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:

The Doc Dilemma, Part II

Say goodbye, Boston

Say goodbye, Boston

According to multiple ESPN and LATimes reports, the Celtics-Clippers deal has fallen through and trade talks will not resume.

Does anyone out there believe this? I absolutely believe that legitimate, trustworthy sources confirmed this, but I’d be shocked if this actually happened. Until another coach is hired in LA, this isn’t dead. That said, Byron Scott is interviewing today and Brian Shaw tomorrow, while Lionel Hollins has already interviewed for the job.

If the Clippers do hire another coach, then this thing is dead. Sort of. For anyone thinking this deal will happen without Doc, you’re probably wrong. Yes, the Celtics almost traded KG to the Clippers for Jordan, Bledsoe and a first at the deadline. But we never knew if KG would waive his no-trade clause then – it didn’t get that far. If Doc isn’t included now, KG probably won’t waive it. He wants to play for Doc, and Doc alone as well as finishing his career next to Pierce. He’s very loyal to his most trusted brothers in combat.

So what to do now that this relationship has been soiled and hurt between Rivers/KG/Pierce and the team/media/fans? Get over yourselves, everyone. There’s nothing to fix. No one is going to take offense at Doc wanting to win or KG wanting to stay with the best coach he’s ever had/the coach that got him an NBA Title. It’s part of the business and, as much as my 12-year-old self hates to admit it, this is a business. Everyone is going to be fine. This isn’t Dwight or Carmelo or Deron Williams. It’s different, entirely. I could try to explain it, but if you need it explained my rambling isn’t going to help you understand.

So, where do we go from here? Doc still doesn’t really want to coach here anymore. It’s nothing personal, and it’s not really about “here” as in Boston as in “here” the situation the Celtics are in with their roster and cap space (or rather lack thereof). It wouldn’t surprise me to see Doc take a year off; he’s been trying to since they lost to the Lakers in 2010. Assuming this happens, what does the rest of the roster do?

For starters, Kevin Garnett will retire. No questions asked. It’s why this trade with the Clippers was such a good thing – the Celtics were getting something (valuable somethings, in my opinion) for Garnett and something for Rivers (which almost never happens when a coach leaves – it takes a real stand up guy and a ballsy GM to do it), more than they would get if both just walked away.

If the team is lucky, they could swing a deal with Garnett where he gets traded to another team who sends us an expiring contract (1 year remaining, probably big money somewhere from $5M-$12M) they don’t want to pay along with a draft pick, and then KG retires. KG’s “new” team wouldn’t have to pay him anything, they would be able to free some money from their cap they don’t want, and in exchange for the Celtics helping them out, they send along a draft pick.

Of course, Doc could always find another team ready to win that needs a coach, the only problem is that the Clippers were really the perfect fit. They need an extra veteran piece, a better coach, and have young superstar talent in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul (presuming he resigns) to compliment KG, likely Pierce, and the best coach in the NBA.

And finally, what happens to Paul Pierce if KG and Doc leave town? The Truth won’t be afraid to speak his mind. Remember Paul Pierce circa 2006-2007? The guy who had mysterious injuries, wouldn’t play, would come back and be amazing to showcase his talent for a trade suitor or free agent team, and then spend every other waking moment complaining? That’s what we’re going to have, albeit a much less talented, actually hurt, possibly a little more mature version of him. And, frankly, a bit more deserving of his requests this time around. Ainge will buy Pierce out for $5M and let him go on his merry way to play for whomever he likes, likely following Garnett and/or Rivers if either is still in the league. Either way, Paul doesn’t want to lose anymore. He’d have to accept a much lesser role anywhere else, but he’d be a good fit on just about any contending team.

Could the whole gang come back together? Of course. But what good will that do them? They aren’t going to win, they aren’t going to be good, and they’re wasting years of their lives and careers. Don’t forget Ainge will go insane trying to get rid of them for something. The man never stops, and at this point, he shouldn’t.

So is this deal dead? Maybe. I’m not convinced. But either way, this is the sloppy, public beginning of the end of an era in Boston.

Readers can follow Pat on Twitter at @PatBradleyUSCHO

Last Hurrah for Pierce?

Pierce trophy

 

After a thrilling Game 4 overtime victory in Boston Sunday afternoon, the Celtics survived to push their first round playoff series at least an extra game. Tonight at 7 pm, the Celtics take on the Knicks in what could very well be the final game in a Celtics uniform for Boston lifer Paul Pierce.

“The Truth” was drafted 10th overall by the Celtics in 1998 and after surviving trade requests amidst one of the worst seasons and losing streaks in NBA History, Pierce won a championship in 2008 with the Celtics and, truth is, every one thought he would retire here.

He still might, but tonight may be the last time we see his name on the back of a Boston uniform until it’s inevitably raised to the rafters.

Pierce has lost a few steps in recent years, most notably this year in his age 35 season – especially once point guard Rajon Rondo was lost for the season and Pierce was needed to shoulder the offensive loud. We love Pierce. He’s an All-Time Great Celtic. Every 20-something in New England grew up idolizing not Jordan, but Pierce. He’s the reason I even have half a fade-away in my own retired arsenal on the court, and why I’d rather tip toe through defenders than take spot up threes until the game is on the line. He says he’s not retiring yet, but it doesn’t matter. He may not be a Celtic when camp breaks in the fall.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge said last year he thought the biggest mistake the Celtics made when their original Big 3 of Larry Bird, Robert Parish, and Kevin McHale got old and their careers were winding down was not trading them while the team could still get some sort of value for them, in order to stay competitive going forward. The Celtics went from historic to laughable in a matter of months, and Ainge already has one of the worst teams in NBA history on his resume. He’s claimed he doesn’t want to do it again.

So is this the end? Experts claim Pierce has the most trade value between he and Kevin Garnett. No one really knows what KG is going to do, but he still has two years left on the contract he signed last offseason to return to Boston. Both Players wanted another shot at a title after they took the eventual champion Miami Heat to 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. They got it this year, but injuries and age have finally completely caught up to them.

Pierce had this to say earlier today to reporters on whether or not he might get traded this offseason:

“Truthfully, I haven’t put too much thought into it. The organization is going to do what they’re going to do. It’s nothing that’s stressing me out. That’s what it is. Every year they’ve got decision to make. Those are their decisions. I leave it to them.”

When asked about retiring, Pierce assured the media he wasn’t planning on hanging up his Nike’s just yet.

“Right now it’s year-by-year. I expect to play another year next year and then evaluate after that. I always said I wanted to end my career as a Celtic. But they are the ones (with the decision). I have a year contract for next year but it’s not guaranteed so the decision’s in their hands. But whatever decision they make, maybe, if they trade me somewhere or I end up somewhere else maybe it could be a situation where I come back for a one-day deal and retire a Celtic.”

Tonight could very well be the last time we ever see Paul Pierce in a Celtics uniform. Relish it. You’re watching the best Celtic in the last 20 years, and one of the best Celtics of all time, slowly end an incredible career in Boston. You’re watching a Hall of Famer, an NBA Champion, The Truth.

Yes, the Bruins open their playoff series tonight. The Red Sox are playing the Blue Jays on NESN +. But that can wait. Pay your respects, say a prayer, and appreciate one of the best players in NBA History and one of the better Celtics on a list of historic icons before it’s too late.

Paul Pierce is The Truth.

And truth is, we’re gonna miss him.

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.

12th-best Defender in NBA?

2013 DPOY Ballot

Anyone else think this is BS?

Look – I don’t have a problem with Marc Gasol winning, or even with LeBron finishing 2nd. All I’m saying is that there is no reason Avery Bradley should be in 12th place here. NBA writers: please remove head’s from asses. At this rate, Carmelo Anthony is going to win the MVP Award. If that happens, I’ll quit life. Just saying.

Ponder this for a while, and when I’ve gotten more sleep I’ll be back with some more analysis-type goodness.