Friday Free Throws: Lockout rules; Rondo's kicks


Friday Free Throws: Lockout rules; Rondo's kicks

By Jessica Camerato Follow @JCameratoNBA
Normally, Friday Free Throws is a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that have not made the headlines. But this week we have to make an exception as we address the hottest issue in basketball that's been in the headlines for weeks: the lockout.

On Thursday evening the NBA announced the lockout would begin at 12:01am on July 1. In the statement, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said:

The expiring collective bargaining agreement created a broken system that produced huge financial losses for our teams. We need a sustainable business model that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship, fairly compensates our players, and provides teams, if well-managed, with an opportunity to be profitable.

We have made several proposals to the union, including a deal targeting 2 billion annually as the players' share -- an average of approximately 5 million per player that could increase along with league revenue growth. Elements of our proposal would also better align players pay with performance.

We will continue to make every effort to reach a new agreement that is fair and in the best interests of our teams, our players, our fans, and our game.

The NBA also noted restrictions for both players and teams during this period:

- Players will not receive their salaries
- Players will not be able to use team facilities for any purpose
- Teams will not negotiatesigntrade player contracts
- Teams will not conduct or facilitate any summer camps, exhibitions, practices, workouts, coaching sessions, or team meetings.
Rondos Winning Approach
Last week we told you about the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011, the sneaker Rajon Rondo is expected to wear next season. A promotion for the shoe is on Nike's website with the slogan, "Stay Quick or Stay Home," and a photo of Rondo with the sneakers hung around his neck.

Rondo sat down with the crew from Nike to talk about the shoe, his love for basketball, and how he views his role as a point guard. Check out a few snippets below or view the entire interview.

- "I love the game, I love competing. I want to be the best at what I do."

- When you're not 100 percent in a game and you try to push through it, I think the most important thing is adrenaline. Once, say if you sprain an ankle or something, you get back out there, you get a flow, you get up and down, you just try not to think about it. Once the game is over obviously it may swell up or it hurts a lot more, but during the game you just keep going and keep pushing.

- "From my rookie season where I didn't play a lot to now as a starting point guard, my mental preparation has changed because it starts with me on the floor. I feel like it starts with the point guard. I'm an extension out there on the floor of the coach, so if I don't bring it, it's a trickle-down effect to where my teammates might not want to bring it or have their energy if you're playing in an arena that's not full of fans. So it starts with the point guard and it finishes with the point guard."

Former Celtics Honored
A pair of former Celtics were honored this week by local and statewide halls of fame. Raef LaFrentz was announced as a class of 2011 inductee to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (via SB Nation Kansas City). LaFrentz, a former Big 12 Player of the Year, played four years for the University of Kansas Jayhawks and is the school's third-leading scorer. In 2003 he was traded by the Dallas Mavericks to the Celtics along with Chris Mills and Jiri Welsch in exchange for Tony Delk, Antoine Walker, and a future draft pick the Cs would use to select Delonte West. LaFrentz played three seasons in Boston before being sent to the Portland Trail Blazers in 2006 as part of the Sebastian Telfair deal.

Bridgeport, Connective native John Bagley will be inducted to the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame in October. Bagley, who wore No. 5 nearly 20 years before Kevin Garnett, played over two seasons with the Celtics. He averaged nearly six points and six assists in 137 games in Boston. NBA official Bennett Salvatore (Stamford, CT) will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame, as reported in The Daily Weston.

Celtics Tweets of the Week
Celtics draft picks JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore came to Boston this week and took to Twitter while they were in town.

@JaJuanJohnson: Weoutchere! http:lockerz.coms114677458

@33ETwaun: Thanks to all Boston fans for showing love!

Birthday of the Week
Former Celtics first round draft pick (and current Atlanta Hawks guard) Joe Johnson turned 30 on Wednesday. Johnson was selected by the Celtics with the 10th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft and was traded to the Phoenix Suns in February of his rookie season. He played just 48 of his 771 career games with the Cs.
This Week in NBA History
On June 29, 1982, the Celtics drafted Indiana University standout Landon Turner, who had been paralyzed in a car accident before his senior year of college, in the 10th round of the NBA Draft. Turner had helped the Hoosiers win the 1981 NCAA Championship. On June 30, 1969, Bill Russell retired from the Celtics after winning 11 NBA championships in 13 years. Russell was a five-time MVP and 12-time All-Star. He served as a playercoach in his final three years with the Celtics and went on to coach the Seattle SuperSonics for five seasons. Plans for the creation of a Bill Russell statue in Boston were announced earlier this year.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at!JCameratoNBA

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Pregame number: Al Horford to the rescue


Pregame number: Al Horford to the rescue

Tonight’s pregame number to watch is 45.4%. That was the Celtics' score frequency on pick and rolls finished by the screener last season, which was the worst rate in the NBA.

Score Frequency: The percentage of possession in which the team or player scores at least 1 point.

The major problem for the Celtics last season was personnel, as Jared Sullinger finished the most pick and roll plays for the C’s after setting a screen, and he was -- to put it nicely -- freaking terrible. Sullinger was the second-worst roll/pop man in the league, averaging a paltry 0.87 points per possession.

Fortunately, the Celtics replaced Jared Sullinger with four-time All-Star Al Horford, who is one of the elite roll/pop men in the NBA. Last season, Horford finished fifth in the NBA averaging 1.13 points per possession as a roll/pop man and boasted a more than solid 57.1 eFG% on those plays. 

eFG% (Effective Field Goal Percentage): Measures field goal percentage adjusting for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. The equation is ((FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA

If you watched the preseason, then you already know the kind of impact Horford can have on the Celtics half court offense. So keep an eye out for those pick and rolls tonight and throughout the season, and we should see that 45.4% Score Frequency jump somewhere closer to 50%.