Collins suddenly at the center of things


Collins suddenly at the center of things

MILWAUKEE The spotlight for a reliable backup for Kevin Garnett has now landed on Jason Collins.
Once considered an end-of-the-bench addition to the roster, Collins has been the first big man off the bench for the C's the last few games to sub in for Garnett.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers made it clear following Boston's 91-88 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday night that the decision to go with Collins ahead of Wilcox was not in connection with Wilcox's health.
Wilcox was unable to finish out Boston's loss to Brooklyn last week, in addition to missing a practice and the team's morning shootaround prior to defeating Portland on Friday, due to an illness.
"Jason gives us size and he's playing well," Rivers said.
It has been well documented how the Celtics struggle whenever Garnett leaves the floor.
After opening Saturday's game with a flurry of baskets and defensive stops, the C's had a 17-2 advantage when Collins entered the game for Garnett.
For a change, Boston actually increased its lead by a single point as Garnett spent the remainder of the first quarter on the bench while Collins helped the C's end the first with a 27-11 lead.
He finished Saturday's game with season highs in minutes played (14) and rebounds (5). It was the third straight game in which Collins played 10 or more minutes.
Meanwhile Wilcox had one rebound and one blocked shot while playing less than three minutes. It was the fewest minutes he has played since he logged three minutes against the Bucks on Nov. 2.
The use of Collins does not mean Wilcox won't have a role, although it's clear that Wilcox's minutes will be trimmed.
"He helps out," Rivers said of Collins. "Chris does his things, too. I got a feeling it will be back and fourth all year."
Whether he's playing as Garnett's primary backup or just another big man in the mix, Wilcox said he has no problem playing whatever role Doc Rivers asks of him.
"I just want to help this team win, man," Wilcox told "That's what everybody here wants to do; is win. When you have a team full of guys that are all about winning, you don't think a lot about role and things like that. Because end of the day, that doesn't matter. Competing, winning games; that's what you want."

Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions


Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions

The Patriots acquired Kyle Van Noy, who was the Lions’ 2014 second-round pick and starting linebacker this season, on Tuesday. 

Why former Pats executive Bob Quinn would send a starter East for what is reportedly just a conditional draft pick is something we’ll try to ferret out.

The Patriots were no doubt interested because they lost Jonathan Freeny to IR with an injury, rookie Elandon Roberts is an undersized thumper (Van Noy is 6-3, 252) and Shea McClellin is well, just… there so far.

Van Noy has two years remaining on his rookie deal so -- provided he shows something -- he could be around awhile. The move -- one week before the trade deadline -- is a familiar one from the Patriots who added players like Jonathan Casillas and Akeem Ayers in 2014 prior to their Super Bowl run.

This story from last season indicates that Van Noy’s lack of production in his first two seasons with the Lions was merely a matter of circumstance. 

Perhaps. We’ll find out soon enough. Meanwhile, the name Van Noy made me perk up because I remembered him as having a central role in the excellent book The System by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian.

Read the excerpt on Van Noy here. It will give you a better understanding of the road he’s traveled.

Report: Patriots trade for Lions LB Kyle Van Noy


Report: Patriots trade for Lions LB Kyle Van Noy

The Patriots have added more depth at linebacker, and they've reached out to an old friend to do it.

According to ESPN, the team has agreed to a deal with the Lions in order to acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy. The compensation has not yet been disclosed. 

Van Noy, who was a second-round pick out of BYU, is listed at 6-foot-3, 243 pounds. He played 36 snaps in Detroit's win over Washington on Sunday, recording two tackles.

The Patriots lost depth at linebacker when veteran Jonathan Freeny landed on injured reserve with a shoulder issue before New England's Week 6 game in Cleveland. Van Noy will fill in behind Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, providing insurance alongside rookie Elandon Roberts, Barkevious Mingo and Shea McClellin. Defensive end Rob Ninkovich has also seen time at linebacker this season. 

Collins and Hightower have both dealt with health issues over the last two seasons, often pressing reserves into action. Collins returned to the field over the weekend after missing Week 6 with a hip issue. Hightower missed Weeks 2 and 3 due to a knee injury he suffered in Week 1 against the Cardinals. 

Van Noy has played in 30 games since entering the league. His seven career starts have all come this season. He has 32 career tackles and one sack. Going into the draft in 2014, the All-Independent Defensive Player of the Year was viewed as a stand-out athlete with good quickness, a high football IQ and an ability to run with backs and tight ends in coverage. 

That the Patriots and Lions were able to work out a deal comes as little surprise. Detriot general manager Bob Quinn has a close relationship with Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio as he worked in New England from 2000-2015. Quinn began with the team as a personnel assistant, worked his way up the ladder, and from 2012 through 2015 he served as the director of pro scouting.