Celtics

Mannix, Beck: Anthony Davis-to-Celtics not that far-fetched

Mannix, Beck: Anthony Davis-to-Celtics not that far-fetched

The New Orleans Pelicans' continuing dysfunction - and the position the Celtics are in - make an Anthony Davis-to-Boston scenario a real possibility, say Chris Mannix and Howard Beck on The Vertical Podcast.

Beck, a senior NBA writer for Bleacher Report, joined CSN contributor Mannix on The Vertical Podcast and they agreed that the Pelicans' murky offseason moves and the tenuous partnership of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins in New Orleans could lead to the Pels being receptive to a Celtics offer down the road.

"Boston's sort of lurking out there," Mannix said. "Boston, which still has infinite assets. They still are rich in these draft picks and young players...Is there any scenario where you would explore trading Anthony Davis?" he asked Beck. 

Said Beck: "From the moment they acquired DeMarcus Cousins [last season], my thought process went something like this: This isn't going to work. DeMarcus is going to leave after one year. Everybody going to get fired. The Pelicans are going to end up in Seattle. Anthony Davis is going to demand a trade."

Beck doesn't foresee the Cousins-Davis thing working, nor a smooth partnership of recently signed Rajon Rondo with Jrue Holiday in the Pelicans' backcourt.

"It's not that far-fetched," he said of New Orleans parting with Davis. "They did nothing [in the offseason]. They've added no one of consequence. I don't get any part of this."

Mannix said the Celtics have the capability of putting together a hard-to-turn-down offer, especially if the lottery luck continues with the Nets and Lakers picks the C's own. 

"If you're the Pelicans, they're going to be very few offers that make you pause for Anthony Davis," Mannix said. "Spin it forward to next June and the let's say ping-pong balls fall Boston's way. The Nets are bad, let's say they're number one. The Lakers land in the two through five range. Let's say they wind up at three. 

"One and three and Jayson Tatum?" Mannix theorized. "That's going to be hard for New Orleans to turn down."

Beck said the Celtics could potentially put together the best trade package the NBA has seen "in decades."

"It's reasonable to think that he will want out and that his people will start pressing to get him out," Beck said. "If you're the Boston Celtics and you're still sitting on that cache of picks and players, you are sitting so perfectly to make that kind of deal. Arguably, given Anthony Davis' talent and his age, this should be the best package we've seen in, I don't know, decades. It should be the kind of package that blows you away. The kind of package people thought they wanted to see Boston do for Paul George or Jimmy Butler. 

"That may be the kind of package we see for Anthony Davis. And if the Celtics pull it off, all the people who were throwing tomatoes at Danny Ainge for not making deals are going to be thinking about him much differently." 


 

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Celtics-Mavericks preview: C's need to play Smart vs. Dallas

Celtics-Mavericks preview: C's need to play Smart vs. Dallas

Get it done. No excuses.
 
That has been how the Boston Celtics have played most of this season.
 
And if there’s one Celtics player who embodies that on this team, it’s Marcus Smart.
 
The fourth-year guard has struggled all season with his shot-making, but when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter you can count on Smart to be on the floor.

THE WINNING STREAK

He has been among the many reasons Boston has won 15 in a row, which is the fifth-longest winning streak in franchise history.
 
And Smart will be among the Celtics looking to keep it going tonight against the Dallas Mavericks.
 
Most likely, Smart will make an impact with his defense, which is among the best in the NBA.

How good?
 
Smart has a defensive rating of 93.4 (points allowed per 100 possessions) which is tops among all guards in the NBA, and ranks third among all players who have played in at least 10 games this season.
 
But in the 110-99 win over the Hawks, Smart knocked down a couple of 3-pointers which was a big deal considering how mightily he has struggled shooting the ball this season.
 
Smart is shooting 27.3 percent from the field as well as from 3-point range – both career lows.
 
However, he’s also averaging career highs in assists (4.5) and rebounds (5.1) this season.
 
And while he certainly doesn’t appear to be affected by the shooting struggles, he acknowledges that it is something that he can’t help but think about from time to time.
 
“It does affect you, especially if you’ve been working (on shooting) all summer,” Smart said. “At the same time, I don’t take as many shots. But like I said, we got other guys who are playing well. My job is to get them the ball and do whatever I can, go back down the floor, play defense and get the ball again.”

In Boston’s win over Atlanta, Smart spent a good amount of time defending Marco Belinelli who had four points on 2-for-10 shooting compared to 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting when these two teams met earlier this month.
 
Coach Brad Stevens pointed to the job Smart did on Belinelli, in addition to the clutch offensive rebound he was able to snag and quickly put back up and in that gave Boston a 103-95 game with about two minutes to play.
 
“He was really good,” Stevens said.
 
The same could be said for most of the Celtics of late.
 
Kyrie Irving is coming off his most efficient game of the season, tallying 30 points on 10-for-12 shooting from the field. Jayson Tatum had a rough start, but he came on strong as well with 14 points – all coming in the second half.
 
But the backbone of Boston’s success lies in what they’re able to get done defensively.
 
So far, Boston’s defense has been as strong as we’ve seen this early, in quite some time.
 
Boston, which has a league-best defensive rating of 95.9, has length, savvy and an overall total buy-in by the players on what Brad Stevens is looking for, from them.
 
Meanwhile, the Mavericks (3-14) are coming off their most impressive victory this season, a 111-79 win over Milwaukee.  Dennis Smith Jr. has been among the more talented rookies this season. He’s averaging 14.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Dallas is indeed in a transition period where longtime superstar Dirk Nowitzki (10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds per game) is gradually passing the torch to his younger teammates like Harrison Barnes (18.7 points, 7.1 rebounds) and Smith Jr.
 
Much like the Hawks game, the Celtics must approach this game with a focus on the opponent and not their record.
 
Because the Celtics are no longer just a good team on the schedule. They are a measuring stick for most to see how they stack up against the league’s best.
 
And the Celtics understand how their success has changed how teams see them.
 
“Now that we have a reputation, I think everyone is coming for us,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Now we have to come play even harder, and I think we can do that. I think we are more than capable.”

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