Allen's tough love for Wafer pays off

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Allen's tough love for Wafer pays off

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Ray Allen has been hard on Von Wafer. He critiques his game. He tells him right from wrong. He urges him to be a good teammate.

He doesnt always tell him what he wants to hear -- he tells him what he needs to hear.

And Wafer loves every word of it.

Allen sees potential in Wafer beyond the coach-imposed ejection during a playoff game during his time with the Houston Rockets, the European career-gone-sour, and the altercation with Delonte West earlier this season.

Allen sees a 25-year-old with the opportunity to establish himself on a championship-contending team this season. So hes tough on him.

He believes that underneath Wafers previous reputation, there is a good NBA player. But talent alone doesnt guarantee success, and Allen is pushing him to reach that next level.

I believe that he has the talent to do what I do out there on the floor, Allen told CSNNE.com. He can shoot the ball, he can get to the hole, hes got athletic ability. But at this stage, theres a lot of guys that have that. Hes on the same team as I am, he has the ability to learn from me, from what I do on a daily basis. He has the ability to learn from Paul (Pierce).

But the question is, does he want to learn? One. And two, mentally, can he stay with it to try to gain whatever expertise he needs to become one the best players in this league?

Those questions have tested Wafer this season. Rather than letting his pride get in the way, Wafer is putting his guard down to be receptive to Allens challenges. He has learned that criticism can be constructive, which has helped him improve his game.

Ray stays on me in a good way. I love that, Wafer told CSNNE.com. Sometimes Ive been in the past dealing with guys that just try to bring negative attention toward you, make you look bad, but Ray is genuinely helping me and its done wonders for me. Hes constantly telling me to watch what he does and he watches what I do and he critiques me on it. Its been helping.

Injuries on the Celtics have created the opportunity for Wafer to see more playing time. He is averaging more than 10 minutes in the last five games, including nearly 16 on Monday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Wafer put together his best performance as a Celtic, posting 10 points (4-8 FG) and six rebounds. The last time he scored 10 points (excluding preseason) was May 17, 2009 with the Rockets, a Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals.

On Monday, there was a different result - and Wafer was part of the success.

We give him a lot of crap about it because I think on Media Day he says, Im an offensive player was his quote, said Doc Rivers. Hes proven to us that hes more than that. I think a lot of players have that in them, they just dont know it sometimes, and were getting it out of him. And hes actually enjoying it. Its funny to watch him. He gets excited about defensive stops now, and thats great because I get excited about that as well.

Fitting into the Celtics system is important to Wafer. He is on his sixth NBA team since being drafted in 2005, and Allen has stressed the importance of sticking with one squad.

I just want to be a good teammate, said Wafer. Just try not to be difficult to deal with and try to treat everybody the way I want to be treated. I think thatll go far in the end. Im learning. Im doing a lot of things differently. I think I had a lot of bad ways. I dont feel like Im a bad person. I just think I was immature and didnt know. But what Im learning from Ray is the right way to do it and how to do it. I think its helped a lot.

It takes a committed work ethic to make it on the Celtics. That goes beyond the basketball season, too.

Wafer recognizes there is a difference between saying he wants something and doing it. He admits that sticking with a regimen during the summer will be a test, and is aware of the obstacles that lie ahead to develop a routine.

Wafer knows it wont be easy. He has seen discipline pay off for Allen, though, and looks to follow that example - even if it will be a mental and physical challenge along the way.

I really want it. I want it really badly, he said. Theres no doubt, but its easy to sit here and say you want something, but when youre going through it, you learn a lot about yourself.

This is where Allen hopes his conversations will make a difference. If Mondays performance was any indication, their talks are paying off.

Im proud of him, said Allen. He knows that doing everything the right way, theres a reward to it. He can see because I know how he felt today. Everybody came in and told him great job, and Im sure the media talked to him, so hes like, okay Ive got to continue this trend.

One game is not enough for Wafer. Allen has shown him that hard work will pay off over time, and he hopes this is just the beginning.

Said Wafer, I cant wait for my chance to come to try to put out there what Rays taught me because I think Ive become a much better basketball player.

Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:www.twitter.comjcameratonba

Wojnarowski thinks Celtics are perfect candidate for Jimmy Butler trade

Wojnarowski thinks Celtics are perfect candidate for Jimmy Butler trade

Most NBA teams would benefit from adding Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler. But few NBA have the assets to acquire him. The most legitimate suitor in the NBA resides in Boston.

"The potential of a Boston-Chicago deal for Jimmy Butler -- I think it will loom over the entire week," Yahoo! NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said Saturday. "These teams have engaged on the potential of this trade. They have not gotten far down the road on it. There still needs to be alignment within the Bulls organization -- from ownership to management -- that they want to make the decision to enter a full rebuild.

He added: "But the poential of this deal really illustrates the State Farm right combo, because these are two teams that have exactly what the other wants. Boston has been hoarding assets for years for a couple of season, trying to get in the position to get a star player."

Wojnarowski suggested the first building block for the Butler trade would start with either the 2017 or 2018 Brooklyn Nets' first-round pick, which the Celtics acquired in 2013 in the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade.

"And Jimmy Butler in Boston, paired with Isaiah Thomas and this Celtics team -- it would put this Celtics team in a position to seriously challenge Cleveland [Cavaliers] in the east, not only in the short term, but also in the long term."

Butler's contract extends to 2020, and then Wojnarowski explained Boston could then sign the guard to another long-term deal. In the meantime, he could help Boston surpass a vulnerable-looking Cavaliers team.

Forbes ranks Celtics as fifth-most valuable NBA franchise

Forbes ranks Celtics as fifth-most valuable NBA franchise

The Boston Celtics are one of the NBA's top teams -- and not just in terms of talent. Forbes has ranked the Celtics as the fifth-most valuable NBA franchise at $2.2 billion.

The Celtics "sport" valuation is one of the highest in the NBA at $674 million. Their "market" valuation comes in as $883 million, their "arena" valuation falls at $341 million and their "brand" valuation stands at $302 million.

Boston is a constant in a continually emerging NBA. Forbes reports the NBA is worth $1.36 billion, which 3.5 times its value five years ago. The league is also on a seven-year collective bargaining agreement that will provide stability in the league for that duration. The NBA also signed a $24 billion deal with ESPN and TNT that began at the start of the 2016-17 season.

The Celtics will continue to play an important part in the growth of the league.