No easy decision on Celtics’ last roster spot

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Post by bobheckler on Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:36 am

http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/celtics/2016/10/14/easy-decision-last-roster-spot/vIdRpfT1S8JeH4NnphqFRM/story.html



No easy decision on Celtics’ last roster spot




No easy decision on Celtics’ last roster spot 97fb2b6972e84e3283158040c507ec6a-97fb2b6972e84e3283158040c507ec6a-0
Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter (28) drives against Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb during the fourth quarter of a preseason NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Greensboro, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Guard R.J. Hunter is one of four players vying for the last spot on the Celtics’ 15-man roster.
BRIAN BLANCO/ASSOCIATED PRESS



By Adam HimmelsbachGLOBE STAFF


OCTOBER 15, 2016



NEW YORK — Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has been with the team during this four-day trip, sitting in on shootarounds and practices, and sitting behind the bench for Thursday’s preseason game against the Nets.

For Ainge, the countdown to the season opener on Oct. 26 has begun, and his most pressing order of business until then will be finalizing the 15-man roster. Sixteen of the 20 Celtics in training camp have guaranteed contracts this season, so one of them will have to go.

“My job is going to be very difficult,” Ainge said. “Sometimes when you get in these situations they work themselves out, but that certainly hasn’t been the case yet. The only clarity is that they’re all NBA players.”

The Celtics faced a similar roster crunch last year, but it was always believed that Perry Jones III would be released. This season, the scenario is more cloudy.

Third-year wing James Young and second-year guard R.J. Hunter have long appeared to be in a battle for the final roster spot. But Ainge cautioned that the field has not necessarily been narrowed to just those two players.

Rookie Demetrius Jackson, a second-round pick from Notre Dame, has a guaranteed $1.45 million deal this season. Veteran wing Gerald Green, meanwhile, was signed for the minimum of $1.4 million, with the Celtics guaranteeing about $980,000.

Ideally, Ainge said, the Celtics would complete a trade rather than simply waive a player, and he said the Celtics have “been in conversations” about a possible deal. Of course, the return in such a deal would hardly be sizable, and other NBA teams are aware the Celtics will have to release a player soon.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been part of ongoing discussions with Ainge about the construction of this year’s roster. The two will have a more focused talk when it is time to pare the group, but for now Stevens sees why it will be a challenging exercise for Ainge.


“I think the one thing that’s been very clear is there’s nothing really clear with regard to that right now, as far as finalizing our 15 people on the roster,” Stevens said. “They’ve all really, really improved, really made great strides. It’s going to be a tough call to ultimately not have a couple of these guys on our roster full-time.”

Young, Hunter, Jackson, and Green have all had bright moments during the preseason, but none in such a way that would make Ainge’s choice obvious.

In four games, Young is averaging 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds and shooting 38.5 percent from the field, while Hunter is averaging 3.5 points and 1.8 assists and shooting 30.8 percent. Both have struggled defensively at times.

“I’m not thinking about it at all,” Young said of the battle to make the final roster. “That’s just only going to put more pressure on me. I’m not really thinking about any of that. We’ve got great guys on the team, so I’m just going out there and playing basketball.”

“I think me being in this position makes me appreciate it all the more,” Hunter said. “I’m just having fun. I haven’t had to worry about [making the team] since they brought it up in the summer. I’m just continuing to help the team now.”

Jackson had 9 points in 15 minutes in a win against the Hornets last Saturday, but has played a total of just 7 minutes otherwise. Green missed the first two preseason games with a strained hip flexor but has showed his scoring ability over the last two, averaging 11.5 points.

Even though Green appears in a good position to make the final roster, he said he is not taking anything for granted. He said he wants to show that he deserves a spot.

“I feel like that’s why I’ve been trying to step on the court, because I feel like I haven’t really done anything to feel like I’ve proved myself,” he said. “I’m not trying to prove myself in the NBA; I feel like I’ve already done that. But I just want to prove myself to this team, to this organization.”

Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, who was once in an uncertain roster position as the last pick of the 2011 draft, said the players trying to make this year’s team should not stray from what got them to this point.

“Just be yourself, because if you just try to be something that you think they want and then get cut, you’re going to be mad at yourself,” Thomas said. “So just do what got you here and be a hell of a teammate and outwork everybody, the things you can control. You can’t control if the ball goes in the basket; you control how hard you play, how good of a teammate you are, and the work you put in.”




bob
MY NOTE:  Danny trying to do the right thing and find a landing spot for a player or two, so they still have a chance of making a team, rather than just paying them off and saying "good luck, kid".  As pointed out by Himmelsbach there isn't much of a payoff for Danny or the Celtics here.  This might be the hardest part about being "Trader Danny".  I would think that making a trade when you have something of value to offer is easier than when you, and everybody else, knows that you are playing with a broken inside straight.  He is trying to unload very end-of-benchers here.  Players that even he has to admit aren't going to make the roster otherwise.   Not exactly a strong hand to play.


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Post by Matty on Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:48 am

Hunter and young and some of those millions of second rounders we have to the clippers for that Paul Peirce fella..

Solves multiple issues and would be a very nice celtics feel good story.
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Post by RosalieTCeltics on Sat Oct 15, 2016 10:41 am

I expressed my thoughts about Paul in another post. I have come up with a different scenerio: Paul will play out his year in LA and at the end of the regular season, after he has put up non Paul Pierce numbers, Doc waives him for room on his playoff lineup. After this, PP will sign with the Celtics for the bare minimum, at which time he will play against the Cav's in the Eastern Division title match. Final game, tied with three seconds left on the clock, Stevens puts PP in, he gets the ball, and takes a step back three pointer to win the game and beat LEBRON for a final time.

Hey, not bad, right??????? A girl can dream can't she?
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Post by kdp59 on Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:07 am

Pierce is done guys

sorry and not to dismiss all he did here in the past, but time has moved on.

he would add nothing to our team this year, IMO.
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Post by RosalieTCeltics on Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:22 am

i was just joking, i totally agree, I wish he would retire now before he waters down his numbers any more. What is it with some of these guys, they just cannot walk away from the roar of the crowd.
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Post by gyso on Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:42 am

Rosalie,

IMO, they cannot walk away from the $$$$. Where else, for the rest of their life, will they have access to that much yearly salary?

I don't blame them, either.

gyso

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Post by swish on Sat Oct 15, 2016 12:20 pm

Yeah,,, I bet its never easy to walk away from something you love doing - especially when your still comparatively young and making fantastic money to boot. On the other hand - My retirement day was one of the happiest days of my life.

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Post by RosalieTCeltics on Sat Oct 15, 2016 12:47 pm

My husband says that too. Me, on the other hand, had no choice in the matter, i Could no longer work. I missed it for a while, but, now, eh...............
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Post by arambone on Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:18 pm

Watch James Young go to the 76ers and become a decent player all of a sudden.

Nader is better than all these guys and he didn't even get a camp invite.

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Post by RosalieTCeltics on Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:21 pm

we all kind of wondered why Nader did not get an invite. he had a great summer camp
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Post by cowens/oldschool on Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:24 pm

arambone wrote:Watch James Young go to the 76ers and become a decent player all of a sudden.

Nader is better than all these guys and he didn't even get a camp invite.


agreed, he should have gotten at least an invite
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Post by swish on Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:21 pm

He forgot to check with the fans before making the cut.

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Post by jrleftfoot on Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:52 pm

swish wrote:He forgot to check with the fans before making the cut.

 swish

lol!
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Post by Ram on Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:53 pm

RJ Hunter made a great case to stick around tonight.
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Post by kdp59 on Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:46 am

yes Hunter played well last night
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Post by wideclyde on Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:53 pm

Unfortunately, I do not think that either Young or Hunter will make any type of contribution to this year's team from the 15th player position. As a result I think that I would find a way to get rid of both of them and open up a roster space for some guy who may surprisingly get cut by another team. Even if the 15th spot gets filled by a dozen D Leaguers throughout the course of the season the Cs may find a keeper better than either guy. A two for one trade bringing back another marginal player would also be OK. Signing the kid from Eqypt who played well in the summer league would also be fine.

Young has been around a long time (two plus seasons) and just does not seem to "get it" despite a few sporadic complements made by the Cs brass. And, of course, they really cannot say anything bad about him if they ever even hope to get anything back for him. Hunter should be better, and probably is to at least some degree, but he plays the same position as too many other guys who are clearly still very much ahead of him.

I guess if I had to keep one of them that I would keep Hunter at this point, but most of my decision would be based on Young's terrible lack of progress in this being his third year with the team. It still seems like all/any of his past basketball success stemmed from the fact that he was just so much better of an athlete than his peers even through his year of college ball. Now, unfortunately for him, he is no longer the most athletic kid on the court, and has not been able to catch up with the mental side of the game at the NBA level.

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Post by beat on Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:16 pm

To me this is much ado about nothing.....name me any team that has a 15th player that is gonna do anything this year?

I'd take a gamble on some long shot with some potential. Hunter and Young are what they are. And as Wide mentioned perhaps a trade or pickup some other castoff. But still it isn't really a decision that will make or break us.

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Post by bobheckler on Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:28 am

beat wrote:To me this is much ado about nothing.....name me any team that has a 15th player that is gonna do anything this year?

I'd take a gamble on some long shot with some potential.  Hunter and Young are what they are. And as Wide mentioned  perhaps a trade or pickup some other castoff. But still it isn't really a decision that will make or break us.

beat


I agree with beat and Clyde.  I don't think either player will rise above 10th player on any roster barring at least 2 injuries at their depth chart spot.  It is fun to root for an underdog and given the choices my pick would be Hunter (comparable shooting, better ball handling, passing, BBIQ) but unless Smart AND Brown AND Bradley (and maybe Crowder too) go down he isn't getting rotation minutes and non-rotation bench players are non-impact players.

Having said all this, GO RJ!!!  If nothing else I won't have to see Young anymore.


bob


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Post by beat on Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:43 am

And I believe you can only dress 13 players for a game
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Post by dboss on Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:06 am

The ability to accumulate draft picks is great however the inability to use those picks to upgrade the roster reflects negatively on Boston Celtics management.

Young and RJ were first round picks.  There is a chance neither one of them will be on the team this year.  Guerschon Yabusele and  Ante Zizic are playing international ball because there is NO room on the roster for them.  Can anyone out there recall a situation where an NBA team used 2 first round picks in the same year on players that will be stashed away for an undetermined amount of time.  DA did what he had to do however he was not able to execute a trade that could have packaged some of these picks for a player or players that can help us now.

The Kid Jackson a second rounder would probably have been a lock to make the 15 man team a few years ago.  But now he is probably out of a job unless he can be traded or picked up off of the waiver wire.

At this point Danny has not done a very good job managing these assets because the only way to realize a return on so many draft picks is to trade, trade trade...

We still need a big man and it would be great is DA can pull off a three for one deal or at the very least a 2 for 1 deal to get a center.  

The battle for the final roster spot appears to be between Young and Hunter.  Both have had their moments during pre-season but I think RJ has distanced himself from Young with his eye opening performance against the Knicks.  Hunter just looks like a better basketball player than Young.

Our #1 pick Brown appears to be a multi-skilled player however I have seen absolutely nothing that tells me he is a knock down shooter from the perimeter. He is very good slashing and getting to the rim but where is the jumper?

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Post by kdp59 on Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:01 am

I think Danny did a pretty good job on draft day this year.

you need to have someone to trade with first off, a dancing partner.

Ainge drafted two euro players who he can control for a few years and bring onto the roster when we have spots for them.

and

he sent two seconds to Memphis for a future first round pick. again moving some of our EIGHT picks into future years.

I think that was about as good as we could ask for, considering no one was throwing all stars at Danny for draft picks this year.
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Post by gyso on Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:20 pm

A point guard that can shoot as well?  What an intriguing concept.  Due to that, Jackson sticks.

Trading flotsam and jetsam for a rotational big?  That will never happen unless Danny adds a first rounder to the mix and probably more.  We have proposed many trades over the years involving multiple players (our junk) for one good player and not one single trade like that has ever happened.  Quantity for quality never happens in the modern NBA, unless your GM is a tanking fool.

RJ and/or Young will probably be traded (with cash) to a team that will either promptly release them or add them to their roster because they are inexpensive and they need to fill out a minimum sized roster per league rules.  We will probably get a protected 2nd round pick in return.  Nobody wants to help Danny create a contending team.  I hope that they both go so that we can free up one roster spot for future flexibility.

I'll repeat, nobody wants to help Danny create a contending team.  That certainly leaves him with very few (if any) options that do not include trading away our best assets for little return.  He has the backing of the ownership group, as was reported going into the draft.  They are more interested in the long haul and not so much about the quick fix.

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Post by dboss on Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:13 pm

kdp59 wrote:I think Danny did a pretty good job on draft day this year.

you need to have someone to trade with first off, a dancing partner.

Ainge drafted two euro players who he can control for a few years and bring onto the roster when we have spots for them.

and

he sent two seconds to Memphis for a future first round pick. again moving some of our EIGHT picks into future years.

I think that was about as good as we could ask for, considering no one was throwing all stars at Danny for draft picks this year.

Time will tell if DA did a pretty good job on the draft this year.

The Euros picks especially Yubo appear to be a stretch.  They went into the Draft needing a shooter from distance.  What we got is another in a long line of question marks.  DA did a real good job getting AH in free agency.

The only thing that I think he did well is during the draft was moving 2 seconds for a future first.  Otherwise the draft is one big question mark.  If you like Jackson forget about him making the team unless you plan to trade one of our other 3 point guards.  I forgot about the other 2nd rounders that were drafted but if you look at the sum total...  it was a rather poor draft performance from Ainge.

I think with 8 picks DA should have come up with a better draft results and/or trades.  We still need that rim protector and we still need a deep shooter.  

The team will be very competitive again this year despite the questionable 2016 draft results.  Not that it matters to some but the draft grades were Brown B  Yubo C  and Seasick B+ For all I know our 3 first rounders could be better or worse than the SI draft grades.

dboss


Last edited by dboss on Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by dboss on Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:23 pm

gyso

"Nobody wants to help Danny create a contending team"

This sounds like an excuse. Considering that nobody wants to help anybody build a contender. Danny has overvalued his assets and as a results he got stuck with more than he could reasonably use.

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Post by gyso on Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:30 pm

dboss,

Just curious, who do you consider to be our other 3 point guards? I think I know the answer, but it will not give me great comfort.

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