Garnett stands to face most pressure without Perkins

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Garnett stands to face most pressure without Perkins

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

LOS ANGELES There are varying degrees of disappointment felt now by anyone who watched or had the privilege of playing with Kendrick Perkins, who may be the nicest mean-muggin' dude to ever play the game.

Fans, as well as his Boston Celtics teammates, are clearly bummed about Perkins being traded to Oklahoma City.

But y'all know if Jeff Green comes in here, puts up big numbers and we're rockin' down Causeway Street in June with Banner 18, all will be forgiven.

There have been questions raised about how Perkins' departure will impact team chemistry.

No worries, folks.

These guys are too talented and too motivated to allow something like that to become an issue.

No, it's not team chemistry you need to worry about.

It's Kevin Garnett.

When you look at all the players who will be impacted by Perkins being traded to Oklahoma City, no one will feel this more than Garnett.

Garnett was a great defender before he arrived in Boston.

Perkins' presence allowed him to be even better.

You think it was just a coincidence that the first year KG played with an above-average defensive big man like Perkins, he just so happened to win the league's Defensive Player of the Year award for the first time, that same year?

Even with Perkins, Garnett's plate defensively is pretty stacked.

Now that he's gone, it takes on buffet-esque proportions.

The issue isn't whether Garnett can handle the added responsibilities.

The bigger concern is how much will they take out of him heading into the playoffs.

Boston did a wonderful job last season of managing Garnett's minutes, and essentially unleashing a healthy, ready to kick ass KG on a bunch of unsuspecting wannabe title contenders.

The C's won't have the luxury of limiting Garnett like they did a year ago.

Last season's squad was talented enough to win every playoff series, with or without home court advantage.

They knew this, and so did the rest of the league.

Just about every contender from a year ago, has made tremendous strides to where home court advantage is expected to become a major difference-maker in who moves on throughout the postseason.

Miami. Chicago. Even the Orlando Magic.

All three are good enough to knock off the Celtics in a best-of-seven series, which is why home court advantage throughout the playoffs is valued so highly by all teams in the East this season.

Now replacing Perkins in the starting lineup will be the man who held it down while Perkins was out recovering from his right knee injury, Shaquille O'Neal.

That's a pretty good trade off, just as long as O'Neal can stay healthy.

We're talking about Shaquille, but we might as well be talking about Jermaine, too.

So far, Boston cornering the NBA market on O'Neals hasn't been quite the investment we thought it would be.

Injuries have limited them to a combined 53 games this season, which has put even more pressure on the Celtics' healthy big men to perform.

But there's more to performing than simply putting up numbers.

Big men have to establish a certain presence around the basket, a certain toughness that gives opponents second thoughts about attacking the rim.

Perkins delivered that, daily.

Now it's on KG to do the same.

Garnett is considered one of the NBA's biggest trash talkers, but you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who sees him as one of the league's tough guys.

On this Celtics team, he didn't need to be that guy, not with Perkins around.

But now that the resident enforcer is no longer around, Garnett will clearly be the one looked to as the protector of not only the paint but also his people in Green when others try to rough them up.

These are all things that you can't ignore when you think about the impact of this trade.

But it's done, and there's no turning back from it now.

The disappointment that losing Perkins has brought on, that will subside soon as Celtics Nation prepares to welcome its two newest members.

But there's no mistaking that Perkins' departure will impact this team in more ways than you can imagine.

And nobody will feel this more than Kevin Garnett.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Ingram, not Simmons, set to attend NBA Combine

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Ingram, not Simmons, set to attend NBA Combine

BOSTON – The list of players who will be in attendance at the NBA pre-draft combine in Chicago next week has been released.

And not surprisingly, there are some projected near the top of the NBA draft board who will not be in attendance.

LSU’s one-and-done stud Ben Simmons, projected to be among the top two players selected, will not be in attendance.

Joining Simmons among the more notable players who won’t be in Chi-town is Croatian big man Dragan Bender whose current team Maccabi Tel Aviv is still in the middle of their season. He is projected by most as being the third overall pick. 

Providence star guard Kris Dunn, projected as a top-10 pick, will be among those in attendance, as well as his Friars teammate Ben Bentil.

The Celtics usually cast a pretty wide net at the combine, but this year it’ll likely be even wider due to the fact that Boston has eight picks that represents 13.3 percent of the draft.

Boston has three first-round picks, with the first to be determined during the draft lottery later this month. The pick comes from Brooklyn, and will be no worse than the sixth overall selection.

The Celtics also have the 16th and 23rd overall picks in the first round, along with five (31st, 35th, 45th, 51st and 58th) in the second round.

Here's the full list of prospects attending the NBA Combine:

Player College/Club
 Ron Baker Wichita State
 Wade Baldwin Vanderbilt
 Cat Barber North Carolina State
 Malik Beasley Florida State
 DeAndre Bembry St. Joseph's
 Ben Bentil Providence
 Jaron Blossomgame Clemson
 Joel Bolomboy Weber State
 Malcolm Brogdon Virginia
 Jaylen Brown California
 Robert Carter Maryland
 Marquese Chriss Washington
 Elgin Cook Oregon
 Isaiah Cousins Oklahoma
 Deyonta Davis Michigan State
 Cheick Diallo Kansas
 Kris Dunn Providence
 Henry Ellenson Marquette
 Perry Ellis Kansas
 AJ English Iona
 Kay Felder Oakland
 Dorian Finney-Smith Florida
 Michael Gbinije Syracuse
 Daniel Hamilton Connecticut
 AJ Hammons Purdue
 Josh Hart Villanova
 Nigel Hayes Wisconsin
 Buddy Hield Oklahoma
 Brandon Ingram Duke
 Demetrius Jackson Notre Dame
 Justin Jackson North Carolina
 Brice Johnson North Carolina
 Damian Jones Vanderbilt
 Skal Labissiere Kentucky
 Dedric Lawson Memphis
 Jake Layman Maryland
 Marcus Lee Kentucky
 Caris LeVert Michigan
 Thon Maker Orangeville Prep/Athlete Institute
 Patrick McCaw UNLV
 Isaiah Miles St. Joseph's
 Jamal Murray Kentucky
 Malik Newman Mississippi State
 Georges Niang Iowa State
 Chinanu Onuaku Louisville
 Marcus Paige North Carolina
 Gary Payton II Oregon State
 Jakob Poeltl Utah
 Taurean Prince Baylor
 Zhou Qi Xinjiang (China)
 Malachi Richardson Syracuse
 Wayne Selden Kansas
 Pascal Siakam New Mexico State
 Diamond Stone Maryland
 Caleb Swanigan Purdue
 Melo Trimble Maryland
 Tyler Ulis Kentucky
 Jarrod Uthoff Iowa
 Denzel Valentine Michigan State
 Isaiah Whitehead Seton Hall
 Troy Williams Indiana
 Kyle Wiltjer Gonzaga
 Stephen Zimmerman UNLV

Is Danny Ainge or Larry Bird a better NBA GM?

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Is Danny Ainge or Larry Bird a better NBA GM?

Danny Ainge and Larry Bird were both hired as NBA general managers in 2003. Ainge was back with the Celtics, where he spent the prime seasons of his playing career. And Bird went back to the Pacers, where he coached for three seasons.

There's no question that Bird was the better player. But who has been the better GM?

Trenni Kusnierek has a very interesting argument for why Ainge gets the edge. Watch the video above for her reasoning.

Bird not renewing Vogel's contract; McHale not a candidate

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Bird not renewing Vogel's contract; McHale not a candidate

Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, a good friend of Brad Stevens, is out in Indiana.

Pacers president Larry Bird made the official announcement on Thursday.

Vogel’s contract was up in Indiana and Bird elected to not renew it. That, according to Bird, was hard for Vogel to hear.

Both Bird and Vogel spoke shortly before Bird’s press conference with members of the media, and that’s when Bird gave him the news.

There is speculation now as to who will take over as head coach. With Kevin McHale removing himself from consideration for the Sacramento Kings job, there was some thought that he could become the head coach of the Pacers under good friend and former teammate Bird.

That isn’t going to happen either.