Pierce on Garnett: 'I tell him all the time he should shoot more 3s'

628428.jpg

Pierce on Garnett: 'I tell him all the time he should shoot more 3s'

BOSTON When you beat a team by 36 points, chances are pretty good that there will be a few out-of-the-ordinary scoring moments.

Near the end of the second quarter in Boston's 100-64 win over Toronto, Kevin Garnett had the ball with just a few ticks on the clock.

So he did what seemingly came natural -- he raised up for a 3-pointer and knocked it down, the kind of shot that we seldom see Garnett take, let alone make.

It was just his fifth made 3-pointer -- out of 30 attempts -- since joining the Celtics in 2007.

That means Garnett has connected on just 16.7 percent of his 3s with the Celtics.

He had a higher 3-point percentage in Minnesota, but not that much higher.

In his 12 seasons with the Timberwolves, Garnett shot 28.8 percent on 3s.

So as you can imagine, Doc Rivers isn't quite ready to see Garnett launching 3s like Ray Allen or Paul Pierce.

When asked about Garnett's 3-point shooting and how he may look to shoot more in the future, Rivers quipped, "it's the worst thing that could have happened."

It's not that unusual for Garnett to pull up for 3s in practice -- and actually make them.

And if you look at his 16-plus seasons in the NBA, Garnett took a decent number of 3s every year while in Minnesota.

"I tell him all the time he should shoot more 3s," said Paul Pierce. "I see him take 3s all the time in practice and he knocks them down consistently. He shoots a lot of his long range two-pointers are almost near the (three-point line) so it's only one step back. He has that kind of range."

Tanguay: Celtics should roll the dice on Dragan Bender

sherrod_mock523_1280x720_691348547651.jpg

Tanguay: Celtics should roll the dice on Dragan Bender

Danny Ainge recently hinted on Toucher & Rich that the Celtics were interested in drafting Dragan Bender.

And they need to do exactly that. 

No, I'm not crazy. Neither is Danny.

Drafting Bender is the Celtics' best option. As Ainge pointed out, his job is to make the move that's best for the team. Not just for the short term, but for the long haul.

Now, I can't say I've been to Croatia to work out Bender. Like many of you, I 've only seen him via the Internet.

It is easy to look at him and think he’s a project. That’s because he is. He’s 18 and, even though he's 7 feet tall, he only weighs about 220 soaking wet. He's a kid, too skinny at the moment for the NBA, and would no doubt get killed if you put in the post today.

And, like I said, I'm not crazy. I'm not committed to Bender. If  Sacramento calls and offers Boogie Cousins for any combination of picks the Celtics have, the deal should be made immediately. To a degree, I feel the same way about Jimmy Butler. However, the consensus is those two players aren't going anywhere. (And even if they are available, suppose the Lakers decide to dangle the No. 2 pick for either of them? That would make a trade nearly impossible for Boston.)

But if the Celtics keep the third pick -- and he isn't taken by either Philly or L.A. (highly unlikely) -- Dragen Bender should be Ainge's choice. And it will be the right move.

Let’s break it down.

There's just no one else in this draft with Bender's upside. Buddy Hield is a 22-year-old shooting guard who completely disappeared in the NCAA championship game. He has a shot to be a very good NBA player, but he won’t transform the organization. Neither would Jamal Murray from Kentucky. Nor Kris Dunn from Providence.

The risk for Bender is HUGE. The reward is even HUGER. Ah, that’s not a word, right? Well then, BIGGER THAN HUGE! Or HUGEST!

Bender could be that guy.

And, I also admit, he also wind up playing in Europe or Israel.

Still, Danny has to roll the dice on this guy.

Bender can handle the ball, block shots, shoot the 3, and -- like all European players -- is fundamentally sound. The issue for this kid is toughness in the low post and getting stronger. I put my money on Celtics strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo to get him ready for NBA life.

And I'm not one those boneheads who are pushing for Bender because Kristaps Porzingis has worked out for the Knicks. One has nothing to do with the other. For every Porzingis there's at least one Stojko Vrankovic. Or Darko Milicic.

Take Bender, Danny. In two years this guy may have gained 15 to 20 pounds of muscle, learned the rigors on and off the court of the NBA, and look like the next Porzingis, Or Dirk Nowitzki or Porzingis. Then use the other two Brooklyn first-round picks, and the Celtics could be back on their way to greatness.

But if you play it safe, Danny, and don't take Bender, the Green will simply be stuck in the mud of mediocrity.