with forwards starting at the 5 for far too long — since trading Kendrick Perkins, really, save for the Nenad Krstic, Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal cameos — so Zeller at least offers hope, and hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, or so says Andy Dufresne.

Where were we? Oh, yeah, Tyler Zeller of the 21-foot Zeller brother trio. He’s 24 years old, 84 inches tall and runs the floor like a gaZelle(r), which is all promising, particularly if Rondo remains his point guard. Transition dunks are fun, after all.

Offensively, Zeller improved from literally everywhere last season. After shooting an average to below-average percentage everywhere on the court but the free throw line as a rookie, his long legs took tremendous strides in 2013-14, improving as a more selective mid-range marksman and making a more concerted effort to get to the rim, where he lived during his 2012 ACC Player of the Year campaign.

By all accounts, Zeller isn’t the bulky rim protector the Celtics coveted this summer, although he allowed the same opponents’ field goal percentage in the restricted area last season as reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah. Named Academic All-America of the Year in his senior season at North Carolina, Zeller grasps defensive schemes, even if he’s been foul prone to the tune of 4.5 personal fouls per 36 minutes for his NBA career.

Overall, Zeller averaged 13.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes while submitting a respectable 58.1 true shooting percentage and 15.4 PER last season. Those numbers make Vitor Faverani and Joel Anthony seem like, well, Vitor Faverani and Joel Anthony, and that bodes well for Zeller’s odds of playing 30-plus minutes.

Zeller, along with Marcus Thornton, became eligible to be traded this week — two months after the Celtics acquired them for next to nothing — but it seems more likely Danny Ainge will wait to see what becomes of the young 7-footer in his first season learning from fellow Indiana product Brad Stevens. Zeller remains under his rookie contract for $4.3 million combined over the next two seasons before becoming a restricted free agent in 2016, so a successful run with the Celtics this winter would make him a valuable piece for this team or another.

Asset Rating: B

This has been another edition of Asset Management. Check out more Celtics player valuations below.

Asset Management: Jeff Green’s Celtics future

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach