Friday Free Throws: Ranking Rondo, the Jet has landed

776812.jpg

Friday Free Throws: Ranking Rondo, the Jet has landed

Welcome to the return of Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information about the Boston Celtics that have not made the headlines but are still worth a read.

The debate over Rajon Rondos ranking among top NBA point guards has been going on for years. He can pass, but can he shoot? He is a dangerous defender, but does he have a jumpshot? Does he play well because of his teammates around him?
This summer Rondo reportedly attested in a French interview that he is the best point guard in the NBA. (Would you expect him to say anything less?) Bleacher Report recently asked Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers about Rondos opinion and Chalmers shared his own ... but not without entering his own name into the mix:Peter Emerick: "Rajon Rondo recently said that he's the NBA's top point guard. What are your thoughts on that, and where do you think you rank among all the point guards in the NBA?"Mario Chalmers: "He's not the best, but he's in the top five. There are a lot of great point guards in the league, Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Steve Nash. There are a lot of great guards in the NBA so for him to say he's the best is a pretty bold statement. I'd say that I Mario Chalmers am in the front end of the top 10."Last season Rondo led the league with 11.7 assists per regular season game and 11.9 in the playoffs. During the regular season Nash ranked second with 10.7 assists per game, Paul ranked third with 9.1, and Williams ranked fifth with 8.7. Chalmers rounded out the top 40 among all players with 3.5 dimes per game.
Lee, Daniels on Their Grind
Cs guard Courtney Lee and former Celtics-current free agent Marquis Daniels were getting ready for the upcoming season together during a workout at the OHoops training facility in Oviedo, Florida. Lee, who was drafted by the Orlando Magic in 2008, and Florida-native Daniels paused for a photo with Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, tweeted by OHoops: big time workout with @Marquis_Daniels @ChandlerParsons @CourtneyLee2211.

The Jet is on the Runway
With training camp starting next month, Jason Terry is packing up and settling down in Boston. On Wednesday the veteran guard, who signed with the Celtics this summer, posted a photo of a moving track captioned, "The Jet is on the runway I'm a miss you Dallas you'll always b Home! THANK YOU 4 your Support." The following day, Terry posted a picture of a Celtics logo that read, "Welcome to Boston Terry Family." He titled the post, "Home sweet Home." Terry played eight seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and won a championship with the team in 2011. This month he tattooed Lucky the Leprechaun on his arm to express his commitment to winning a title with the Celtics.

Garnett Inspires the Brow
During an interview with the New York Times, New Orleans Hornets rookie Anthony Davis was asked which NBA player he compares himself to. Who did the number one overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft choose? One of the best in the league, of course. Kevin Garnett, Davis replied. And I like how hard he goes, and he plays good defense along with his offense. The 6-10, 220 pound big man averaged 14.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game during his freshman (and only) season at the University of Kentucky. He will face off against Garnett for the first time on January 16 in Boston.
Celtics Tweet of the Week
@paulpierce34: U kno I gotta have a couple girls with me while at the beach it's the only way pic.twitter.com1I2hhmEI

Celtics Birthdays of the Week
Celtics Hall of Famer Tom Heinsohn turned 78 on August 26. Heinsohn played his entire nine-year career in Boston, winning eight championships and earning five NBA all-star selections. He averaged 18.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Heinsohn also coached the C's for another nine seasons and won two titles in that role. He is currently a Celtics television broadcaster....Current Celtic Jeff Green celebrated his 26th birthday on August 28. Green, who missed last season with cardiac surgery, signed a four-year contract with the C's this month. The Celtics originally selected Green with the fifth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and traded him to the Seattle SuperSonics as part of the Ray Allen deal....The late Skippy Whitaker, who wore number five more than 50 years before Kevin Garnett, was born on August 29, 1930. He played three games for the Celtics during the 1954-55 season....Like Heinsohn, another Hall of Famer celebrated a birthday this week. Robert Parish turned 59 on August 30. He won three championships during his 14 seasons with the Celtics. Parish leads all NBA players (past and current) in most career games played (1,611)....Former Celtic and Connecticut native Ryan Gomes will turn 30 on September 1. Gomes was drafted by the Celtics with the 50th overall pick in 2005. He played two seasons in Boston before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the blockbuster Garnett deal. Last season he averaged 2.3 points and 1.9 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game for the Los Angeles Clippers.

This Week in Celtics History
On August 26, 2005, the Celtics signed free agent Dwayne Jones. 17 years earlier, they signed Ramon Rivas on the same date. Both played one season for the Celtics. ... James Posey joined the Celtics on August 27, 2007. That season he played an integral role off the bench in the Celtics championship run. Posey signed a multi-year deal with the New Orleans Hornets the following summer.

Thomas excited for reunion with Green

celtics-gerald-green.jpg

Thomas excited for reunion with Green

WALTHAM, Mass. -- When the phone rang this summer, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas had to do a double-take when he saw the name on the caller ID.

It was Gerald Green, his ex-teammate in Phoenix.

Although they only shared a locker room for 45 games in Phoenix, the two became quick friends.

On the court they developed instant chemistry while coming off the Suns bench. And that bond spilled off the court as Green would later spend time with Thomas in the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. area in the summer months.

They were cool with each other, cool enough to where Thomas knew it wasn’t in Green’s nature to pick up the phone and call just to say hi.

“Gerald doesn’t call anybody,” Thomas said. “When he called I knew something was up.”

Green said Boston, the team that drafted him in 2006 straight out of high school, was interested in bringing him back for a second stint with the club.

“I tried to put my two cents in and he got here,” Thomas said.

There were several factors that led Green back to Boston, with a chance to reunite with Thomas being high on that list.

Green, already in Phoenix at the time the Suns signed Thomas in 2014, was impressed with the way the 5-9 guard carried himself.

“He was a genuine guy, came in really humble,” Green said. “I saw the talent was there. I knew he had the potential to be one of the best point guards in this league.”

Thomas certainly made a case for such lofty praise with how he performed last season, good enough to earn his first all-star selection.

What really stuck out to Green was that Thomas’ mentality and approach to the game was almost a carbon copy of his own.

“When we stepped on the court we had the same mentality,” Green said. “By any means necessary, get a bucket and play harder than the next team; just try and push the first team, make the first team better every day.”

Thomas was coming off the bench, showing lots of potential and promise that he could carry a heavier load if given an opportunity to do so.

He averaged 15.2 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 25.7 minutes off the Suns bench in 46 games. Even more significant was that when Thomas did play for the Suns, they were 26-20.

In the games without him, they were just 13-23.

Green was admittedly disappointed they traded away Thomas, believing that season would have had a very different outcome had they not sent him to Boston.

And just like Green recognized Thomas’ skills and how much his team could have benefited from keeping him around, Thomas speaks in glowing terms about Green and what his return to Boston means for the team.

“We needed someone like him; a guy that could shoot the ball, a guy that could space the floor; instant scorer whether he starts or comes off the bench,” Thomas said. “Where the he starts or come off the bench. He’s going to really help us.”

Horford, Johnson wasting no time in developing chemistry

Horford, Johnson wasting no time in developing chemistry

WALTHAM, Mass. – When the news came out that Al Horford was going to be a Boston Celtic, Amir Johnson couldn’t wait to meet his new teammate.

He didn’t have to.

Johnson soon found himself on plane headed to Atlanta to not only work out with Horford, but also try and work out some of the kinks that tend to come up among new teammates in those early days of training camp.

“I took it upon myself when I saw Al was part of the team, I automatically wanted to go down to Atlanta and work,” said Johnson who added that he brought his daughter along for the trip and they went to dinner with Horford’s family during the visit. “I thought it was great just to get that chemistry going. I just wanted to get to known him, make him feel comfortable.”

It’s still early in training camp, but Johnson and Horford seem to be meshing quite well on the floor. 

“The chemistry’s definitely coming along,” Johnson said. “I know when Al wants to roll or pop, and just working my way around it. Al’s more of a popper and eventually he’ll roll. It’s up to me to read whether I stay up or work the baseline.”

Johnson has been in the NBA long enough to know that often the keys to success are subtle nuances that may be overlooked by fans and spectators, but players know are essential to them being successful.

Being able to not only understand a player’s game but figure out how to play well with them, are critical to teammates being successful.

Last season, Johnson was Boston’s primary rim-protecting big man which is a role the 29-year-old Johnson has been cast in the last few years he was in Toronto. Horford brings a similar set of defensive skills to the table which gives Boston a true 1-2 defensive punch along the frontline.

“It’s big time,” Johnson said. “We communicate to each other. It’s all about communication out there; just knowing he can hold it down and he trusts me to hold it down. It’s key.”

GREEN INJURY UPDATE

Gerald Green is expected to get a few more days to rest his hip flexor injury which he said on Thursday was feeling better.

The injury should keep the 6-6 wing from participating in the team’s Green-White scrimmage on Friday, but it isn’t considered serious.

Still, Green is eager to get back and return to full contact work which is why he is getting a steady diet of treatments during the day and returning in the evening for more treatments from the Celtics’ medical staff.

“It’s almost like a precautionary thing; make sure it doesn’t get worst,” Green said.

The injury occurred earlier this week but Green could not pinpoint exactly what he did to suffer the injury.

“I don’t think I stretched properly,” Green said. “I’m not 25 no more. Just try to come out there and go at full speed. Those are things I’ve got to learn now I’m in my 30s.”
Indeed, one of the many benefits of being older now is that Green sees the big picture of things better now, which is why he isn’t trying to rush back to the floor too quickly.

As a veteran, it’s a long season,” Green said. “You’re not trying to do too much to make it worst. Training camp is important, but being healthy at the beginning of the season is even more important.”

RUN, YOUNGSTERS, RUN

Near the end of Thursday’s practice, the Celtics had a full court game of 3-on-3 involving some of the team’s rookies and end-of-the-bench training camp invitees like Jalen Jones of Texas A&M. The 6-7 undrafted rookie had a dunk over Jordan Mickey, a 3-pointer and another strong, uncontested flush at the rim in a matter of minutes. He’s likely to wind up with Boston’s Developmental League team, the Maine Red Claws.

With Thursday morning’s session being the team’s fifth practice this season, head coach Brad Stevens thought it was a good idea to get some of the team’s younger players on the court.

“It was good to play some 3-on-3,” said Stevens who added that it was good for their conditioning since a lot of the running at this point involves trying to get the starters and the likely rotation players as acclimated and familiar with one another as possible. “We try to do that occasionally even through the season just to get everybody up and down.”

TURNOVERS? WHAT TURNOVERS?

Five practices in the books and there’s only one thing that really has stood out to the eyes of Isaiah Thomas.

It’s turnovers.

Apparently the Celtics haven’t committed too many thus far.

“We haven’t turned the ball over as much as teams usually do the first couple of days,” Thomas said. “We’re trying to learn the system, trying to get everybody familiar with what we do. But we’ve been playing well together. Guys are playing hard. Guys have gotten better, worked on their game.”

Ball-handling will be one of the areas to watch during the preseason as the Celtics look to find a replacement for Evan Turner (Portland) who has been one of the team’s best ball-handlers the past couple of seasons.

The Celtics were middle-of-the-pack last season with 13.5 turnovers per game which ranked 14th in the NBA.

Low turnovers often serve as a common trait among playoff teams. Just last season, eight of the top-nine teams in fewest turnovers committed, were in the playoffs.