Friday FTs: Teach and travel


Friday FTs: Teach and travel

By Jessica Camerato Follow @JCameratoNBA

Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that may not have made the headlines but are still worth a read.

This week Kevin Garnett touched down in China, and then got up for a slam dunk. Garnett is spending time overseas as part of his multi-city tour with Anta. The tour began in Guangzhou and he traveled to Wuhan on Wednesday, where he jammed for fans and played a game of table tennis.

When asked about the possibility of playing in China, Garnett told reporters, I haven't really given it much thought, to be honest. I'm going to take in some offers when offers come or when I feel like it's that time. Other than that, no not at this time.

Check out CCTV for photos, videos, and coverage of Garnetts tour.

Mr. Rondo Teaches a Lesson

His nickname on the blacktop is Quick-Quick Turbo-Toed Road-Runner Mach 1 Cheetah-Foot Applesauce. But, in the classroom, you can call him Mr. Rondo.

Mr. Rondo?

Last month I mentioned Rajon Rondos tweet from a Nike shoot and included a very scholarly photo. Turns out the beret wasnt part of a new fall wardrobe.

Rondos get-up was for his role as a drama teacher in The Educators 2, part of The Foot Locker Advantage Academy featuring Nike gear. He co-stars with fellow NBA players Amar'e Stoudemire and Blake Griffin, NFL wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and runner Anna Pierce in the campaign.

Each athlete has their own web page, featuring their Nike sneaker (Rondo wears the Zoom Hyperfuse 2011) and a series of lessons. Rondos include: Ruthless Mr. Rondo, Mean Muggin,' In Your Head, Head Fakin' Fool, True or False, Mr. Rondo's Multiple Choice, Sitting is for Suckers, and You Better Believe. (My favorite performance? Don't miss Rondo's "quickness faces in lesson 2.)

Looks like Paul Pierce might have some competition on the big screen

Davis and Wafer Put on a Show

Glen Davis and Von Wafer were among NBA players who participated in the Tournament of the Stars pro-am last weekend in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The event also featured DJ Augustin, James Harden, Stephen Jackson, and TJ Ford. Check out this highlight video by (via SLAM) to see Wafer throw down a monster dunk and Davis send the game into overtime and then well, youll have to watch the rest for yourself.

Celtics Tweet of the Week
@aa000G9 (Tony Allen): Twitter world I'm so proud 2 be a dad!! So 2 all the dads who take their kids 2 school in the morning!! Alarm set 7:20 am !! 1st day

Celtics Birthdays of the Week
Chucky Atkins, who played 24 games for the Celtics during the 2003-04 season, turned 37 on August 14. Atkins averaged 12.0 points per game in his short time with the team. Frank Brickowski turned 52 on the same day. He played the final season of his career in Boston, scoring a total of 81 points in 17 games. Roy Rogers, the only player to wear number 99 for the Celtics, turned 38 on August 19. Rogers was traded to the Celtics from the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1997 and dealt to the Toronto Raptors as part of the Chauncey Billups deal months later in 1998 after playing nine game for the Cs. Rogers was an assistant coach on the Celtics for the 2010-11 season.

This Week in NBA History
On August 18, 1992, Celtics legend and Hall of Famer Larry Bird announced his retirement from the NBA. Bird played all 13 of his seasons in Boston, winning three NBA Championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards. He averaged 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists during the regular season and 23.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 6.5 assists in 164 playoff games. Read more on Birds legacy here.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at!JCameratoNBA.

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%.

Horford-Celtics partnership gives both stability, chance to win


Horford-Celtics partnership gives both stability, chance to win

BOSTON –  This is not where Al Horford thought he would be right now.
Back in May, the Atlanta Hawks had just been swept out of the playoffs by the soon-to-be NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Disappointed with the outcome obviously, Horford was a free agent-to-be who was confident that he would be back in Atlanta and the Hawks would retool by adding to their core group which he was a major part of, and they would be back to making another run at it this season.
First there was the draft night trade of point guard Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers. 
And during Horford's negotiations with the Hawks in July, they were also negotiating with Dwight Howard and ultimately signed the Atlanta native to a three-year, $70.5 million contract. 
Before the Howard deal was complete, the Celtics had already made a strong impression on Horford during their presentation to him. 
So the choice was pretty clear.
Return to Atlanta and potentially have a major logjam up front with himself, Howard and Paul Millsap, or join a Celtics team that’s on the rise where his five-tool skillset – passing, rebounding, defending, scoring and making those around him better – could be put to great use on a team that’s clearly on the rise. 
Horford chose the latter, giving both himself and the Celtics exactly what they wanted – stability and a chance to win at the highest of levels.
The first shot to see how this basketball marriage looks on the floor will be tonight when the Celtics kick off the 2016-2017 season at the TD Garden against the Brooklyn Nets. 
The preseason isn’t the best indicator of what’s on the horizon now that games count, but Horford’s presence was undeniable.
Boston’s starters which includes Horford, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson, each finished with a positive, double-digit plus/minus in the preseason. 
“He just makes the game so much easier for all of us,” Johnson told “He can do so many things out there at both ends of the floor. He’s going to be big for us this season.”
And his impact can be felt both on the floor and inside the locker room, similar to what he brought to the Atlanta Hawks.
“With the way that I go about it is, I’m trying to win,” Horford told “I’m gonna work, put in my work, try to help guys get better not only on the court but off the court as well. That’s how I carry myself.”
 And it is that approach to the game that has made his transition to the Celtics a relatively seamless one. 
Horford holds many fond memories of his time in Atlanta, a place that will always be near and dear to his heart. 
But he’s a Celtic now, coming in with the same single-minded focus that drives this organization to continue pursuing the only thing that truly matters to them – an NBA title. 
"Even though I’m leaving a lot behind, as a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”