Breaking Down New Celtics Center Vitor Faverani

New Celtics center Vitor Faverani for Valencia

New Celtics center Vitor Faverani for Valencia

 

The Celtics are reportedly signing Brazilian center Vitor Faverani, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

The 6-foot-11, 25-year-old averaged 9.3 points and 4.6 rebounds on 59% shooting in only 17 minutes of action for Valencia of the Spanish ACB, typically considered the second-best professional league in the world, in 2012-2013. Faverani doesn’t look particularly big – his muscles and arms don’t look particularly toned like most NBA players – but according to those who’ve seen him play, he’s a very strong, physical player whose athleticism drives his game. He’s rather raw in his skill set, but don’t let that mistake you: the dude can play. From my limited YouTube research, Favernani appears to be a quick finisher at the hoop, a decent ball-handler for a big man off the dribble, and sports a nifty hook shot from the left side. He also has the wherewithal to adjust his shot mid-jump and finish with both hands. In terms of defense, I’ve got nothing, though his rebounding numbers may tell the entire story. His offensive game is supposed to be his better quality. Either way, with increased minutes his numbers would, in theory, also increase.

Faverani has won a championship as professional, and also plays for the Brazilian national team. At 25, he is entering his ninth season of professional basketball.

My comparison: make a Brandon Bass/Jeff Green hybrid with a high basketball IQ, even more athleticism, and make him 7 feet tall.

Something else to note, new Hawks rookie Lucas Nogueira spoke to CSNNE.com’s Jessica Camerato on Faverani

“He’s very good,” said Nogueira. “He’s a defensive and offensive player, but I think he’s offensively better. He has a lot of moves in the post. He’s had a great  season in Spain last year. He’s strong but can jump, can run. He’s a great player.”

Faverani is set to make $6 million over the next three season in Boston.Vitor Faverani

Something else that intrigues me about this deal is what it means for rising sophomore center Fab Melo. On one hand, the two could be a perfect compliment: Melo’s defense is terrific, anchoring the defense of one of the best teams in college basketball at Syracuse University  before earning a First-Team All-Defense selection in his first season as a professional for the Celtics’ NBA D-League affiliate Maine Red Claws. Melo is a project, but a veteran like Faverani, who reigns from Melo’s home country of Brazil and has won championships overseas, may be very beneficial for the youngster.

On the other hand, Celtics brass loves Shavlik Randolph, whose option has to be picked up or revoked by August 1st. With the addition of promising rookie Kelly Olynyk, there may not be room (or money, presuming the Celtics don’t want to go over the luxury tax threshold with a rebuilding team) to keep Melo, let alone four centers, on the roster.

Danny Ainge definitely likes Melo, but he’s a project. With the addition of Faverani, it may just be time to cut him loose and let someone else reap his potential benefits.

Here’s some video of Faverani last season from Valencia:

Dear Celtics

Kevin Garnett

Dear Celtics,

in less than two hours, you play the New York Knicks in Game 4 of the First Round of the NBA Playoffs, at home, down 3 games to none.

You lost Friday night in Boston, the first game in Beantown since that punky kid from Cambridge decided he’d try and knock us down. What a fool. You can huff, you can puff, but you can’t knock Boston down.

Or can you?

Until Game 2 of this series, do you know how many times the Knicks had won consecutive playoff games since the turn of the century? Zero.

Until Game 2 of this series, do you know how many teams had scored 25 or less points in a half in consecutive  games EVER? Zero.

And do you know how many teams in NBA History have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in any round of the Playoffs to win a series? You guessed it: Zero.

It’s time to make history, or be history. The choice is yours.

So before we begin, let’s take a stroll down memory lane to October 2004 and our friends over at Fenway Park. Specifically, move about 50 seconds in.

 

Dont. Let. Us. Win. Tonight.

No, you don’t have Pedey going in game 5 or Big Schill going in Game 6. You also don’t have your super-hustling rookie Jared Sullinger because of a season-ending back injury, or your superstar leader of the team in Rajon Rondo, who tore his ACL back in January. But you do have Kevin Garnett, maybe the Greatest Power Forward of All Time (with no apologies to Tim Duncan or Karl Malone – I mean it). You do have Paul Pierce, slowly cementing his legacy that will hang forever in the rafters with his number 34 jersey, already more or less retired and waiting for its owner to do the same. And, remember, anything can still happen in Game 7, should you get there.

Sure, you’re hurt. Paul is a shadow of his former self. Kevin, too. Bone spurs and ankle sprains and bad backs and years and years and miles and miles up and down a basketball court eventually catch up to you. Father Time never loses.

But the biggest injury of them all is mental; A hit to your Pride hurts the most, and that’s what you’re about to take.

Remember you’re playing for the name on the front of your jersey, and not the one on the back. Remember you’re playing the game because you love it and have since you could walk. Remember you’re playing the games for the fans, who pour out in droves to support you even on the brink of elimination in embarrassing fashion. Remember you play for this city, that needs you now more than ever. Remember you want to make history, and that this team knows more about history than any other team in the league.

Remember you are Paul Pierce. You are Kevin Garnett. You are Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Jason Terry, Jordan Crawford, Chris Wilcox, Shavlik Randolph, Fab Melo, DJ White, and Terrence Williams.

You are the Boston Celtics.

Now get out there and play like it.

Why Avery Bradley Could Be Defensive Player of the Year

Avery Harden

Boston’s Avery Bradley harassing Houston All Star James Harden

The results for the NBA’s 2012-2013 Defensive Player of the Year Award came out yesterday, with Memphis Grizzlies 7-footer Marc Gasol winning the award. Gasol anchored the best defense in the NBA in Memphis, but he may not be fully deserving of the award. Don’t get me wrong, Gasol is a terrific player, but look at these numbers:

7.8 rebounds per game (ranked 23rd in the NBA), 5.5 defensive rebounds per game (27th in the NBA), 1.7 blocks per game (9th in the NBA), and 1.0 steals per game (57th in the NBA).

So, based on these statistics, the BEST Defensive player in the NBA only averages 7.8 rebounds, 2.3 of which are not categorized as “defensive”?

I’d just like to point out that Paul Pierce (dead knees and all) and Philadelphia’s Evan Turner, a shooting guard, BOTH averaged more defensive rebounds than Gasol.

PAUL PIERCE AND EVAN TURNER.

Paul Pierce can’t even jump anymore.

So, clearly, the award goes to the “best” defensive player on the best defensive team in the NBA. Cool, we knew that, sort of, although Tyson Chandler last season wouldn’t exactly fit that mold, either (although he was incredibly deserving of the award). So really I’m just confused.

My point to this, however, is not to bash Gasol – a terrific overall center who plays great defense and helped lead the Grizzlies to the Playoffs by anchoring that D.

Instead, I’d like to know how Avery Bradley, the Celtics’ overlooked combo guard, only received 5 total votes (15 points and two first place votes, overall)?

2013 DPOY Ballot

A look at the voting breakdown for Defensive Player of the Year, via ESPN Boston’s Chris Forsberg.

On the bright side, Bradley finished tied for 14th last year (also ridiculous), and this year finished directly ahead of Tyson Chandler (last year’s winner) and Dwight Howard (winner the previous three seasons). And, as ESPN Boston’s Chris Forsberg points out, the award “is a big man’s award…with Gary Payton the only real exception in the past two decades.”

Bradley, however, could very well wind up with the award some time in the next few years if he can stay healthy and his play continues the way it is now. Bradley and teammate Brandon Bass often switch off on playing an opposing team’s best player (Bass more so when it’s a much larger opponent, like a Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James, for example). Despite going head-to-head with some of the most elite players in the league, Synergy Sports, a revolutionary new sports data company, determined that Bradley’s defense was tops in the league.

With their new stat “PPP” or “Points Per Possession,” Synergy took every single play and analyzed the offensive and defensive matchups. PPP basically gives you the average number of points an opponent scores every time they touch the ball, including if they are fouled and the foul results in made free throws. After compiling all their data, they found that Avery Bradley only allowed 0.697 points per possession this season, Best in the LeagueThat means when Bradley’s collective opponents get the ball, they hardly ever score and aren’t even averaging even one point for their team. It also means that Bradley plays terrific, fundamental defense without fouling, or if he does foul it’s a good one on a player with a poor free throw percentage.

To put it in perspective, the next closest player was old friend Marquis Daniels (yes, that’s a bit surprising to me, too) at 0.707 PPP. So, yeah, Avery’s pretty good.

As the game evolves and the sports writers who vote on these prestigious awards increasingly fall into the stat-geek era, maybe we’ll see Avery Bradley get more votes. I mean, really, is Serge Ibaka really deserving of the title “third best defensive player in the NBA?” Of course not. He happens to make up for what he lacks in defensive prowess in an incredible leaping ability that somehow doesn’t help him rebound (he averaged less than Gasol) but did allow him to block 246 shots this season, good for a 3.0 blocks per game average. Anyone who doesn’t see that is an idiot.

In Avery’s corner, though, is another old friend: Tony Allen. The Grizzlies starting two guard/small forward thrives on defense and earns his paycheck because of it. He’s gotten a reputation as one of the baddest dudes in the league and finished  fifth in voting this season, just behind Chicago’s Joakim Noah.

Maybe Bradley will finally get the recognition he deserves. Or maybe, like Allen and many other great defensive guards before him, he’ll just quietly harass the league for his entire career and earn the love and respect of his hometown fans.

Either way, he’s got my vote.

Why I Love Sports: The Day The Terrorists Lost

Sports is usually our escape. Our getaway. Our sanctuary.

Monday in Boston, it was our crime scene. Just after the four hour mark of the Boston Marathon, two bombs went off at the finish line, killing at least 3 people and injuring hundreds others.

The Bruins and Celtics both canceled their games, and the Red Sox were on their way out of town. In a season where there is often 3 Boston teams playing on any given night, there were none. And that was okay. Sports took a backseat to life in our neck of the world, as we tried to piece together what had happened hours before. What followed, however, is a reminder of why we love sports in the first place. The games are our comfort, their events a distraction. We hate other teams and players so we don’t hate our own, and we rally around one cause that brings us together so passionately.

Despite the hated rivalries across professional sports that Boston maintains, sometimes events and people transcend sports. Yesterday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon is one such instance. Several teams, athletes and news outlets have taken to different forms of media to express their sympathy and prayers to the city of Boston and all those affected by it’s rivalries. Below is a montage of just some of the outpouring of love and respect the sporting world has shown us in our time of need.

Probably the coolest, most touching gesture of them all: late Tuesday afternoon the Yankees tweeted “We stand united with Boston” with a picture

A touching display outside Yankee Stadium from typically hated rivals

A touching display outside Yankee Stadium from typically hated rivals

The team later announced that they would play “Sweet Caroline,” a song that is a staple of Fenway Park at every game, after the third inning following a moment of silence before the game. Here’s video from the Yankees Network of the stadium during the song.

Yankees fans also came out to the ballpark in support of Boston

Scenes like this were not uncommon Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium

Scenes like this were not uncommon Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium

The acts of kindness didn’t go unnoticed

Neil Diamond

thanks ny

The Yankees weren’t the only ones showing their support though. Across the NBA, NHL, and MLB, Moments of Silence were observed before most games. Across baseball, the Marlins, Cubs, Reds, A’s, Indians, Yankees and Braves all played Sweet Caroline at some point during their games. The University of South Carolina, Jackie Bradley Jr.’s old stomping grounds, played the song during their game as well. The Brewers played the theme song to “Cheers!” a  famous TV show about a Boston bar.

The Montreal Canadiens, the biggest rivals of the Boston Bruins, were one of the teams to salute Boston with a moment of silence and a Twitter shout out.

Canadiens Tweets

In Chicago at the Blackhawks game, a moment of silence was held. Right at the end, a fan somewhere yelled “we love you, Boston!” and the crowd erupted in cheers that continued straight through the National Anthem. Typically a silent event, Chicago fans decided to cheer through the powerful rendition of the Anthem just like fans were cheering at the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off.

Today’s edition of the Chicago Tribune paid tribute to Boston as well, saying “We are Chicago” with the five major Boston sports logos underneath.

The cover of the Sports section of the Chicago Tribune

The cover of the Sports section of the Chicago Tribune

In Philadelphia, Phillies closer and former Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon expressed his sorrow and disbelief over the situation. Papelbon used to live in a building right above where one of the bombs went off.

“I used to live right above where one of the bombs went off,” Papelbon said. “It’s kind of surreal. I don’t know man, it’s crazy. It’s hard to even think about.

“I lived right above Abe and Louie’s,” he said referring to a steakhouse in the area. “It’s sad, man.”

Papelbon wasn’t the only Phillie to respond to the situation. Outfielder Ben Revere wrote the words “PRAY For Boston” on a piece of tape that he placed on his glove. Then, he made the catch of the year.

A touching display from Ben Revere followed by the catch of the year

A touching display from Ben Revere followed by the catch of the year

Everyone’s support endured.

Torey Smith tweets

Ravens Wide Receiver Torey Smith

NBA superstar and Celtic arch-nemesis LeBron James

NBA superstar and Celtic arch-nemesis LeBron James

Carmelo tweet

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

cory Schneider

Vancouver Canucks and former Boston College goalie Cory Schneider

Jets tweet

The New York Jets

MWP

Lakers Forward and longtime Celtics rival

Kobe Tweet

Lakers Superstar Kobe Bryant Tweeted out a picture from Instagram, shown below

Kobe Instagram

And then in Cleveland, a touching display of welcome and support from the city, highlighted by this card from one of  Cleveland’s little tikes.

inside dugout

from our city to yours

Will Middlebrooks, the Red Sox Third Baseman, summed it up best, shown below in an infographic from Comcast Sports Net New England

CSN Middlebrooks Tweet

The Red Sox themselves had their own tribute in the dugout, a jersey with the words “Boston Strong” and the numbers “617”, Boston’s area code, on the back.

Boston Strong Jersey

April 15th, 2013 will never be forgotten in Boston. The acts of the terrorists who planted the bombs have tragically changed our lives forever. But this week will not be remembered as the time that Boston fell.

This will be remembered as the day our city came together and saved each other.

This will be remembered as the day the good guys won.

The day the terrorists lost.

Welcome to Boston.

Sports Illustrated cover

  yanks buds

Hug those you hold dear. Don’t forget to say I love you. Never give up, never back down, and always Keep the Faith.

Pray for those who lost their lives, pray for those who were hurt, and pray for the city of Boston.

May God have mercy on us all and hold us in his graces through this difficult time.

Thanks, America. We love you too.

#BostonStrong

Celtics/Pacers Canceled

Celtics Canceled

The NBA Public Relations Department announced via a private Twitter account that tomorrow’s (4/16) game between the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden has been canceled with no make up date due to the events that occurred in Boston at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Both teams have clinched playoff births, and the Celtics are locked into the seventh seed, where they will play the New York Knicks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs starting this weekend. The game would have no impact on the standings.

The NBA Playoff Schedule has not yet been announced, but Boston plays its final regular season game Wednesday night in Toronto against the Raptors. Celtics coach Doc Rivers has speculated that the teams will play their first game Saturday in New York, as the Rangers play at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. Because the Knicks own the higher seed, the first two games of this playoff series will be played in New York, meaning at least a week will have likely passed before the Celtic take the court again at TD Garden.

Good for the NBA for getting people out of a distressed city. Remember these athletes have families as well, many of which are very far away. There’s no need to worry or burden even more people.

Celtics Recall Melo from Maine

About two hours before the bombings in Boston, the Celtics announced that they recalled rookie center Fab Melo from the Maine Red Claws, their D-League affiliate. It is unclear whether or not Melo will remain on the active playoff roster, or if he will solely serve as depth for the remainder of the regular season while Boston rests its regular players. Over his final 10 games with Maine, Melo averaged 8.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in just under 21 minutes per game.

Once again, If you’re still searching for people and victims, call: 617-635-4500. For any info on incidents, suspicious activity: 1-800-494-TIPS.

Stay home, stay safe, and pray. Tell those you love that you love them.

God Bless Boston and the messed up world we live in.

The State of the Red Sox

A memoir to what could have been and how the 2012 Red Sox are the crack-baby everyone thought was going to be okay

“I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend, You could cut ties with all the lies,That you’ve been living in, And if you do not want to see me again, I would understand” – Third Eye Blind knew the 2012 Red Sox way before we did

I’m a Resident Advisor at a small school north of Boston. It’s my job to know everyone in my own little wedge of our community. However, in about a month’s time, you can know just about everyone on campus and what they did last weekend. It’s an incredible community that I personally love and rely on, that holds every member accountable for their actions, that loves every member unequivocally, and, every so often, that gets a bit boring.

How could it not? Living in the northeast, the hustle and bustle of everyday life even outside of the city is normal. You get used to seeing the same faces during your routine, but you also know you’ll see a million new ones on a daily basis. It’s just how it works. But here, it’s never new. In just a few short weeks’ time, even new first year students get the drill and have figured out the routine. You know who you’ll see, when and where you’ll see them, and how to avoid them if you want to. You know you can avoid them today, but not forever; Any “out” you find is simply temporary. Every so often, you need a shake up, a fresh brew of faces compared to the stale, getting-cold-cup-of-coffee you drink every day (And to my friends and colleagues at school – I’m not calling you stale or cold, it’s just my analogy, roll with me here) (And to everyone else, the fact that I just had to say that somewhat proves my point, does it not?), which is why I love September. Every year, a fresh start rolls through. A whole new batch of first year students marches onto campus wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, rarin’ to go. As an Orientation Leader and Co-Senior Resident Advisor of an area that houses approximately 400 emotionally supercharged first years, right now I’m drinking a pretty damn good cup of metaphorical coffee.

During move-in this year, I jumped around from room to room, talking to parents, welcoming students, assuring everyone that I would take care of them, we’d have a blast, and simply that everything was going to be fine. One of my new residents in particular stood out though. This new student is from Chicago and was wearing a Chicago White Sox jersey with Kevin Youkilis’ name and number on the back. Suddenly, in the midst of me telling everyone it was going to be okay, I thought to myself “maybe it’s not”.

Of course, I was no longer thinking about my residents, but instantly trapped in an endless spiral of Red Sox-related panic. I had masked my emotions, guarding them from would-be naysayers all season long. But suddenly my worst fears and suspicions came crashing down: Not only did the team I loved abidingly suck, they were going to suck for a long time because of the snakes running the organization, the incompetent arrogance in their (in)ability to run the franchise, and the growing apathy of the overpaid, trapped, miserable athletes in the clubhouse.

A few months ago, I came up with a fairly accurate analogy of my emotions towards the Red Sox that I’m fairly certain I’ve beaten and continued to beat long after everyone got the point: The Red Sox were like my children.

I found baseball in 2003 as an 11 year old and instantly fell in love. The Red Sox could do no wrong in my book. I hated the Yankees for reasons I didn’t nearly understand yet, but I hated them relentlessly nonetheless. I was the proud new parent of a bouncing baby boy and no one could wipe the smile off of my face. In 2004 when Keith Foulke tossed the ball to Doug Meintkiewicz for the final out in the clinching game of the World Series, it was probably the greatest moment of my entire life . It was like my baby’s first steps, or their first day of school, or their first A+, or whatever other cliche you’d like to insert here. As the years passed, I grew prouder and prouder of the team I was raising. They won again in 2007 and I thought to myself  “Hey, you’re doing this right. Good work”. Because, you know, being a fan means everything to your team’s success, right?

After their string of successes, they fell down. It was to be expected, and a great learning opportunity. Although some of them hurt (2008 ALCS Game 7, I’m talking to you), we pushed forward. At least that’s what I thought was going to happen. Then 2009 happened, kicked us in the face and other places where the sun doesn’t shine (thanks, Papelbon)  and put things into perspective. Things were changing and not going to be the same anymore. Suddenly my bouncing baby boy who brought home A plus pluses was a teenager. As a parent, I had to act. I started to get everyone around me excited and became more engrossed in the fact my kid was a teenager than who he was as a person. The Sox brass pushed the sellout streak on us, marketed the Red Sox on bricks, named a sports company after our beloved ball park, later supported one of Boston’s biggest enemies (LeBron James), became part owners of a racing company (Roush-Fenway Racing) and bought a soccer team (Liverpool) all under that same sports company’s rule, and somewhere along the lines became everything we as Red Sox fans once hated: the New York Yankees. We outspent our competitors to overpay big names that put casual butts in seats. Other teams sat back and chuckled and said “Good, let them have him” (see: Crawford, Carl and Lackey, John). I was pushing extracurricular activities on my kid that he didn’t even remotely enjoy or deem necessary, just to try to keep him from harm or trouble. He was getting bored, apathetic, and, worst of all, resentful. My son started missing classes and disrupting the ones he went to. The Red Sox were missing the playoffs in 2010 and sending letters from the owners saying “we know something is wrong, but it’s going to be okay”. Then September 2011 happened. The Ultimate Collapse. For the first time, and probably not the last, my son came home in a cop car. “He should face charges”, the officer said, “but we know you. You’ve raised him well. He’s a good kid. We’ll give him one more chance”. Had I raised him well though?

Being a fan of the Red Sox in 2012 is like being the proud parent of a kid with so much promise who suddenly, as a teenager, turned to drugs. Sure, all the kids do it. That’s how they try to mask it. But it’s really not any better. I feel like the parent who is disappointed in my child and doesn’t know what more to do. Then I realized something: The Red Sox were never my baby. They were Tito and Theo’s, are now Ben and Bobby’s, and still are Larry and John’s. It isn’t my fault, and never was. I just loved them so much I thought it was. I’m just a diehard fan who thought being a fan could change everything. An innocent bystander on the outside looking in.

In a way, they were destined for their delve into drugs. Their parents are doing the hard stuff and have passed it on to their kid. We’d overlooked the challenge, thought they’d be different, could change.

And they still can. But not yet.

Their parents tried to shake things up, thinking maybe sending away who they perceived to be a troublesome friend (Kevin Youkilis) would help. They tried for a change of scenery and to do something drastic to mix up their kid’s life (The Dodgers Trade). So far, no good. Now it’s time to send them away, let someone else more capable use a fresh start to mend the issues our child has and that pain our every waking moment as innocent fanatic bystanders. There’s still hope somewhere down the line, right?

We can only hope.

Some fresh faces are needed right about now and, fortunately, the Patriots, Celtics and (God-willing) Bruins are right around the corner.

To the Red Sox,

I love you. I have since the moment we met, and I always will. But right now, this routine is getting a bit boring. I need a hot, new cup of coffee and a crisp, new set of faces. Know my out is only temporary and I’ll be keeping a careful, loving, watchful eye while we’re apart. I’ll see you in February. Good luck.