Chris Johnson

Kentucky coach John Calipari: ‘If we played ANY NBA team, we would get buried’


Kentucky beat Georgetown College, 121-52, in an exhibition game last night, and Georgetown College coach Chris Briggs got a little carried away afterward.

Briggs, via Larry Vaught of The Advocate Messenger:

if they play like they did tonight, they’re an NBA playoff team.

Kentucky coach John Calipari – who knows a little something about how much talent his team has – dismissed the notion as hyperbole.

There’s absolutely no question: Kentucky wouldn’t come close to making the NBA playoffs.

Every once in a while, usually with Kentucky lately, we debate whether a college team could beat an NBA team. The safe and mostly correct answer is a resounding no.

But could this year’s 76ers be bad enough to change the verdict?

The typical response to the debate is that a great college team has a few NBA-caliber players and an NBA team has 15. But how many 76ers would be in the NBA right now if Philadelphia weren’t tanking? It’s rare even the worst teams build a roster like this.

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton projected just six 76ers would finish perform better this season than a replacement-level player: Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Henry Sims, Tony Wroten, K.J. McDaniels and Chris Johnson.

Meanwhile, Kentucky has the Nos. 3, 10, 19, 30, 32, 33, 37, 39 and 43 prospects in the DraftExpress rankings. Of course, that doesn’t mean six of Karl Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson, Andrew Harrison, Marcus Lee, Aaron Harrison, Devin Booker, Alex Poythress and Trey Lyles would fare positively in the NBA right now. But that’s an impressive amount of depth for a college team.

I’d definitely pick the 76ers over Kentucky right now, but before making definitive judgments, let’s see a little more of both teams in action.

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


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.

Celtics waive Malcolm Thomas, John Lucas III; Sixers claim Chris Johnson


Boston and Philadelphia were making a few last minute roster moves Sunday before training camp opens.

The Celtics officially waived Malcolm Thomas, John Lucas III, something reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.

Why? Because they needed some space to finally, officially sign Evan Turner for camp. They also may bring in someone like camp invitee Christian Waterford, according Chris Forsburg of

Last Thursday the Celtics waived swingman Chris Johnson and on Sunday the Sixers picked him up, again reported by Stein.

However, this is a fully guaranteed contract, Johnson will have to make the Philadelphia roster.

The Sixers are bringing a full 20 guys into training camp and more than half of them are on guaranteed contracts — there is some real drama in that camp for who might make the final roster.

Report: Celtics moving on from Kevin Love pursuit


Not long ago, the Celtics were the leading contender for Kevin Love.


Considering a follow-up report said Boston’s offer wasn’t good enough, the Timberwolves were probably just trying to drum up interest.

Since, interest in Love has really heated up. The Cavaliers, willing to offer Andrew Wiggins, are the main contenderand they’re growing stronger. The Warriors, as long as they have Klay Thompson, remain in the mix. And the Bulls aren’t going away either.

So the Celtics – whose offer is based primarily on draft picks that may or may not interest the win-now Timberwolves – see the writing on the wall.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northwest:

There’s no waiving of the white flag just yet, but the Boston Celtics appear to be ready to move on from their pursuit of Minnesota star Kevin Love, league sources tell

“The more teams step up and show interest in Love, the further Boston falls in the pack,” a source said on Wednesday. “Danny’s a smart guy. He knows when to keep pushing for something and when to move on.”

Remember, a report said the Celtics would trade Rajon Rondo if they couldn’t get Love. That prospect certainly gets a lot more interesting now.

Rondo becomes a free agent next summer, and the Celtics probably aren’t much closer to winning than they were last season. This is the time to get value for Rondo. Another year of rebuilding won’t endear Boston to Rondo and just increases the chances of him walking.

First-round picks Marcus Smart and James Young and the unguaranteed contracts of Keith Bogans, Chris Johnson, Chris Babb and Phill Pressey give the Celtics flexibility to go in any direction. With Love no longer central to their plans – though they could still get involved if the Love trade adds a third team – it’ll be interesting to see which path they choose.

Report: Celtics also interested in Lance Stephenson


If the Pacers let Lance Stephenson leave, he might find an unforgiving market in free agency.

Plenty of question exist about Stephenson’s maturity and focus, and without question, some teams are turned off by his antics.

But at least a couple – and there could be overlap with the teams downgrading Stephenson due to his behavior – are interested in the guard. The Lakers and Mavericks view Stephenson as a fallback option if they don’t sign LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony.

Don’t leave out the Celtics among possible suitors.

Chris Broussard of ESPN:

The Celtics can offer just the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,305,000 starting,$22,652,350 over four years). That falls well short of Indiana’s reported five-year, $44 million offer.

However, the unguaranteed deals of Keith Bogans, Phil Pressey,Chris Johnson andChris Babb make it much easier for Boston to build a compelling sign-and-trade package. Obviously, those players alone won’t fetch much, but they make a larger deal including draft picks and/young players financially feasible.

I wouldn’t get too concerned with the money, though.

The Celtics already have Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley in their backcourt, and they just drafted guards Marcus Smart and James Young in the first round. If Boston is in serious contention for Stephenson, more moves are likely in the pipeline.

This is probably a case of Danny Ainge wanting to insert himself into the biggest happenings. Maybe that’s by engineering a complex of transactions that lands Stephenson in Boston – or maybe it’s just leaking the Celtics’ interest when they don’t have the room to make a serious play.