Davis' daughter the key to his maturation

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Davis' daughter the key to his maturation

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- It didn't take long to recognize a transformation in Glen Davis this season.

It started with the charges, as he sacrificed his body and slammed to the floor night after night. Next came the jumpshots, which he began to knock down on a consistent basis. Then there were the interviews where he spoke about leadership, maturity, and accountability.

Davis had come a long way from the player who, just last season, broke his thumb fighting a friend and was fined for shouting an obscenity at a fan.

Big Baby was growing up -- but what changed him? Why now?

As Davis revealed, someone very small has had a huge influence on him.

"The summer was an eye-opening experience for me, just because of losing in the Finals," he told CSNNE.com. "Then also it comes to realization of, 'Hey, I've become a father.' I think that was one of the biggest things that really changed me."

It was this time last year that Davis learned he was going to become a dad. He could see the baby bump and feel the kicks, but he had no idea how much of an impact his little girl would have on him.

While he prepared for the birth of his first child, he continued to focus on basketball.

In June, Davis and the Celtics suffered the agony of a Game Seven loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Just as his role as a person was about to change in a few months with the birth of his daughter, so was his role as a basketball player.

"I'll never forget," he said, "Michael Finley told me right after dinner after Game Seven, 'Make sure in training camp, you need to establish yourself.' I took that with me through the whole summer -- 'Establish yourself. You need to be a force to be reckoned with.' "

Finley stressed to Davis that the Celtics could run the ball through him in the second unit this season. "You're capable enough to be doing that," the veteran said. Davis let the advice sink in. Then, it clicked.

"I thought about it," Davis recalled. "I was just like, 'I am. I am capable of being a post threat, being a outside shooter, being a really, really big factor on this team.' I felt like I didn't use all my talents to my advantage, so I always remembered that going into the summer."

Davis set out to Las Vegas for an offseason of intense conditioning. He worked out at Joe Abunassar's Impact Basketball and trained at the UFC headquarters, where Davis adopted the "never quit, never tap out" UFC fighter attitude. "That's just my mentality now," he said.

He returned to Boston as the Celtics were welcoming newcomers like Shaquille and Jermaine O'Neal. All the while, Davis was preparing to welcome a new addition of his own.

On September 2, his world changed. Davis was left speechless at the birth of his daughter, Amari.

"We wrote to her, 'Welcome to the world,' and I couldn't even write," he said. "I got so emotional I couldn't even write. It made me realize, 'Wow, something so small can have such a big effect on you.' It changed me, and it's still changing me to this day."

Davis, 24, quickly matured as a father. As he embraced the accountability and responsibility of having a child, he saw the ties between parenthood and the NBA.

"You have to hit that adult level because you have to make adult decisions," he said. "You have to mature, and I think that had a lot to do with my game and basketball . . . You have to be real punctual, real precise with a baby. You have to be reliable. There are so many things that dealing with a baby and being a player in this game have in common."

Davis credits Celtics coach Doc Rivers for making him open to the maturation process. He appreciates that Rivers enforces a sense of professionalism and holds him to his own actions, characteristics he hopes to instill in Amari.

Davis says Rivers has taught him, "If you want it, you've got to go get it." He wants to be a good father the same way he strives to be a good teammate.

"First of all, you have more of an animal instinct," Davis said. "It's like you're defending your cub. It comes to a point where this is your livelihood. You have to feed, and you think about it in that way. Then you think about it in a way like, 'How can I represent my child so when she looks back, she can be real proud of her father?'

"Just the mentality of being accountable, you have to be there. And that's how you have to be for your teammates. My daughter know what she's going to get from me every day. She's going to get love, affection, discipline. It relates to basketball in a lot of ways, and I've used the mentality I have with my daughter to help my basketball game."

Davis' reliability off the Celtics bench has sparked Sixth Man of the Year chatter, and his improved offensive game has been a key to the team's success.

He is averaging over 12 points per game this season (double that of last year), including an average of 15 points and 7 rebounds in the last 10 games alone.

Throughout the entire season, many have questioned if Davis' performance is a result of his expiring contract. He quickly shot down that notion. Davis has had something to prove since he fell to the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft.

"I'm doing it because I believe I can be the player I know I can be," he said. "Man, I'm just blessed and fortunate to be in this situation because of my outlook on life and my heart and what I believe in. God can only give you so much. You have to take and you have to work it. That's like fate versus free will. He gives it to you, and now you have to go out there and work for it. I just want to do my part when it's all said and done."

It is important to Davis to do his part to give his daughter a happy upbringing. He had a challenging childhood growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as his mother struggled with drug-related problems. Davis faced situations that he says, "as a young kid, you shouldn't have to go through."

After years of hardship, Davis is happy to share that his own mother is on a positive track. His face lit up as he tells that his wish for his mother to get clean has come true.

"She's doing good," he smiled. "She's been clean for almost a year, two years now. I'm just proud of her and her struggle also. She's a strong-minded person and she's been doing great. She's been in my daughter's life since she's been born. It might not have came as I wanted it to come at that moment, but it's come."

For every charge Davis takes, loose ball he stumbles out of bounds after, and ice pack he applies to soothe his aching body, there is a greater sense of satisfaction knowing that he is doing it for his daughter.

The littlest person in his life is making the biggest impact of them all.

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

Phil Jackson: Knicks' biggest mistake was not trading for Jae Crowder in 2014

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Phil Jackson: Knicks' biggest mistake was not trading for Jae Crowder in 2014

BOSTON -- Phil Jackson will be the first to admit he has made some mistakes during his tenure in the New York Knicks' front office.

Among the miscues was a deal that would have landed them Jae Crowder.

"One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics," Jackson told the website, www.todaysfastbreak.com.

Jackson later revealed that in conversations with Boston leading up to the 2014 NBA draft, he was given an option to either keep the second-round pick which was to be conveyed to Boston from Dallas, or take Jae Crowder and allow Boston to keep the second-round pick from the Mavs.

"I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo (Anthony)," Jackson said. "So I took the (second-round) pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early.”

Ouch!

With Crowder left out of the six-player deal between New York and Dallas, the Celtics were able to engineer a trade with the Mavericks six months later that sent Rajon Rondo and Dwight Powell to Dallas in exchange for Brandon Wright, Jameer Nelson, draft picks and what many believed at the time to be a “throw in” player by the name of Jae Crowder.

Less than two years later, Crowder is the lone player acquired by Boston in that deal who remains on the Celtics roster.

And as we have all seen, Crowder is far from just a warm body on the Celtics’ roster.

The 6-foot-6 forward has emerged as a core member of this young, up-and-coming Celtics squad, a key to Boston going from being a team rebuilding just three years ago to one that’s poised to be among the top teams in the East this season.

And the play of Crowder has been a significant part of that growth.

Last season was his first as an NBA starter, and the 26-year-old made the most of his opportunity by averaging career highs in just about every meaningful category such as scoring (14.2), steals (1.7), assists (1.8), rebounds (5.1), field goal percentage (.443) and starts (73).

Meanwhile, Early has had a pair of injury-riddled seasons which have factored heavily into him seeing action in a total of just 56 games (9 starts) while averaging 4.3 points and 2.2 rebounds while shooting 34.6 percent from the field and a woeful 26.3 percent on 3s.

“While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us,” Jackson said, “He still has the potential to be a valuable player.”

That said, Jackson knows he screwed that deal up, big time.

Even with the potential Early brings to the game, Jackson concedes, “I should have taken Crowder."

 

Can Jerebko parlay playoff starts to a bigger role with Celtics?

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Can Jerebko parlay playoff starts to a bigger role with Celtics?

Every weekday until Sept. 7, we'll take a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We continue today with Tyler Zeller. For a look at the other profiles, click here.

BOSTON – Considering all the different storylines that developed among the Celtics at the end of last season and this summer, it’s easy to forget that Jonas Jerebko was in the starting lineup.

With sporadic minutes in the regular season, Boston found itself trailing the Atlanta Hawks 2-0 in their best-of-seven playoff series.

So what did coach Brad Stevens do?

He shook up the starting lineup by inserting Jerebko. who helped Boston even up the series at two games apiece before the Hawks bounced back and ended the Celtics season after six games.

Those last four games against the Hawks – the only games Jerebko started all season - served as a reminder to many that the 29-year-old could still be an impact performer.

It was the kind of run to close out the season that Jerebko will certainly be focused on trying to build upon this season.

The ceiling for Jerebko: Starter

While he will likely begin the season as a reserve, Jerebko will certainly come into camp with a little more bounce in his step courtesy of a strong showing in the playoffs.

After averaging just 4.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 15.1 minutes in the regular season a year ago, Jerebko became a major force in the playoffs for Boston.

In his first game as a starter, Jerebko had a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds as Boston won Game 3, 111-103.

He was even more impactful 48 hours later with another a second straight double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) in yet another Celtics victory.

The Hawks made some adjustments in Games 5 and 6 to close out the series, but it wasn’t before Jerebko had put together the best postseason stretch of his career.

Compared to the regular season, Jerebko more than doubled his playing time in those final four games by averaging 31.3 minutes to go with 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds.

Jerebko will be hard-pressed to return to that role at the start of this season.

Boston signed Al Horford to a four-year, $113 million contract, so you know he’s starting.

And Amir Johnson’s defense and ability to run the floor so effectively will likely result in him resuming a starting role, too.

That leaves Jerebko joining what looks to be a very talented and deep Celtics bench.

Even though he’s unlikely to start, Jerebko will get his share of opportunities to play.

At 6-foot-10, Jerebko has the size to play both power forward and center. And depending on the opposing team’s lineup, Jerebko has the potential play some small forward as well.

It was that versatility that made Stevens turn to Jerebko in the playoffs last season to replace Jared Sullinger, who signed with the Toronto Raptors in the offseason.

And while the idea of Jerebko as a starter seems a bit far-fetched at this point, he is yet another Celtics reserve who has proven himself to be ready to play and play well when given an opportunity to step on the floor regardless of what that role may be.

The floor for Jerebko: Seldom-used reserve

Despite a strong finish last season, Jerebko will once again have to fight and claw for any minutes on the floor. While the Celtics certainly were aided by his versatility, this season’s roster has a number of players who, like Jerebko, can play multiple positions at both ends of the floor.

NBA veteran Gerald Green is 6-8 and will play shooting guard and small forward. But depending on the lineup, it’s not a stretch to envision him playing some power forward. Ditto for rookie Jaylen Brown and starting small forward Jae Crowder sliding up one position.

Beginning the season on the rotation fringes is nothing new to Jerebko, whose role was very much up in the air when the Celtics traded Tayshaun Prince to Detroit prior to the 2015 trade deadline for Jerebko and Gigi Datome.

Gradually, Jerebko earned his minutes and proved he was indeed a valuable piece of what Stevens and the Celtics were trying to build here in Boston.

And now, with a season-plus of time with the Celtics under his belt, Jerebko finds himself once again being challenged to show that he’s more than just a body on the roster.

 

Report: Celtics renounce draft rights to 2013 pick Colton Iverson

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Report: Celtics renounce draft rights to 2013 pick Colton Iverson

By Dan Feldman, NBCSports.com Pro Basketball Talk

The Celtics bought the No. 53 pick in the 2013 NBA draft to get Colton Iverson out of Colorado State, and he thanked them by allowing them to keep his rights the last three years.

Iverson rejected the required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum, teams must extend to retain exclusive negotiating rights to a second-round pick – year after year to sign overseas. Accepting the tender would’ve likely meant Iverson going to Boston’s training camp and getting waived. Perhaps, the timing of that would’ve limited his European options that year. But it would’ve made him an NBA free agent – or, best-case scenario, he could’ve made the Celtics and drawn an NBA paycheck.

As it was, Iverson limited himself to joining Boston and only Boston. If another NBA team wanted Iverson, it would have had to trade for him.

And what does Iverson get for that loyalty? A Celtics contract with at least a partial guarantee?

Nope.

Just a head start on finding another team – which he could’ve gotten for himself three years ago.

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

This is why second-round picks should be more aggressive about accepting the required tender. Even if you get waived, you open NBA options.

Iverson is a strong 7-foot center who plays with physicality. He can help in certain matchups, and he’d make sense as a third center on teams that have first- and second-stringers playing a different style.

But Iverson is 27, and his NBA window may be closing if it hasn’t already.

It’s a shame he spent so many years beholden to Boston, which didn’t want him.

It was probably just courtesy of the Celtics to renounce his rights now rather than have him sign the tender. They would have guaranteed him no money with the tender, and they could have gotten a few minor benefits with it – an extra body for training camp, the ability to assign his D-League rights to their affiliate after waiving him and the slightest chance he impresses enough in the preseason to hold trade value.

But them forgoing those potential advantages, even if out of courtesy, also sends a signal about how little they value him. Teams don’t do these types of favors for players they actually covet.