OFFSEASON

Rivers has Celtics working on small ball early in camp

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Rivers has Celtics working on small ball early in camp

WALTHAM There was plenty of jokes and small talk surrounding the Celtics' impending trip to Europe on Monday, but the team does actually have a practice before they go.

Losing a day of camp due to travel means that there's certainly no time to take the days available for granted. So how did the C's tackle Monday's session before liftoff?

In a small way. Small ball, to be exact.

Based on how the team's roster is constructed, the C's have the ability to put out combinations of players that slide into multiple roles. They're deep at the guard position, and that's not even counting an injured Avery Bradley. Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry will all see time at the shooting guard position, with Lee being able to play at small forward as well.

Green is a small forward but will see time at the power forward position, and don't be surprised if Paul Pierce makes appearances there too in certain small ball lineups.

So, yeah, a lineup or Rondo, Terry, Lee, PierceGreen, and Bass is very possible but only if it works in practice.

"We put small lineups in yesterday but we didn't work on it, so today we're going to almost exclusively have small lineups on the floor, and we're going to change them all around, so that'll be fun," Doc Rivers said. "This is the first year that we've actually really worked on it, and we're going to work on it so we can do it every day."

The Celtics have used small ball lineups in the past, dating back to the days of James Posey, so the notion that this is uncharted territory is a bit off. Still, Rivers making a point to focus on it proves that it should be a bigger part of the offense this season.

"I don't know if we'll use more small ball but we'll use it effectively," Rivers said. "So we'll be able to go back and forth. We'll be able to go big too, with Jeff and Paul at the two and three. So we have a lot of lineups on paper that look good, and we'll see how they look when the season starts."

With all the possible lineups, Rivers is sounding more and more like Bill Belichick and his love for versatility.

Speaking on the backup point guard position, Rivers commended Terry's ball-handling skills, calling him a "natural at the point". That said, he also noted that if Rondo isn't in the game, the team is looking to "create offense so it's not a point guard-dominant offense." That most likely means getting out on the break, using athleticism over set plays

Multiple lineups. Multiple looks. Multiple sets. Pick and roll. Motion. Half-court. Up-tempo. You name it, it looks like Rivers is considering it.

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

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Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

The Celtics will sign free agent Gerald Green, the guard they drafted with the 18th overall pick back in 2005, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported.

Green, 30, played for the Miami Heat last season and averaged 8.9 points a game. Deveney reports Green will sign a one-year guaranteed contract. 

Green has been well-traveled since being traded by the Celtics in the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007, the year he won the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest. He has played for seven other NBA teams and played two seasons in Russia. His best season was 2013-14 in Phoenix when he averaged 15.8 points a game for the Suns. 

Deveney also reports that sources around the league continue to indicate the Celtics are looking to make a trade for a "star-caliber type" player. Last week, he reported on their interest in the Clippers' Blake Griffin. 

 

OFFSEASON

Celtics are anything but "a middle of the road team"

Celtics are anything but "a middle of the road team"

Charles Barkley said Friday that the Boston Celtics are a "middle of the road team in no man's land." Kevin O'Connor joined Greg Dickerson on Sports Tonight and explained just how foolish of a statement that is.

Make sure you watch the video above, but here are some of the key stats O'Connor mentions regarding the state of the Celtics.

Competitive teams rarely select at the top of the draft, but the Celtics have already done it before and could again in 2017 and 2018. Over the last 40 years, only 10 teams have won at least 45 games and used a top five pick in the draft. Here’s the list:

PLAYER TEAM WINS YEAR PICK
Greg Ballard Washington 48 1977 4
Mychal Thompson Portland 58 1978 1
Magic Johnson LA Lakers 47 1979 1
Kevin McHale Boston 61 1980 3
James Worthy LA Lakers 57 1982 1
Charles Barkley Philadelphia 52 1984 5
Sam Bowie Portland 48 1984 2
Len Bias Boston 67 1986 2
Darko Milicic Detroit 50 2003 2
Jaylen Brown Boston 48 2016 3

Two of those teams won a single championship (Washington and Detroit). Two became dynasties (Boston and the Lakers). Four of the players are Hall of Famers (Johnson, McHale, Worthy, Barkley). You’ll also find Jaylen Brown, who could be a cornerstone even if we don’t know it yet.

If they play their cards right and the Nets struggle as much as everyone expects them to, they’ll be right back in the conversation for another star next season. Due to their tremendous flexibility, that could happen through the draft, the trade market, or free agency.

For more on this topic, click here.

OFFSEASON

Carroll: Crowder doesn't understand what it takes to win in playoffs

Carroll: Crowder doesn't understand what it takes to win in playoffs

Celtics forward Jae Crowder recently said, “Toronto is not a team we’re worried about,” and Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll thinks that's a silly comment to make.

“It’s a comment from a person who hasn’t really been in the playoffs that much. That’s how I reacted to that type of comment. When you haven’t been on that level and you don’t understand what it takes to get to that level. Myself going to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals, I understand what it takes,” Carroll said on SportsNet.ca. “It’s a comment from a guy who hasn’t been on that level, who hasn’t played on that level. It sounds like a young comment.”

The Raptors won 56 games last season and went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before falling in six games to the Cavaliers, so Carroll is right that he’s speaking from experience.

But you can understand the confidence Crowder has. After winning 48 games last season, the Celtics just landed Al Horford, and they have repeatedly said they’re not done making moves. So perhaps their roster will look even better on Opening Night than it does right now.

Carroll doesn’t care about that though.

“We’ll let Jae Crowder do all the talking,” Carroll said. “We’ll just fly under the radar and do what we’re supposed to do.”

The Celtics went 1-3 versus the Raptors last season. They better hope they perform better next season, or Carroll might be the one talking.