Friday FT's: Shaq on Kobe; Krstic finds his groove


Friday FT's: Shaq on Kobe; Krstic finds his groove

Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that have not made the headlines but are still worth a read. In spite of the NBA lockout, there's still plenty of hoops to talk about.

How many times have you heard this before? Think Shaq vs. Kobe is over? Think again.

Rewind: Last month Bryant was asked about ONeal during a radio interview in Italy. Bryant said, I like players who work out. I used to do that 67 hours per day. I cannot stand players who practice for 30 minutes. I need to say something to them."

But cmon, did you really think this would be the end of it?

This week in an interview with the New York Times, ONeal addressed Bryants comments by choosing not to address them.

No, he said when asked if he had any response. I dont need to work out. My numbers speak for itself. My three finals M.V.P.s speaks for itself.

And so the saga lives on . . .

Krstic Finds His Groove

Need a laugh during the lockout? Nenad Krstic was one of the first NBA players to sign overseas this summer when he joined CSKA Moscow. So what has he been up to in Russia? Aside from playing basketball, of course, Krstic has been working on his moves off the court. Well, I guess you could sort of call it that. Check it out for yourself here.

Green, Perkins to Hoop it Up with Durant, James

Jeff Green and Kendrick Perkins are slated to participate in a high-profile exhibition game on Sunday night in Oklahoma City. Hosted by Greens former and Perkins current teammate Kevin Durant, the US Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational will also feature LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Michael Beasley, Jamal Crawford, Johnny Flynn, Rudy Gay, James Harden, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Amar'e Stoudemire, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Damien Wilkins, according to the event website.

Johnsons Celebrity Status

JaJuan Johnsons NBA debut is still on hold during the lockout, but this weekend he is going back to campus with celebrity status. On Saturday the rookie will be the guest celebrity at Purdue Universitys 12th Boiler Tailgate, an initiative against high-risk drinking. The Purdue Exponent writes, The tailgate, which begins at 9 a.m. outside of Lambert Field house, will be a host to a variety of entertainment for those in attendance. Aside from a veritable buffet of classic, not to mention free, tailgating foods, games and prizes, there will be Purdue themed music played by local band Woodstove Flapjacks, as well as celebrity appearances. Dallas Mavericks forward and former Boilermaker Brian Cardinal has been a guest at previous tailgates.

Celtics Tweet of the Week

@Marquis_Daniels: Back to AU in the morning continue to better myself if u want it you gotta go n get it ain't no way around it beleedat

Celtics Birthdays of the Week

Mel Counts, who won two championships with the Celtics in the 1960s, turned 70 on October 16 . . . Jay Humphries, who played the final six games of his career with the Celtics during the 1994-95 season, turned 49 on October 17 . . . Kevinn Pinkney turned 28 on October 20. He played six games for the Celtics during the 2006-07 season . . . Shelden Williams, who played for the Celtics during the 2009-10 season, turned 28 on October 21.

This Week in Celtics History

October 16 was the day for a trio of trades over the years: In 1984, the Celtics traded Gerald Henderson to the Seattle SuperSonics for the 1986 first-round draft pick that would later be used to select Len Bias. In 1987, the Cs traded Sam Vincent and Scott Wedman to the SuperSonics in exchange for a second-round pick in the 1988 draft (Sylvester Gray). In 2000, Celtics traded Calbert Cheaney and Robert Pack to the Denver Nuggets in a deal for Chris Herren and Bryant Stith . . . On October 19, 1994, the Celtics signed Greg Minor. He played his entire five-year career in Boston . . . On October 20, 2003, the Celtics traded Tony Delk and Antoine Walker to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Raef LaFrentz, Chris Mills, Jiri Welsch and a 2004 first-round draft pick (used to select Delonte West). The Celtics waived Darius Miles on that date in 2008 and Mario West on the same date in 2010 . . . The C's signed Marty Conlon as a free agent in October 21, 1999 (the same day former Celtic Sherman Douglas signed with the New Jersey Nets).

Celtics begin working out draft prospects Wednesday


Celtics begin working out draft prospects Wednesday

BOSTON – The Celtics’ practice facility will become a basketball port-of-call in the coming weeks as some of the best young talent passes through, all with the goal of doing their best to impress the Celtics’ brass.

Austin Ainge, the Celtics’ director of player personnel, said Boston will begin working out players on Wednesday with the first group consisting of six players - two guards, two forwards and two big men.
“We’ll put them through a lot of different situations,” Ainge, who declined to identify the six players working out on Wednesday, told “We’ll see how bigs are at guarding guards, and guards defending bigger players, some of the roles they would have to play if they were Celtics…We’ll get a good look at what they can do in a lot of different scenarios.”
With eight draft picks [three in the first round and five in the second], the list of players making the rounds will likely be longer than usual.
Ainge said he anticipated the Celtics will work out 80-100 players, which is slightly more than they usually do.
“With trades, you just never really know,” Ainge said. “So we try to work out players all the way through 60.”
Speaking of trades, Ainge anticipates the Celtics will be on the phone more than past years because they have so many picks and, by all indications, do not plan to use them all.
If Boston can’t package some of their picks to acquire more talent, the Celtics will look even closer than usual at drafting players from overseas with the intent that they don’t join Boston’s roster for a couple of years.
Because Boston has so many picks, you would think they would be in position to be more selective than past years when it came to who they brought in for workouts.
“With our picks, it is in a player’s best interest to work out for us,” Ainge acknowledged. “But for us, we want to see as many players as possible so that we can draft the best fit, the best player that’s available.”
The draft lottery later on May 17 will determine exactly where the Celtics will be selecting with the pick they acquired as part of the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce trade with Brooklyn in 2013.
Boston acquired three picks as part of the trade. They used the first one to draft James Young two years ago.
This past season, Brooklyn (21-61) finished with the third-worst record, which gives Boston a 15.6 percent chance that the Nets pick it receives will be the No. 1 overall selection. 
If Boston lands one of the top-two picks, a workout with LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram – the consensus top-two players in this year’s draft – is likely. And if the Celtics wind up with the No. 2 pick, they might work out Dragan Bender who is the top overseas prospect in this year’s draft.
In addition to the Brooklyn pick, which will be no worse than the sixth overall selection, Boston has another pair of first-round picks (16th and 23rd overall), along with five second-round picks (31st, 35th, 45th, 51st and 58th), at their disposal.


History of third-best odds in NBA draft lottery


History of third-best odds in NBA draft lottery

The NBA draft lottery is two weeks away, which means only two more weeks of hitting the “sim lottery” button on our computers while we should be doing work.

Since the weighted lottery system was modified before 1994 giving the team with the worst record a 25-percent chance at the No. 1 pick, the worst team has ended up with the No. 1 pick just three times, most recently the 2015 lottery to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The 25-percent chance, in short, means that out of 1,000 ping pong ball combinations, the worst team going into the lottery has 250 of those combinations. If one of those 250 combinations is pulled, the No. 1 pick goes to that team.

The number of combinations drops per team from worst team in lottery down to the best at No. 14. Since 2005, there are 16 playoff teams and 14 lottery teams. Where the lottery teams rank in record determines how many chances they have at a winning combination. The No. 14 team in the lottery has five chances.

The Boston Celtics go into the lottery holding the Brooklyn Nets’ pick. The Nets finished with the third-worst record this season, giving them 156 combinations, or a 15.6-percent chance at the No. 1 pick.

Combinations are pulled for the top three picks. After that, teams fall into place based on record.

The Celtics have a 46.9-percent chance at landing a Top 3 pick. Picks 1-3 break down virtually equal, at 15.6-percent for the No. 1 seed, 15.6-percent for the No. 2 seed, and 14.7-percent for the No. 3 seed.

Because three teams could leapfrog them (remember, combinations are chosen for just the top three picks), they could fall to as low as the No. 6 seed, but no further. Boston’s chances to land the No. 4 or No. 5 seed actually increase from the first three picks, as they have a 22.6-percent chance at No. 4 and a 26.5-percent chance at No. 5. A No. 6 seed would be extremely unlucky, as there’s just a 4-percent chance at that.

So the question you want to know: How many No. 3 seeds have ended up with the top pick? Since 1994, it’s happened five times, though based on teams with the same record that season, ping pong ball combinations varied. (Example: in 1994, the Bucks were tied with two other teams for the second-worst record, giving them 163 combinations. I included them as one of the five “No. 3 seeds” previously mentioned even though technically they weren’t - it’s close enough.)

The No. 3 seed has never gotten the second pick. It’s gotten the third pick three times, the fourth pick four times, the fifth pick nine times, and the sixth pick once.

Since 2005, the No. 3 lottery team has won the lottery twice (2009, 2013). Let’s take a look at every third-seeded lottery team since then, where there they ended up picking, and who ended up going third in that draft.

Click here for the complete breakdown of each lottery since 2005.