Deron Williams doesn’t think he deserves to be All-Star

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Just a couple years ago Deron Williams was an All-Star automatic — if the fans didn’t vote him in, the coaches would. And should have. In 2010 he averaged 18.7 points and 10.5 assists per game with a PER of 20.6. He got mentioned next to Chris Paul in the “best point guard in the game” conversations.

Now… not so much. This season he is averaging 16.8 points and 7.7 assists a game, is shooting just 40.9 percent (32.8 percent from three) and has a PER 18.3. He’s still good, but is he an All-Star?

Even D-Will himself said no. From ESPN:

“I just think there’s people playing better than me,” he said Tuesday.

He’s right. And most year’s there wouldn’t be a question he’d sit it out, but this year is not deep with amazing guards in the East and Williams could still find himself voted in by the coaches.

When the All-Star starters are announced Thursday, Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade will get the guard spots in the East (they had a pretty healthy lead heading into the final week of voting).

After that what other guards go in? To me Kyrie Irving is a lock. After that you have a mix of guys like Jrue Holiday, Monta Ellis, J.R. Smith and D-Will who you could argue deserve a spot. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the coaches go with Williams out of that pack (I’d go Holiday, personally).

D-Will is right, other guys have played better this year. That often has little to do with All-Star selections.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.