Also working out for the Celtics: Cuttino Mobley, Rashad McCants, and Trenton Hassell

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cuttino_mobley.jpgThe Boston Celtics currently have 17 players on their roster, but that hasn’t stopped them from batting their eyelashes at a handful of available free agent wings. As Kurt mentioned earlier (via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports), Adam Morrison is among them. He’s the headliner, in a way. As a 26 year-old former No. 3 overall pick and a former NCAA Co-Player of the Year, Morrison has some standout lines on his résumé and plenty of prime years left, even if he hasn’t proven much on the pro level.

Along with Morrison, Boston has brought in the thought-to-be-semi-retired Cuttino Mobley, the out-of-work-but-not-yet-retired Rashad McCants, and the probably-should-be-retired Trenton Hassell. It’s an odd bunch, each with their own quirks and red flags.

Mobley is attempting a comeback to the NBA after spending a season away from the game, which is rarely a promising sign for a 35 year-old wing. Apparently Mobley doesn’t view his potentially career-ending heart condition as quite so career-ending, and should he play his way into roster consideration, it’ll be interesting to see what Boston’s doctors have to say.

Regardless, it’s hard to see what Mobley can offer that the Celtics that they don’t already have. He’s an average three-point shooter that plays the type of defense you’d expect of a player his age at his position. I guess that makes him a fine Michael Finley substitute, but Boston doesn’t really need that.

McCants, too hasn’t played NBA ball since 2009, and his biggest contribution to the league since that time has been a denial by the staffers at last year’s Summer League. McCants can score, though he’s typically given his coaches headaches in his various NBA stops. Part of that stems from McCants’ personality, but I’m sure it has more to do with his reluctance to move the ball and stay focused on defense. NBA franchises seem to think that McCants is more trouble than he’s worth, particularly due to the one-dimensional nature of his game. He’s a scorer (not a particularly efficient one, at that) and nothing else, and teams can generally find such players in spades.

Hassell was once considered a defensive stopper, which was more indicative of his offensive limitations than his defensive prowess. He found ways to earn minutes, I’ll give him that, but Hassell has long benefited from a reputation for playing strong perimeter defense while his on-court product has been a bit less impressive. Hassell can still get the job done in spots, but he isn’t Bruce Bowen. He’s not even Quinton Ross. He’s an aging defender with nothing to contribute on offense.

Due diligence is encouraged, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Boston bringing in players for workouts or camp. Yet the Celtics are already absurdly deep, and have perfectly capable players deep on their bench. Given Boston’s current roster, the probability of any of these four players making it through training camp is quite slim.  

Jahlil Okafor fights man in Boston (video)

Jahlil Okafor

The 76ers lost a heartbreaker to the Celtics last night, dropping Philadelphia to 0-16.

Jahlil Okafor was apparently in a foul mood after the game.


We’re told everyone got up and fled the scene and no arrests were made.

We’re told the altercation began because one of the men in the other group yelled at Jahlil, “The 76ers suck.”

We spoke with a rep for Jahlil who tells us … Okafor says he was being heckled from the moment he left the club and felt threatened because people swarmed him on the street.

This video obviously doesn’t show everything, but it certainly makes Okafor look like the aggressor.

Okafor will probably face punishment from some combination of the legal system, NBA and 76ers.

Kristaps Porzingis envelops Victor Oladipo’s dunk attempt (video)

Nikola Vucevic, Kristaps Porzingis
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Scott Skiles moved Victor Oladipo to the bench, because the Magic coach wanted to give Oladipo a chance to be more aggressive.

It worked.

Oladipo scored a season-high 24 points in the Magic’s 100-91 win over the Knicks.

But Oladipo’s aggressiveness also produced this fantastic Kristaps Porzingis block:

John Wall: Wizards shouldn’t have rested me and Bradley Beal together

Bradley Beal, John Wall
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The Wizards scored just six fourth-quarter points in their loss to the Hornets last night.

John Wall and Bradley Beal rested for the first 4:42 of that final period.

Wall, via Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post:

“I feel like we can’t have me and Brad sitting,” said Wall, who finished with 14 points on 6 for 18 shooting, with six assists, five rebounds and four turnovers. “That’s just my opinion. Coach makes the decision he feels is best for us. I just feel like one of us has to be in in that situation because when you’re on the road, this is the time when you can step on them.

“I just feel like one of us has to be in. I don’t know. It’s just my opinion because our second unit was just so stagnant. And I’m not saying they lost the game. [Shoot], we all lost the game. We didn’t make shots. We were 1 for 20, right? I think we were just so stagnant. We really didn’t have anybody penetrating and creating.”

First of all, this is how you disagree with a coach. Wall made clear that he respects Randy Wittman’s authority to set the rotation. Two adults should be allowed to acknowledge their differing opinions without it being labeled a feud.

But is Wall right?

Per nbawowy!, here are Washington’s offensive/defensive/net ratings with:

  • Wall and Beal: 103.0/105.0/-2.0 in 224 minutes
  • Wall without Beal: 110.0/111.2/-1.2 in 134 minutes
  • Beal without Wall: 80.2/116.8/-36.6 in 48 minutes
  • Neither Wall nor Beal: 105.2/101.6/+3.6 in 123 minutes

The Wizards have been much better with neither player on the court this season. They’ve also been a disaster when Beal plays without Wall.

But this is a relatively small sample. Let’s look back to last season.

  • Wall and Beal: 108.5/101.5/+7.0 in 1,715 minutes
  • Wall without Beal: 103.0/102.0/+1.0 in 1,123 minutes
  • Beal without Wall: 103.2/110.9/-7.7 in 384 minutes
  • Neither Wall nor Beal: 97.0/107.0/-10.0 in 768 minutes

Washington was – by far – at its best when Wall and Beal shared the court. They just complement each other so well. The Wizards were also fine with just Wall, bad with just Beal and even worse with neither.

If I were the Wizards, I’d generally chance resting Wall and Beal simultaneously so they can play more together. If I’m using just one, it’s Wall. Beal is not a creator I trust to run the offense, and Wall’s defense is important.

But there’s a limit on how much Wall (and Beal) can play. Wall got 36 minutes against Charlotte, and Beal played 38.

To the point, Wall and Beal played the final 7:18 – and the Wizards didn’t make a single basket in that span. They scored just two points on free throws. So, it’s hard to argue Wall and Beal were the answer.

Wittman blamed the players more than his substitutions.

Wittman, via J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:

“We don’t have guys that are making plays right now. Again, good looks but until we quit feeling sorry,” said Wittman, who could’ve gone this road after a 123-106 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday but didn’t. “When things go bad like that I had to twice in timeouts and tell them to lift their heads up. There’s plenty of time left. We’re up nine during this whole thing.  We start feeling sorry, start pouting putting our heads down and it becomes a snowball. We got to grow up in that aspect of it. If the shot doesn’t go in, it doesn’t go in.

“Makes, misses, that’s the game. You never give in. We haven’t gotten over that. That’s been that way for the last couple of years. Guys don’t play well, put their heads down and we pout, feel sorry for ourselves.”

When Wittman previously called out a player publicly, Marcin Gortat didn’t take it well. I’m not sure this will go any better.


When confronted with Wittman’s words, Bradley Beal only would shake his head before giving this retort: “I’m not going to comment on that.”

It’s uncharacteristic of the fourth-year shooting guard, who’ll usually give some sort of answer and shrug it off. By saying nothing, he’s staying plenty.

The Wizards, who entered the season a contender for the Eastern Conference finals, are 6-6. They’ve lost two straight, by 17 and 14 – and the end of their last defeat was historically dreadful.

Is this a team in turmoil?

Michael provides plenty of context to that question.