Highlights of Caserio's pre-draft rap

739240.jpg

Highlights of Caserio's pre-draft rap

Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio spent about 20 minutes on Thursday talking about the team's philosophies approaching the 2012 draft. While the talk was short on specific prospects, Caserio did a good job of explaining where the Patriots are in the draft process and how some things will unfold during this draft.

A few highlights:

Q. With a week to go, what's left to do?
Caserio: I think really its a matter of just organizing a lot of the information that we have. At this point we have everything I would say for the most part that we need as far as the evaluation. Well meet with our medical personnel, well go through the medical component because that always factors into it. Theres some other testing that we do with the players that theyve done at some of the all-star games. I think its a matter of pooling all the information into as concise a profile as we possibly can on a player which encompasses a number of things.

Once we have that kind of profile, then at this point its a matter of going through the board and I would say generally speaking its fairly well set but theres a vertical stacking and a horizontal stacking so then you start to go through it by position and look at the position individually but then relative to another position and then you start to work horizontally across.

The other thing that will come into play is well probably have a little more contact with some of the other clubs as we get a little bit closer to the draft, well have some of those discussions. Id say big picture the majority of the things have been completed. Now its just a matter of just pooling information, making sure that we feel comfortable about what we have on a player. Like I said, if theres anything outstanding that we dont feel good about, Ive personally gone out the day before the draft or even a few days before the draft to see a player, to work out a player that maybe we havent had as much exposure with during the spring or during the process. Well leave all avenues open, well explore it to the best of our abilities, this way come Thursday and the weekend, were ready to go. Q: Addressing the fact New England doesn't currently have any picks after the fourth round...
NC:Historically, theres been a lot of movement as it relates to our picks. Right now is where we are but the door is always open. I would say that those things kind of evolve as the draft sort of moves along. Well see how it goes. If we end up acquiring some of those picks back, great. If we dont, then well be prepared accordingly. I think we just have to let that play itself out and then see how it goes.But Id say that well still know that group of players, 100 through 250 or whatever it is so that were well versed so if theres an opportunity to make a decision on a player that we can go ahead and pull the trigger if we have the chance to do so.Q: In the end when you trade down and add picks for the next year, is that almost like buying stock in the next draft? You dont know what its going to look like but at least you have some latitude is that a decent analogy?NC: Maybe. It all depends on what you feel makes the most sense at the time. Weve traded back, weve traded up. It comes in many shapes and sizes. You try not to look too far into next year because theres an air of uncertainty. You dont really know what that quantity of players is going to look like. You may have some idea throughout the course of the fall when youre going through it but Id say for the most part youre focused on that year, youre focused on those players and youre just trying to figure out the value of the player, what his role is going to be for your team relative to where youre picking. Q: How would you categorize this draft?NC: Id say the influx of the underclassmen. I think its the most that applied for an evaluation through the league this year. Actually, I think its the most underclassmen that have declared and made themselves available. So the underclassmen are certainly a big part of the draft. Id say like every year, there are different positions, there are certain positions that are deeper than others. I think the quantity of front seven players, Id say is higher than its been in the past. There are some other positions where maybe there arent as many players. It evolves and it rotates every year. Id say every draft is sort of different just in terms of quality and quantity of player. Q: How hard is it to look at a Division II player and get a sense for how hes performing compared to a guy from Division I
NC: When youre looking at lower level competition players, whether its I-AA, Division II or Division III, youre looking for that player to really stand out relative to the rest of the competition. If hes a productive player at that level, part of you is anticipating that that production will carry over. Now, to what degree that is, thats another question. Theres a little bit more uncertainty because the players that hes playing against on a week-to-week basis are different than, lets just say, Luke Kuechly, who hes playing against on a week-to-week basis. You have to factor that into consideration. Id say its certainly part of our alert system, which we kind of talked about last year. You put the lower level of competition tag on him so that you know hes been a really productive player, youre not going to discount that but it has taken place against a lower level of competition. Youre trying to balance all those factors out, but in the end, if a guy is a good football player and hes a productive football player, that speaks volumes. You just have to figure out how thats going to translate over into our level. Q: On using positions of depth as trading chips for more picks.
NC: If those calls come then well listen. If its something that we feel makes sense, then well consider it. ... Id say most of those discussions are pretty generic or general. Well reach out to a team and just say, OK, you pick here, we pick here and just see whether or not they even entertain whether its moving up or moving down. Youre just trying to gauge what their level of interest is in doing any sort of business or any sort of transaction. But I would say honestly, those sort of materialize the day of the draft. I would say, just relative to where were picking right now, well talk to teams and kind of get a general sense of the landscape but until that actual moment comes, until were actually in the draft room and the phone rings, well listen and if its something that makes sense, well consider it and if not, then we wont.

Q: Do you look at the teams in front of you? Do you weigh the interests of other teams? How do you organize their interests and how much do you weigh it when youre trying to decide whether or not you should move up?NC: I think those are some discussions that well have next week. Our pro scouting staff, Jason Licht and Bob Quinn and those guys, we put together a needs analysis, or a needs book if you will and just try to look at the team, look at the landscape of the team, look at the players that theyve added, look at the players that theyve lost so you maybe get a general sense of where the team is at this particular point in time. So you have an idea. Maybe theres a player they visited or that theyve earmarked or may coincide with some of the players that youve looked at. You kind of weigh all those things and ultimately you decide, OK, if it makes sense and who are those players or if another player at another position has the same value. Well certainly look at that, Id say thats definitely part of our week before the draft process, just kind of having understanding of where other teams are with respect to this time of year.

Q: You said you made visits right before the draft. Any examples over the years?

NC: Sure. We actually went down, Dante Scarnecchia went down last year and saw Nate Solder the week before. There were a couple things we wanted to get some clarification on. It kind of solidified a few thoughts that we had. In the short term theres an example right there. Was that the end-all, was that the reason that we made the decision? I wouldnt say that necessarily was the case but Id say that was a part of it so you put all of that together. Nate is an example. There are other examples like that.

Q: Any like that that youve had personally?

NC: Yeah, whether or not I want to disclose that, thats another situation. Yeah, I cant even remember the year honestly, when it was, but I went and worked out a player, I want to say it literally was the day before and it was a later round draft pick as it turned out. But you get put on the spot a little bit because not a lot of people have seen the player or spent as much time with them this is back in the day when I was just trying to figure it all out.

Q: How do you reconcile guys who are still making decisions about their football futures like Brian Waters and Matt Light against what you have to do in a week at key positions?

NC: I think our thinking wont change. Well approach it the same way and well deal with things on a day-to-day basis however they unfold.

Q: Has Matt Light informed you either way?

NC: I think Matt made some comments yesterday from what I could gather so I dont really have anything to add other than what Matt said.

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

MORE:

But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."

Stars, studs and duds: Lillard steps up in second half, overtime

Stars, studs and duds: Lillard steps up in second half, overtime

BOSTON – Saturday was yet another night when the opposing team – this time it was the Portland Trail Blazers – that up the Boston Celtics with an avalanche of points that ended in a 127-123 overtime loss.

And yet through the rubble of all those lay-ups and put-back baskets and mid-range jumpers, Stevens saw something he has not seen in a while – hope that better days defensively were coming sooner rather than later.

MORE:

“As crazy as it sounds with them scoring (127) … I actually thought we were a lot closer to defending the way we want to defend," said Stevens. "I thought we were really locked into those guards, and I thought we tried to make it as tough as possible. Those guys are really good players, obviously, but I thought, I thought we did a lot of good things in that regard.”

For the most part, Boston and Portland played a relatively even game that wasn’t decided until the final minute of overtime.

“They just made more plays down the stretch,” said Boston’s Al Horford.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

He tends to get second billing to Damian Lillard, but he was a first rate problem for the Celtics. He led the Blazers with 35 points on 11-for-21 shooting.

Damian Lillard

After a foul-troubled first half, Lillard stepped up like the All-Star he is in the second half to finish with 28 points and seven assists which included seven of Portland’s 14 points in overtime.

Isaiah Thomas

It was another dynamic scoring night for Thomas, finishing with a game-high 41 points which included 21 in the fourth quarter and overtime.


STUDS

Terry Rozier

Making the most of his chance to play due to injuries and illnesses, Rozier came up with a number of big shots all night. He finished with 15 points which included a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds in the fourth that forced overtime.

Mason Plumlee

In addition to doing a solid job protecting the rim, Plumlee also tallied a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds while dishing out a game-high eight assists.

Meyers Leonard

Easily the big X-factor of the game, Leonard had 17 points off the bench on 6-for-7 shooting.

 

DUDS

Celtics Turnovers

This is the one area where the Celtics have been really good all season. Saturday? Not so much. Boston turned the ball over a season-high 21 times which accounted for 34 points for the Blazers.