Perkins improves his game while on the shelf

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Perkins improves his game while on the shelf

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

Kendrick Perkins grabbed a basketball and hoisted up a long-range shot in between quarters of last week's Celtics-Nuggets game.

Nothing but . . . air.

"You seen that shot?" he laughed. "I couldnt get my suit jacket up."

Perkins continues to stay close to the game while he rehabs from a right knee injury he suffered during the NBA Finals. He supports his team from the bench at the TD Garden and goes through drills of his own at the Celtics practice facility.

Last month Perkins filled CSNNE.com in on four things to know about his rehab. He recently shared new updates on his road to recovery as he eyes a return to the court in February.

STEPS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Perkins was fitted for a new knee brace last week and plans to begin wearing it on Tuesday. He anticipates the latest brace will allow him to do even more on the court.

"I'm just taking it one day at a time," he said. "I think I'm starting to do more basketball things. Last Wednesday I got measured for my knee brace, so it's been cool. It means I can start doing more court work, stuff like that."

A JUMP SHOOTER IN THE MAKING
Perkins' goals go beyond returning healthy. He wants to return a better basketball player, too, and is focusing on specific areas of his game.

"Believe it or not, just more of my jumper, just touch around the 12, 15-foot area," he said. "If I have a shot, take it, stuff like that. And improving my free-throw shooting (60.4 FT career), that's been my thing. So I'm trying to drop a few more pounds. I want to lose about 10 more to get down to 260."

AN UNDERSTANDING EAR
Perkins is just one of several injured players on the Celtics. While he's there to listen if teammates like Delonte West and Jermaine ONeal want to talk, he also respects the sensitivity of their situations.

"Yeah, in a way I do give them advice, but at times it's like, what can you tell a guy?" he said. "You can tell him to stay positive, just pull him along to work out with you, things like that. Other than that, you don't really want to pile too much on him because I know it's a difficult time."

NEW SOURCE OF STRENGTH
As Perkins' physical strength improves, so does his mental endurance. Perkins, who turned 26 last month, has learned a lot about himself in the past six months.

"I think mentally you grow better as a person," he reflected. "It's easy when things are going good for you. You can always stay in the flow of things. But when there's adversity against you, it's how you deal with it. So I think mentally I became stronger.

"Obviously I want to be back out there on the court, but other than that, things are going real well."
Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba.

Ainge: 'This offseason is bigger' than others for Celtics

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Ainge: 'This offseason is bigger' than others for Celtics

WALTHAM, Mass. – There was very little sizzle in the moves made by Boston during last season, one in which they were hoping would be a summer full of basketball fireworks.

Well the bar is once again set relatively high for the Celtics this offseason, one in which the chances of making an impact, fireworks-worthy deal appear to be even better now than they were a year ago.

The Celtics have Brooklyn’s first-round pick in next month’s draft that has a 15.6 percent chance of being the top overall selection, and will be no worse than the sixth overall pick.

That’s just the first of eight picks for the Celtics in next month’s draft.

Boston has the potential to shed enough salary to offer a pair of near-max contracts to free agents this summer.

“We look forward to every offseason,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “This offseason is bigger. My expectations are high this offseason. And yet I also know that it takes good fortune.”

There’s the NBA draft lottery later this month.

“We need some ping-pong balls to bounce our way, give us the best opportunity,” Ainge said.

The Celtics own Brooklyn’s first-round pick courtesy of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade with Brooklyn in 2013. That pick will be no worse than the sixth overall selection this season but has a 15.6 percent chance of being the top overall selection.

“Whether we use that pick, trade that pick and … in free agency we have opportunities. That’s all we have,” Ainge said. “We have no guarantees of great things happening. We have a lot of hope. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have to have Plan A through Z; usually it’s A through G.”

Olynyk still mulling over options regarding shoulder

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Olynyk still mulling over options regarding shoulder

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Boston Celtics should know soon as to whether Kelly Olynyk will have surgery on his right shoulder which limited his effectiveness this past regular season and for most of the Boston’s postseason.

“Kelly is still deciding what to do with our medical staff, with the opinions he’s received,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operation. We should know in the next week or so. Surgery is an option; it is being discussed. But he’ll make that decision soon.”

The 7-foot Olynyk initially suffered a right shoulder injury on Feb. 10 against the Los Angeles Clippers in what was the last game before the all-star break.

Olynyk remained limited due to the injury which led to him missing 12 regular season games. He re-aggravated the injury in Game 1 of their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

In addition to the 12 regular season games missed due to the injury, Olynyk found himself on the bench for a pair of games during the Hawks series.

Prior to Game 6, Olynyk spoke with CSNNE.com about how much better he was feeling leading into that game compared to previous ones.

But that good vibe did not translate into on-the-court success as Olynyk was scoreless while missing both of his field goal attempts in just over five minutes.

This past season, Olynyk averaged 10 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 40.5 percent on 3s.  But during the six-game series with Atlanta, Olynyk scored just two points on 1-for-9 shooting.

Ainge was much more definitive on the health status of Avery Bradley (hamstring) and Jae Crowder (foot).

Bradley’s hamstring injury should be healed in plenty of time for the start of training camp and will not require any offseason surgery.

Crowder, whom Ainge said suffered from a bone bruise in his foot, should also be good to go for training camp next fall and like Bradley, will not require any offseason surgery.

Ainge reserving judgment on 'young kids' until workouts

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Ainge reserving judgment on 'young kids' until workouts

WALTHAM, Mass. – When it comes to the top of this year’s draft board, there’s a lot of uncertainty as to how good any of the teens pegged to go 1-2-3 will be in the NBA.

While the Boston Celtics and most NBA teams have done their due diligence when it comes to scouting the top prospects, there’s a very good chance the player they see in the coming weeks will be in some ways different than the player they followed this past season in college or overseas.

LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandan Ingram are expected to be the top two picks after spending one season in college. The number 3 pick at this point looks like Croatian-born Dragan Bender who is the youngest player in the draft (he turns 19 in November).

“There’s a lot of change that happens between now and the draft, versus the college season and March to the draft,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “Especially with the young kids. There will be a lot of young kids at the top of the draft.”

In addition to the top three picks likely being teenagers, fellow 19-and-under players like Cal’s Jaylen Brown and Kentucky’s Jamal Murray who each left after their freshman years in college are also expected to fly off the draft boards within the top 10 picks.

Because of their youth and potential, there will be talk about what they can do at the next level in time.

But the calls as to what they still have to work on will be just as loud.

Ainge prefers to focus on what they can do and potentially how that translates at the next level.

“We tend to be more critical of kids and say they’re not this or not that and we see them two years later in the all-star game,” Ainge said. “I’ll reserve judgement on that now and look forward to the opportunity to meeting the kids at the top of the draft.”

As part of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade in 2013, the Celtics will receive Brooklyn’s first round pick in next month’s NBA draft that will be no worse than the No. 6 pick in the draft but could potentially be the top overall selection.

Boston will consider an assortment of options with the pick from Brooklyn, such as keeping it, trading it away as part of a package for a proven all-star caliber player, or potentially moving down in the draft and acquiring even more assets (read: draft picks) for a later date.

Regardless of what the Celtics do, there’s a growing sense that they are trying to fast-track things as to get back into the hunt among the elite teams sooner rather than later.

“There’s plenty of urgency to try and do what works, like our Plan A, Plan B and Plan C,” Ainge said. “But you really have to be careful what you do with those assets. It doesn’t do any good to put a noose around our neck and say there’s all this urgency. Brad (Stevens) wants to win, Isaiah (Thomas) wants to win … we all want to win and we all want to be contenders.”