Celtics Question of the Day: Did C's improve more in frontcourt or backcourt?


Celtics Question of the Day: Did C's improve more in frontcourt or backcourt?

The Boston Celtics added lots of talent across the board with between their guards and some much-needed size.

But where did the C's improve the most, on the perimeter or in the frontcourt?

While there's clearly more sizzle with the talent Boston added in the backcourt, there's no question the substance of the Celtics' frontcourt has been significantly upgraded.

Consider this: The Celtics went into the playoffs last season with rookie Greg Stiemsma along with Ryan Hollins and Sean Williams as their backup centers.

Fast forward to this season's squad. Even if you take away Boston's top two big men off the bench -- Chris Wilcox and, most likely, Jarred Sullinger -- that still leaves the C's with Darko Milicic, Jason Collins and rookie first-round pick Fab Melo.

I know. It doesn't exactly wow me, either. But considering what the Celtics had to work with during the playoffs last season, there's little doubt that this year's trio of backup big men behind the backups is better.

For all of Milicic's shortcomings as a player, he has proven to be a solid shot-blocker. He averaged two blocked shots per game during the 2010-2011 season, which ranked fifth in the NBA.

Jason Collins has the size and strength to be an asset against some of the league's more powerful centers like Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers and Andrew Bynum of the Philadelphia 76ers.

While Melo is very much a work in progress, his greatest quality while in college at Syracuse University was his defense and shot-blocking.

The key additions Boston made in the backcourt were Jason Terry and Courtney Lee.

Lee will start with Avery Bradley (shoulder), who's not expected back at the start of the season, and Terry will reprise his reserve role in Dallas as a high-impact sixth man off the C's bench.

Having both around will soften the blow of not having Bradley at the start of the season. In addition, they will also help fill the gaping hole left behind when Ray Allen decided to sign with the Miami Heat this summer.

As important as guard play will be to Boston's success, having enough frontcourt depth will be vital to Boston having the kind of postseason they envision.

In the C's seven-game series loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, Boston was plus-1 on the boards in their three wins. And in their four losses, the Celtics were out-rebounded by 30.

A big part of those struggles on the boards had to do with the C's having to go deeper into its frontcourt pool than intended.

But this season, the Celtics have addressed that clear area of weakness. Boston not only has enough bigs to compete. The Celtics now have enough bigs -- behind their primary bigs -- to make a legitimate charge at the only thing this franchise cares about: Banner 18.

Celtics break ground on new practice facility


Celtics break ground on new practice facility

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- When it comes to finding ways to attract the best talent, colleges and universities often seek to upgrade their training facilities as an enticement to prospective players.
So why should it be any different at the pro level?
The Boston Celtics had a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning for The Auerbach Center at New Balance Headquarters.
“When you think he was hired in 1966 and they’re still honoring him, it’s very humbling,” said Randy Auerbach, Red’s daughter.
New Balance officials echoed similar sentiments about the legendary Red Auerbach, the architect of arguably the greatest dynasty in professional basketball.
“Red Auerbach was a true entrepreneur whose passion for winning and dedication to the sport of basketball and the Boston Celtics was equally matched with his commitment to people and his local community,” said Jim Davis, Chairman and Owner at New Balance.  “New Balance is extremely proud to join with the Boston Celtics in honoring his professional achievements and personal values through ‘Red’s House’ at our Boston world headquarters.”
Celtics president Rich Gotham cited several benefits to moving the team to a state-of-the-art practice facility closer to Boston.
Among the reasons given was the potential for the practice facility to be a potential enticement for free agents.
“Players spend more time in the practice facility than they do in the arena they play in certainly, and maybe more than they do at home,” Gotham said. “So having a place where they feel comfortable, a place where they want to spend time to improve themselves across the board … it’s all coming together in a pretty big way. The best players know it’s integral to their success that make sure that support is there, that infrastructure is there. So when we’re out talking to a player, we’re going to be talking about this practice facility we’re building. Because we do think it’s an important part of our story.”
Some of the features of the new practice facility will include:
·  Two state-of-the-art parquet floor basketball courts where the team will practice
·  Leading edge audio-visual technology throughout the facility
·  Expanded strength and conditioning, training, and recovery facilities
·  Best-in-class locker rooms and players’ lounge
·  Physical therapy areas including hydrotherapy pools
·  Sports science and nutrition facilities
·  Expanded media work room, press conference and broadcast facilities
·  A flexible hospitality area designed for community relations activities, partner gatherings and other guest events
·  Work space for the team’s coaching and basketball front office staffs
While the facility will have all the bells and whistles you would come to expect in a new facility, Gotham said there will be a balance of sorts struck between that and the franchise’s longstanding history.
“What will be clear is it will be … at that intersection of, which is a strange intersection, of innovation but honoring our tradition,” Gotham said. “This will be a building that’s state-of-the-art, moving forward. But at the same time, I think one of the things we’re lucky to have is this treasure trove of great guys who came before us who left great wisdom and great quotes. You can see a lot of that built in. Coach Stevens is big on having motivational phrases around for the guys to see every single day when they come in for practice. If those come from Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, all the better. You’ll see us incorporating those kind of things.”   

Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster

Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster

BOSTON – One way or another, R.J. Hunter or James Young was not going to be a Boston Celtic by the end of the day Monday.
The Celtics made their choice by waiving Hunter just hours before the NBA deadline to trim their roster down to 15 players.
Hunter began to show signs of coming around near the end of training camp, but his improved play would eventually be too little too late.

This is certainly good news for Young, who like Hunter, made it clear that he wanted to remain with the Celtics. But it by no means should be seen as a victory for Young who is entering his third NBA season.
The 21-year-old is now part of the 15-man roster, but it still doesn’t address the issue of him playing better to where the Celtics might actually use him with some degree of regularity.
If not for Kelly Olynyk’s shoulder injury, which will keep him out of action until next month, there was a decent chance that Young would begin the season on the inactive roster. But to Young’s credit, he showed a level of dedication to the game that the Celtics had not seen before. He spent most of this past summer in Boston working on his game, trying to get physically stronger. During the preseason, his level of commitment to improving was noticeable as well.
And when he did get a chance to play in the preseason, he did a lot of little things really well, showing the kind of improvement that ultimately put him a leg up on Hunter whom the Celtics drafted last year with the 28th overall pick.
If Hunter isn’t claimed, he becomes an unrestricted free agent who can then sign with any team of his choosing. Do not be surprised if Hunter is claimed off waivers by a team which then assigns him to their Development League affiliate, similar to what the Celtics did with Ryan Kelly over the weekend.