Tag: Marcus Thornton

Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics

67RIEFNS No. 41: Rajon Rondo playing with (slightly) better teammates


The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

So many times last year, I saw Rajon Rondo dribble through traffic, read the defense and throw a pinpoint pass to an open teammate… who missed the shot.

Rondo’s supporting cast in Boston won’t set the world on fire, and it’s probably not playoff caliber.

But it’s better.

For Rondo, that means everything.

Rondo combines toughness and intelligence to form one brilliant package. He sees the court like few others, and he uses his strength and speed to create angles that play to his advantage. He just can’t shoot jumpers reliably, meaning his particular brand of basketball works best when he has teammates who finish what he creates.

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen didn’t make Rondo. But they made Rondo’s skills shine. It was a symbiotic relationship, one last year’s Celtics couldn’t come close to duplicating for Rondo.

This year’s squad won’t come close to those glory-days teams, but it should be an upgrade over last year.

Avery Bradley is healthy, and Marcus Thornton also helps at off guard. Tyler Zeller is a skilled center, and more importantly, he allows Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk to play their natural position of power forward. Evan Turner gets a bad rap from his time in Indiana, but he’s a capable NBA player.

It was tough seeing Rondo’s talent wasted so often last season. It should happen a little less this year.

It’s official, Celtics sign Evan Turner to two-year deal

Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards

Evan Tuner is going to get another shot.

But on a team where he is going to have to play within the system or the numerous other options on the wing will jump ahead of him in the rotation.

The Boston Celtics made official on Monday what everyone knew was coming for weeks, that they were signing Evan Turner. The Celtics made some roster moves Sunday to clear the way for this. This is a two year deal, fully guaranteed, for a total of $6.7 million, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

That’s about the right price for landing Turner, but he is going to have to earn some minutes on the wing. Avery Bradley and Jeff Green will likely start at the two and the three. Behind them Marcus Thornton can play the two while Gerald Wallace and James Young can back up the three. You can make a case that Turner should get minutes as a backup at the two or three, but if he falters quality players are there to take up those minutes.

Turner averaged 17.4 points a game in the up-tempo Sixers offense the first half of last season (someone had to take the shots and Turner did) but he wasn’t efficient with his.504 true shooting percentage. Larry Bird traded for him because the Pacers needed some offense but when asked to blend into the Pacers team concept he could not. By second round of the playoffs he was barely getting minutes for an Indy team struggling to find any offense it could.

Brad Stevens is the latest to take on the Turner project. He’s got a couple years to figure it out.

It’s official: Kings trade Jason Terry to Rockets for Alonzo Gee, Scotty Hopson

Chicago Bulls v Brooklyn Nets

There is no surprise here, this had been expected for weeks, but it took some time for the sides to hammer out the final details and wait for other things to clear up. Now it’s done and official.

Veteran Jason Terry has been traded to the Rockets, along with two second round picks, for Alonzo Gee, Scotty Hopson and a trade exception. The Kings and Rockets have announced the move.

Terry is the biggest name in the deal. He helped the Mavericks to a ring in 2011, but there are questions about what he can contribute at this point in Houston. Last season Terry came to the Kings from Brooklyn (Marcus Thornton deal), and once there he rehabbed his injury while the Kings played their youngsters. While in Brooklyn Terry didn’t do much — 4.5 points a game on 36.2 percent shooting in 35 games.

Terry is in the last year of a $5.8 million deal, which means it’s not a terrible gamble for the Rockets, but Houston fans may not want to get their hopes too high about what he brings at this point.

Gee and Hopson are some nice players the Kings can try to develop.

However the thing to watch is the Kings have a $5.85 million trade exception out of this deal (via the USA Today’s Sam Amick). Already very active trade partners, this gives the Kings the ability to absorb a salary without sending any out, although with them flirting with the luxury tax line currently that may be moot at the February trade deadline. However, the exception is good for a year so next summer they have another tool to use.

ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Boston Celtics

Rajon Rondo

Last season: The Celtics went 25-57, their worst record and first time out of the playoffs since their championship.

Boston set up its fate by trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce before the season, and Rajon Rondo missing a majority of the year due to injury sealed it.

Brad Stevens worked through his first NBA season and had his team playing hard, but the Celtics just didn’t have enough talent to compete for a playoff spot – even in the East. Brandon Bass was their best player. Let me repeat: Brandon Bass was their best player.

Signature highlight from last season: If you want the Celtics’ best play of the season, it’s Jeff Green catching an inbound with 0.6 seconds remaining and nailing a 3-pointer to beat the Heat:

But if you want the moment that truly captures Boston’s season, it’s Rajon Rondo sitting on the bench and cringing at the box score. The video has been pulled, but he asked for a box score, looked down at it and shuddered. Rondo on the bench, the Celtics losing and their star player unhappy – Boston’s year in a nutshell.

Key offseason moves:

Keys to the Celtics’ season:

Fitting in Rajon Rondo: This starts on the court, where Rondo is an All-Star-caliber guard. He’s an excellent passer, hounding defender and very good rebounder for his position.

But his skills are best used with other good players around him, and the Celtics are woefully short on those – which is why they might trade him.

There was a report Rondo asked to be traded this summer, and of course, denials followed. For now, we’re all in wait-and-see mode.

Rondo’s contract ends after the season, and he’s notoriously prickly, especially when his team is losing. Obviously, that makes him a prime trade candidate.

At this point, Boston will probably keep Rondo to begin the season, but after drafting point guard Marcus Smart at No. 6 and not improving the team in the short term this, the writing is on the wall for a Rondo trade.

Seeing progress from Brad Stevens: On paper, the Celtics lack talent to compete into the postseason.

But so did Butler.

Stevens came to Boston with a great college pedigree. Him translating that to the NBA might be the Celtics’ best chance of defying expectations this season.

If Stevens can implement the sound defensive and offensive systems that worked so well at Butler, Boston will be a very tough out each game. Any feisty team in the East has a chance.

Taking advantage of having a center: Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Kris Humphries often played the pivot for the undermanned Celtics last season. Not only were those players – power forwards by trade – ill-equipped to handle the job, it wore them down.

Humphries left in free agency, but with Tyler Zeller in line to start and Vitor Faverani hopefully healthy enough to back him up, Sullinger and Olynyk can take advantage. Both are skilled bigs, which they can better show if they’re no longer taking such consistent poundings.

Why you should watch: Rondo. Nobody impacts a game quite like him. Whether he’s turning down open shots to make a pass, gambling for steals or crashing the glass, Rondo is a point guard unlike any other. His all-out effort and high awareness give him a unique style.

Plus, watching Rondo is scouting. He might be playing for your favorite team soon.

Prediction: 24-58. Rondo is very good, and Green will have his moments. But I don’t think this team is good enough to be in the playoff race at the trade deadline, and I think that means Rondo gets dealt. The Celtics are probably capable of finishing better than 24-58, but I anticipate trading Rondo will be part of a tanking effort. Smart and Young could get plenty of minutes down the stretch, aiding their development and Boston’s losing. Danny Ainge seems ready to kick rebuilding into full gear.

Report: Kings finalizing deal to trade Jason Terry to Rockets

Newly acquired Brooklyn Net's NBA player Jason Terry smiles as he is introduced to the media during a news conference in Brooklyn

Jason Terry was traded to the Kings in a deadline deal last season, but he never played a game in Sacramento, and now it appears as though he never will.

Terry came over from Brooklyn as part of the deal that sent Marcus Thornton to the Nets, but spent the remainder of the year away from the team, rehabilitating from injury. He had hoped for a buyout of his contract, but Sacramento preferred to hang onto him, while giving the younger players on the roster the chance to develop by playing them the bulk of the minutes.

Terry was always better-suited to join a contender at this stage of his career, and he’ll now get that chance in Houston.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Sacramento is finalizing a deal to send guard Jason Terry to the Houston Rockets, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.

Houston will send package of non-guaranteed contracts to Kings, including Alonzo Gee, sources said. Kings sending future second to Rockets.

It’s now two second round picks that will be headed back to Sacramento, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle and later confirmed by Wojnarowski.

Terry averaged career lows in points (4.5), field goal percentage (36.2) and minutes played (16.3) for the Nets in 35 appearances, and scored in double figures only six times. He may not have been right physically, and taking the second half of last season off could help him regain his form, to where he can once again become a viable contributor off the bench.

It’s a low-risk move for the Rockets to try to add some relatively inexpensive veteran help, even if it doesn’t end up panning out. Terry is in the final year of his contract, one that will pay him just over $5.8 million next season.