Boston Celtics

Jefferson also questions Celtics' trade of Perkins

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Jefferson also questions Celtics' trade of Perkins

By RichLevine
CSNNE.com

SALT LAKE CITY Its been nearly four years since Al Jefferson was shipped to Minnesota as the centerpiece of the deal that landed Boston Kevin Garnett.

But when news broke last week that his old friend and teammate Kendrick Perkins had joined him on the list of former Celtics, Jefferson was just as shocked and confused as anyone.

I was like Wow, Jefferson, now with the Jazz, said before Monday nights game with Boston. I thought I was dreaming.

He said he hasnt spoken to Perkins yet, but will reach out to him once things calm down and Perk gets situated, but he was more than willing to talk about how he thinks the trade will affect the Celtics.

You can count him among the masses who question the move.

On the outside looking in, people always said Kevin was the face of that defense, Jefferson said. But when youre playing against them, Perk was the face of that defense. Perk was the goaltender. Perk was the one who made people afraid to go to that basket. You know, Im a scorer in this league, and I hated playing against him."

Although, for all they lost with Perk, Jefferson isnt completely sour on the deal. Hes actually pretty familiar with Nenad Krstic theyve faced off 16 times in their respective careers and considers him a formidable opponent.

Krstic is a great offensive player," said Jefferson, whos averaging 17.8 points and 9.1 rebounds a game for Utah. He's not up there with Perk on the defensive end, but hes a good defensive player. With him along with Kevin and everybody else, when Jermaine O'Neal gets back healthy and Shaq, theyre still going to be deep at the big spot. And also, guys cant lay off on Krstic like they did Perk because he can hit that jumper. He can score that ball, too.

Still, regardless of Krstics strengths, Jefferson doesnt think any can match what Perk provided for Boston.

They got something back good in return for Perk," said Jefferson, "but just as far as that team and how they were set up, Perk was just perfect.

That was Al Jefferson before the game. Relaxed, cordial, easygoing.

Once the real action started, the former Celtic looked every bit the monster that Celtics fans imagined hed some day become, putting up an impressive 28 points and 19 rebounds in Bostons five-point win.

Als developed into a hell of a player, man, said Paul Pierce. Offensively, the way hes rebounding, rounding out his game. Pretty soon were going to see him in a lot of All-Star games.

But on Monday, unfortunately for Jefferson and the Jazz, he did most of his damage in the first half when he scored 18 of his 29 and was eventually flustered by the Celtics adjustments.

We trapped him on the first time in the second half, on the first catch, and then we just mixed it up. We just wanted him to think, said Doc Rivers. We allowed him to catch it too deep in the first half. I didnt think we did the work early with our bigs. In the second half we denied the passes, and they had to use up clock to get it into him.

Jefferson scored only six points in the fourth quarter, as his team came up short down the stretch. But still, his coach was more than happy with the effort, and with the direction Jefferson continues to climb.

Tremendous effort, said Tyrone Corbin. Hes been, in the last couple weeks, hes really be focusing in on where to get the ball, where to get his shots, and putting pressure on guys to stop him at the basket. Hes doing a good job rebounding. Hes really focusing on defense . . . hes getting a lot better.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

NBA's a global game, and the Celtics are all in

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NBA's a global game, and the Celtics are all in

BOSTON – The NBA has become more of an international game as teams scour the globe in search of the next big basketball talent.

While some franchises such as the San Antonio Spurs have been poaching talented international players for years, other franchises have been more locked into adding American-born ballers.

The Boston Celtics have paid close attention to the best international players for several years.

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But more often than not, additions to their roster through the draft have come from the college ranks with an occasional international player added via free agency.

This season's team will definitely have a certain international flavor to it with overseas additions coming by way of players they drafted and signed as free agents to bolster what should be one of the deeper teams in the East.

Boston has six rookies with guaranteed contracts for this upcoming season, four of which were born outside of the United States.

And of those four rookies, three of them – Guerschon Yabusele (16th overall pick); Ante Zizic (23rd overall pick) and Abdel Nader; 58th overall pick) – were selected in the 2016 draft but didn't join the team immediately. 

Yabusele who is originally from France, spent most of last season in China and came to the States and played briefly with the Celtic’s Gatorade League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. He will be among the bevy of young players competing for minutes off the Celtics bench. 

Zizic, born in Croatia, spent last season playing in his native country as well as in Turkey. The 7-foot center will come into training camp competing for playing time, possibly as Boston’s starting center.

And then there’s Nader, a G-League all-star as well as the G-League’s rookie of the year last season. The Egyptian-American wing player showed promise in each of the last two summer leagues which is in part why the Celtics signed him to a four-year, $6 million deal with only the first year fully guaranteed. 

They each have different strengths that only add value to a Boston squad that’s being built to play just about every style of play imaginable.

But the Celtics didn’t limit their pursuit of international talent to just the draft.

Boston has also signed German Forward Daniel Theis. 

Unlike the international players drafted by Boston, Theis is a bit of a mystery to most Celtics fans.

Last season he averaged 10.7 points and 4.6 rebounds for Brose Bamberg of Germany, while shooting 41.0 percent from 3-point range and 59.8 percent from the field.

And that season ended with a German championship, just like the previous two seasons for the 6-9, 243-pound forward who is expected to come in and compete for playing time off the bench for a Celtics team that’s looking for