Melo ready, willing to learn from Garnett

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Melo ready, willing to learn from Garnett

ALLSTON, Mass. Training camp is months away, but the Kevin Garnett School for Big Men is already in session.

Shortly after the Celtics drafted Syracuse University center Fab Melo with the No. 22 pick in last months NBA draft, Garnett wasted no time reaching out to him.

I want to learn from him. Hes an energy guy. I have a lot of energy for the game, too, said Melo, who along with the Celtics other two draft picks (Jared Sullinger and second-round pick Kris Joseph) was at the Jackson MannHorace Mann Education Complex. With my passion and his passion for the game, I think well do great things.

Garnett, a free agent this summer, has agreed to a three-year deal worth about 34 million.

His return to the floor bodes well not only for the Celtics this season in terms of what he brings to the floor. It also benefits the next generation of Celtics players -- players like Melo who for now at least, is receptive to Garnetts teachings.

In recent years, Boston has added a number of big men who have all bought into Garnetts teachings.

Its not a coincidence that a player like Semih Erden for example, never had quite as much success elsewhere as he did with the Celtics.

KG, he helped me a lot when I was in Boston, Erden told CSNNE.com. He talk. He teach. He helped me become a better player.

Erden was traded in the middle of his rookie season to Cleveland. With the Cs, he averaged 4.1 points and 2.9 rebounds while appearing in 37 games (7 starts). With the Cavs, both his scoring and rebounding numbers were down despite being with a weaker team.

And while Melo has yet to have his first practice with Garnett, he has been warned about how quickly Garnett tunes young players out if theyre not ready to listen and work hard because in Garnetts mind, the two go hand-in-hand.

Celtics second-year forward JuJuan Johnson heard similar warnings after the Celtics drafted him in the first round last year.

Johnson made a point of trying to soak in any and all of Garnetts teachings.

And KG responded by sharing tips on and off the court, on bus rides to the various arenas and on plane rides from city to city.

KG has been great for me, Johnson told CSNNE.com near the end of this past season. He says a lot of really good things, but he doesnt just talk. He goes out there and puts in the time to get better. You see a guy as good as he is, still trying to get better, it makes you want to work that much harder. You want to do well for yourself, but you dont want to let him or any of your teammates down, either.

Melos departure from Syracuse was anti-climatic with him being suspended for the Oranges postseason run which ended at the hands of Ohio State and the Cs other first-round pick, Jared Sullinger.

For Melo, that is in the past now, a situation he can do nothing to change.

Now, the focus is on trying to become the best professional player he can be. And a big part of that process begins with listening to Garnett, who is already in the rookies ear.

Im ready, Melo told CSNNE.com. Im ready for it. I cant want to be out there with my new teammates, learning from KG. Its going to be fun.

He says that now . . .

Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

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Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Pinpointing the exact moment Al Horford made up his mind to become a Boston Celtics isn’t clear, but the seeds of that decision can be traced back to last year’s playoffs – and no we’re not talking about the playoff series between Boston and Atlanta, either.
 
It was the Hawk’s second-round playoff series back in May against Cleveland, a team that swept them out of the Conference finals in 2015 and did so again last about five months ago.
 
Horford had every intention of returning to Atlanta, but as the free agency period wore on two things became quite clear: Winning an NBA title would have to go through Cleveland and it happening with him in Atlanta was becoming more and more unlikely.
 
In came the Celtics with a pitch that was heavy on present-day and down-the-road potential that wouldn’t require him to do anything other than continue to play the way he has for the past nine seasons.
 
“It (becoming a Celtic) became real for me real late and real quick,” Horford told CSNNE.com on Wednesday.
 
After mulling it over for a couple days, Horford said he was ready to become a Celtic.
 
“This could be a great opportunity even though I’m leaving a lot behind,” Horford said.
 
As you listen to Horford speak, it’s clear that the Celtics mystique played a role in his decision to sign with Boston.

 But as much as the Celtics’ lore and its on-the-rise status helped, there were certain events that Boston had no control over that actually helped their cause.
 
First the Hawks got in on a three-team trade in June with Utah and Indiana which sent Hawks All-Star point guard Jeff Teague to the Pacers while Atlanta received Utah’s first-round pick which was 12th overall and was used by Atlanta to select Baylor’s Taurean Prince. The move allowed Atlanta’s Dennis Schroeder to slide over into the now-vacant starting point guard position.
 
While it may help Atlanta down the road, it did little to move them closer towards knocking off Cleveland anytime soon.
 
And then there was the Hawks coming to terms on a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Dwight Howard early in the free agency period. That deal coupled with Atlanta’s desire to bring Kent Bazemore back, cast serious doubt as to whether Horford would return.
 
Horford, who inked a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston, told CSNNE.com that at the time of Atlanta’s deal with Howard, he was still open to the idea of returning.
 
But if Horford did, he knew figuring out the best way to play him, Howard and Paul Millsap who by the way has a player option that he’s likely to exercise which would make him a free agent next summer, was not going to be easy.

“It was definitely going to be different,” Horford said, then adding, “For me, the Celtics were becoming more and more a realistic option. After talking with my family, we felt this was the best for me.”
 
And while it’s still very early in his tenure as a Celtic, Horford has no regrets or second thoughts about his decision.
 
“As a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”
 
And that alone makes him a good fit with this franchise which from ownership to the front office to the coaching staff and of course the players, are all focused on one thing and that’s bringing home Banner 18.
 
 “Look at the resume. He’s been a winner wherever he’s played,” said Boston’s Amir Johnson. “It’s good to have a guy like that, with his talent and with his winning, playing next to you.”