Cruise around the web today for Celtics news and you'll find a lot of stuff about the Celtics search for bench help.
Despite their recent losses, the sky hasn't fallen. The Celtics won't make a kneejerk move to add a veteran big man or a veteran guard with scoring skills off the bench. As they did with Brown and Sam Cassell late last season, expect them to take their time to make sure they get the right piece to their puzzle.
The Celtics will keep an eye on what big men are waived by Saturday, when contracts become guaranteed for the rest of the season. Potential candidates include Memphis's Darius Miles, Chicago's Michael Ruffin, the Lakers' Josh Powell, Miami's Jamal Magliore, Milwaukee's Austin Croshere, New Orleans's Sean Marks, and Toronto's Jake Voskuhl.
Like last year, the Celtics are again looking for a way to improve the reserve unit. Perhaps help will come once a big man – Joe Smith (Oklahoma City) or Brad Miller (Sacramento) are likely candidates – is bought out of his contract. Perhaps president of basketball operations Danny Ainge really is intrigued by Stephon Marbury despite the forlorn guard’s reputation as a chemistry killer.
But until then, improvement is expected to come from within.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game that center Alonzo Mourning will decide if he will return in the next 3-4 weeks. Mourning, who still has a locker in the Heat dressing room, is rehabbing and has said he hopes to re-sign with Miami sometime this season.
So the search continues. Of all the names, I like Joe Smith and Alonzo Mourning the best. I wouldn't be shocked to see Miles get another look, either.
After the jump, the links, and how Rajon Rondo seems to be getting love from everyone BUT All Star voters.
The New York Times has a good piece on Rondo and how he's developed.
Rondo also provides critical emotional balance to a hyperintense lineup. Garnett bellows and mutters. Perkins thumps his chest. Pierce talks trash. Eddie House skips and preens. Rondo just steadily gets the job done, without the histrionics.
“Never get too emotional about the game,” Rondo said. “Don’t let the opposing team see if things are going good, how excited I am; and then when I’m low they can either talk me out of my game or get me upset or frustrated. I try to always keep an even keel when I’m out there playing.”
While KG and Pierce are on pace to produce 8.1 fewer wins this year, Rondo is on pace to provide 8.2 additional victories. Consequently, Rondo is now the most productive player on the Celtics. Yes, Rondo is offering more than KG, Pierce, or Ray Allen.
If we look at the individual stats, we see that Rondo – relative to last year – is a more efficient scoring, tallying more assists, and getting more steals. As a result, his WP48 has risen from 0.219 (which is very good) to 0.371 (which is amazing).
So it seems like everyone knows Rondo is awesome except for the people casting the All-Star ballots. And it's not that I'm looking for him to get voted onto the team. I just want to see that people are noticing. But while Rajon Rondo isn't even among the top 11 vote getters at guard, you CAN find Gilbert Arenas at #6… even though he only played 13 games last year and none this year. Luke Ridnour (10.6 ppg, 5.6 apg on a 16-19 small market team vs. 11.1 ppg, 7.1 apg on a 29-5, big market, defending champion) is also up there at #7.
How is that possible? How does Boston let that happen? How do we, in this huge city and with such a huge following across the country, let Luke-flippin'-Ridnour get more votes than Rondo? Have we no idea how to stuff ballot boxes?
Herald: Cavs get best from Delonte West | Aldridge has court retort for KG's banter | Globe: Knicks could drop Marbury | Souza: Celtics can't be trapped | T&G: Real test coming from Cavs (Didn't I just say that yesterday? Does the T&G read Red's Army?) | Plain Dealer: Trade winds calm for Cavs | OC Register: Bynum's sporadic play puzzles Jackson | LA Times: Numbers aren't adding up for Celtics | Celtics honor Natick firefighters