Wednesday, February 5, 2014

REPORT CARDS: All-Star Break

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The Celtics have been right on par with their preseason expectations; they have shown short signs of success for the future, but mostly have been struggling to play well. The roster is a rotating cast of over the hill, under-achieving castaways who struggle to play in a team concept on both sides of the ball. With that said, there have been some impressive performances on the Celtics' squad. 

Even though not all the players attended four years of college or necessarily received a proper education for whatever reasons, they will all be getting a grade based on their performance halfway through the season. It's currently 11 days before the all-star break and the Celtics have 5 more games until then. The formerly known writer of this post, Danny Emerman, will write this under his teacher alter-ego, Mr. Emerman. 

THE DEPARTED/ACQUIRED: 

Jordan Crawford: B+
Even though this man was traded to the Warriors, he played excellent in a green jersey. When he was playing, he led Boston in scoring and assists, which were both career highs for him. His solid play earned fantastic trade value for Danny Ainge and his play indirectly rewarded Boston with future draft picks. He averaged 13.6 points and 5.7 assists per game in his time with the C's.
Jerryd Bayless: C+
 Bayless was traded to the Celtics in part of the Courtney Lee trade. He hasn't dazzled in green, but he has been injured so the sample size is small. Bayless plays limited minutes, but makes the most of them with explosiveness and playmaking ability. In 11 games, Bayless is averaging 7.5 points and 2.9 assists in just 21.2 minutes per game. If he can improve his grade if he stays healthy and works hard on defense in his limited minutes. 
Marshon Brooks: D-
Thank god this guy was traded. He has so much potential but he's obviously doing something wrong. His talent is there; he scored 40 points in the D-League. But there has to be something wrong with his work ethic or practice regiment because Brooks rarely got off the bench when he was on the Celtics. He was in and out of the D-League and he was traded to the Warriors with Crawford.
 Joel Anthony: C-
His performance is nothing special, but he's not expected to be anything special. 
Courtney Lee: B
Off the bench, Lee shot almost 50% from the field and 44% from downtown. His shooting behind the arc was especially impressive. He's now tearing it up in Memphis and it seems like that trade was not a great one for the Celtics. Mr. Emerman wants Lee back on the Celtics because of his productive shooting and consistent defense. 
IN-AND-OUT OF THE DEVELOPMENTAL LEAGUE: 


Chris Johnson: B+
This guy consistently finds himself waiting in the corner and the ball finds him. He's been shooting lights out from the corner 3 and has been extremely impressive. His defense has been solid and what really distinguishes him from other players in this tier is his ability to rebound on the offensive glass. He does that because of his athleticism, hustle, and basketball I.Q. Mr Emerman thinks Johnson should be signed for the rest of the season.
Vitor Faverani: C+
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Early in the season, it looked like Faverani was a serious threat at the Center position and was competing with Olynyk for the starting job. After a hot start to the season, Faverani definitely cooled off and his stats and every category dipped. The C's then labelled him as a work in progress and sent him down to the Maine Red Claws in the D-League. He has been in and out of the NBA ever since then. 
Vander Blue: C+
Blue has shown flashes of brilliance in green but has been doing most of his work in the D-League and on the practice court. He's athletic and he plays very good defense, but his offensive game is very raw to say the least. For a fantastic post on who Vander Blue  is written by Danny Emerman, click here
THE YOUNGINS:

Phil Pressey: B
Pressey has been one constant for this ever-changing roster of Boston Celtics. Pressey has played well for the whole year, but has gained confidence in the last month especially. Pressey's passing ability is excellent but his overall offensive game needs a lot of improvement. He's a very streaky shooter but he pushes the pace better than anyone on the team not named Rajon. He doesn't have a huge role on the team and he doesn't play many minutes, but he's very young and has a lot of potential. He knows his role and makes the most of his playing time. For an awesome article on Phil Pressey's growth as a player as well as his background, click here
Kelly Olynyk: B-
Olynyk, Boston's 2013 first round draft pick, has physically struggled in the NBA at times, but makes up for it with an underrated passing ability, rebounding, and quickness. He's not very athletic, but he's a very good passer for a big man and he's quick with the ball. Olynyk's not a fantastic defender, but there's room for improvement because of his size. If I had to compare him to another player, I think he would be a poor man's Joakim Noah. Olynyk is averaging 6.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in just 18 minutes per game. Olynyk has been reliable, playing in 39 games. 
Avery Bradley: B-
Bradley is just 23 years old and has already solidified himself as one of the peskiest on-ball defenders in the league. But his offense still needs a lot of work. His jump shot has looked great at times, but his role in the offense has exceeded his capabilities. Bradley often finds himself shooting at least 20 times in some games, which is terrible because he's very inconsistent and inefficient. Bradley still can't really handle the ball and he has turnover problems. But those problems won't be as apparent when Rondo returns to full strength and can contribute legitimate minutes. Mr Emerman loves the defense, but would like to see some major improvement. 

THE VETS: 

Gerald Wallace: C+
Wallace, 31, is definitely eroding physically, but he has been a pleasant surprise in my opinion. He has show signs of leadership on the court and he consistently makes the right decisions. He doesn't put up great stats, but he often makes basic backdoor cuts and outlets the ball up the floor after rebounds which results in easy buckets. If hockey assists were a stat, Wallace would probably average a respectable 4 or 5 per game. He's physically not there anymore because of his age, but making the right decisions goes a long way for a young team that can be stagnant or wild at times. With all that said, he really doesn't play enough minutes, put in enough effort, or contribute on the offensive or defensive side of the ball enough to get a great grade from Mr. Emerman. 
Jeff Green: B
He's always been agonizing to watch, but it's becoming insane for Green. He's unstoppable when he's aggressive and he stinks when he settles for jump shots. I can't believe he hasn't caught on with his own scouting report yet! All he needs to do is attack the rim on a nightly basis and he would be a fantastic player. Instead, he's incredibly inconsistent and averages just 15.9 points and 4.9 rebounds as the number one option. He shoots 42 % from the floor and a pedestrian 36% from behind the arc. Get the hint, Jeff! Stop shooting threes unless your in the corner!!! He gets a B just because he's the leading scorer and go-to option with Rondo out. He also single-handedly won the Miami game. 
Kris Humphries: B
Humphries has picked up the slack from the under performing Brandon Bass, while coming off the bench and often tagging Bass out of the game. Hump has been very impressive, grabbing 6 rebounds per game and doing a bit of scoring: 7.8 PPG. Humphries always plays hard and that's all Mr. Emerman is looking for. 
Brandon Bass: C+
Bass has been solid, just like all his other years with Boston, but he was expected to make a leap with all of the talent that left the team. He's the best big man on the team, so Boston relied heavily on his offensive production early in the season. He couldn't execute on the offensive side of the ball and his size monumentally hurts him defensively. He's under performing, averaging 10.9 PPG and 5.9 RPG. Mr. Emerman wants to see Bass take on a more prominent offensive role. 
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THE FUTURE: 

Rajon Rondo: N/A
Rondo was absent to too many days of school because he was recovering from his knee injury. Rondo has played in just 7 games, hustling for 25 minutes per game. He doesn't qualify for a grade, but Mr. Emerman was very impressed with The Captain's performance against the Magic. Rondo was very rusty before the battle versus Orlando, but he dropped 19 and 10 in that contest and looked like vintage RR. Rondo will be an intricate part of the Celtics' future and their rebuilding phase.
Jared Sullinger: A-
Even though Sully has struggled lately, he has been Boston's best player throughout the season. He's good on offense, 13 PPG with a solid 16.77 PER, but that's not what stands out for Sullinger. Sully, the undersized power forward, grabs 7.9 rebounds per game. He uses his body better than any big man in the league and this man is only 21 years old. Sully has been ripped for his defense, but wrongfully so. He's not a shot blocker because of his size, but he does a great job contesting shots at the rim without fouling using the rule of veridicality. He wasn't great in the month of January, but he started off February strong with an enormous 21 points and 12 rebounds. Sully has the most potential on the team and Mr. Emerman thinks he's the key to the Celtics' future along with Rajon Rondo.