Towns' award shows Celtics importance of landing top overall pick

Towns' award shows Celtics importance of landing top overall pick

BOSTON -- To the surprise of few, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns was this year’s runaway winner for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

Towns garnered all 130 first-place votes from a panel of media in the United States and Canada. He is the fifth player to win the award unanimously since 1984, when Ralph Sampson became the first to do so.

And with teammate Andrew Wiggins winning the award last year, the Timberwolves are the first franchise in 42 years to produce back-to-back rookies of the year.

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis was a distant second with 117 second-place votes and 12 third-place votes for a total score of 363 points. Finishing third was Denver’s Nikola Jokic, who garnered 7 second-place votes and 38 third-place votes for a total of 59 points.

The success of Towns underscores the importance of landing the top overall pick, something the Celtics have a 15.6 percent chance of doing at the NBA draft lottery tomorrow night.

Towns, the top overall pick in last year’s draft, is the fourth No. 1 overall selection to be named Rookie of the Year in the past six seasons, which speaks to how the top overall selection has come into the NBA and established themselves from the outset.

The 7-foot Towns led all rookies in scoring (18.3) and rebounding (10.5 per game, 8th in the NBA) while ranking second in blocks (1.68 per game, 10th in the NBA). In addition, he had 51 double-doubles, which was third in the NBA and his 54.2 field goal percentage ranked 8th in the league.

It was the kind of dominating season one would expect from the top overall pick, something the Celtics would love to get a shot at duplicating if the ping pong balls bounce their way tomorrow night.

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

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Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas back in green? Maybe there's a chance after all.

The former Celtics guard, now with the Lakers, started a Q&A session on Twitter and was asked whether he'd consider returning to Boston this offseason. This was his answer...

That's not a no.

Thomas has had a rough go of it since leaving the Celtics. His brief tenure in Cleveland didn't go according to plan, and things haven't gotten a whole lot better out in L.A. The 29-year-old is averaging 15.3 points per game just a year after averaging 28.9 with Boston.

Let the speculation begin.


Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Al Horford understands that there’s plenty of blame pie to go around following Boston’s 108-89 loss to New Orleans. 

Considering how Pelicans stud Anthony Davis dominated the game on so many levels Sunday night, Horford was quick to acknowledge his role in the loss. 

“He (Davis) was able to get behind our defense a lot,” Horford told reporters after the loss. “Some mistakes on my end; gotta give him credit. He dominated tonight. I’ll definitely take the blame for that.”

Davis finished with a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds, a total that would have been higher if not for the game being so lopsided which allowed Davis to head to the bench early in the fourth. 

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And Horford’s struggles defensively were just as problematic on offense as the five-time All-Star tallied just six points on 3-for-11 shooting to go with four rebounds and three assists. 

Boston has been a team whose collective sums have fueled their success. 

But Horford understands he has to be a high impact performer, a job that’s even more vital when key starters like Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) are out as well as top reserves Marcus Smart (right thumb) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus). 

And by Horford’s own admission, he just didn’t bring it on Sunday at a level to give him and the Celtics a legit shot at winning the game.

“Defensively we had too many breakdowns,” Horford said. “And the game got away from us in the second half. So there’s no excuses. I didn’t give us a chance, either; missing a lot of looks offensively. I just need to be better.”

And he’ll have to be if Boston (47-23) is to get back on track with a win on Tuesday against a talented Oklahoma City squad led by Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. 

At full strength, the Thunder would be a significant challenge for the Celtics. 

But having a roster with a number of key players out with injuries, it becomes even more imperative for Boston’s top players to elevate their play. 

And as you scan this Celtics roster and examine those who are healthy enough to play, it’s clear that Horford more than any other Boston player, has to find a way to become more impactful.

Certainly, more points and rebounds would help. 

But as we’ve seen time and time again with Horford, often his greatest contributions to winning games don’t necessarily show up in the final box score. 

That being said, a six-point, four-rebound game doesn’t cut it. 

Horford has to be better, something he knows better than anyone. 

“I’ll definitely look at the film and see how I can be better individually,” Horford said. “The good thing about the NBA, is we have a chance to play on Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll learn from this game and be ready to go Tuesday at home.”