'Lockout league' rosters under scrutiny


'Lockout league' rosters under scrutiny

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn LAS VEGAS With a slew of logistical issues to hammer out in time for today's first game of the Impact Basketball Training Series, putting the actual rosters together was one of the bigger hurdles to overcome.

NBA players know their brethren better than anyone.

"Don't kid yourself if you didn't think we got some complaints about the roster," Joe Abunassar, the founder of Impact Basketball, told CSNNE.com.

Abunassar did solicit input from the players, but ultimately made the final decision on the rosters.

As expected, there were certain players in higher demand than others.

Most of the teams wanted to make sure they had solid point guard play, which is why former Celtics guard Chauncey Billups and Houston guard Kyle Lowry were among the players teams had the most interest in.

That interest played a factor in Abunassar's decision, but he said he was more concerned with having each team have a certain amount of balance.

"We have to have matchups. If we're really making this a training league, it's all about the matchups," Abunassar said.

Abunassar added, "Kawhi Leonard (a first-round pick out of San Diego State from June's NBA draft) will get a chance to guard a guy like Stephen Jackson, or a guy who has been in the league two or three years. For him, it's an upgraded summer league."

Former Celtics guard Damon Jones, among the first players at Impact Basketball League Monday morning, likes the competitive balance of the league.

"Every team has good players," he told CSNNE.com. "It'll be a good time, good basketball for all of us."

Abunassar must also deal with rosters that are constantly in a state of uncertainty.

For example, Phoenix Suns forward Hakim Warrick isn't expected to play tonight so Abunassar has to find another power forward to take his place on the roster.

Plus, there are other players who aren't expected to come in until next week, while others are re-vamping their schedules to come in this week which means Abunassar has to make sure to put them on a roster where their position is needed.

However, there were some players who made putting the teams together easy.

Mo Williams, now with the Los Angeles Clippers, has put together a team that consists of his Clipper teammates -- including rookie of the Year, Blake Griffin.

The Washington Wizards have a number of players competing here as well, such as Rashard Lewis, Nick Young and Jordan Crawford.

There's a reason why NBA commissioner David Stern doesn't double-dip as the league's schedule maker. But Abunassar isn't complaining; not at all.

"The team selection was not the easiest in the world," Abunassar admitted. "Believe me, after dealing with 75 guys for the last two days and coordinating, I'll need a vacation when we're all done."

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

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.

Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.

“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”


Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.

Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.

“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”

This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.

Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.

Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.

Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.