Celtics

Crowder saw the writing on the wall with Celtics

Crowder saw the writing on the wall with Celtics

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – The Celtics drafted Jayson Tatum in June, a wing forward who the franchise envisions growing along with second-year wing Jaylen Brown.
 
They signed Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $127.8 million max contract just a couple weeks later, a string of moves that left Jae Crowder unsure of what his role (if any) with the franchise was going forward.
 
“There was some concern because you have a lot of wing players stacked up,” Crowder admitted. “And I made it clear to the organization that I was concerned about it and wanted some direction. They showed me what they wanted to do and I respected it.”
 
Crowder was part of the four-player trade which sent himself, along with Isaiah Thomas and Ante Zizic, to Cleveland with the Celtics getting Kyrie Irving in return.
 
While most of the focus on the trade centered around the Thomas-Irving component of the deal, the addition of Crowder gives the Cavaliers a dimension at both ends of the floor that they need as they set their sights on continuing as the team to beat in the East.
 
“His on-court, off-court plus-minus is at a high level,” said Cavs general manager Koby Altman. “He contributes to winning at an extremely high level. That’s why we value him to that extent. He also brings a tough, gritty attitude defensively, [he'll] pick up the best player. He’s a core piece to this Cavaliers team going forward.”

MORE ON THE TRADE:

According to NBA.com/stats, Crowder’s net rating (offensive rating minus defensive rating) last season was +7.8, second only to Amir Johnson, (the ex-Celtic now with the Philadelphia 76ers) whose net rating was 8.0.
 
Even more telling was what happened when Crowder was not on the floor.
 
The Celtics had a net rating of -3.9, which was the largest drop off by any Celtic last season when they were on the bench. Those are the kind of numbers that speak to just how valuable Crowder was at both ends of the floor last season.
 
Crowder’s value can be seen in many ways, with his toughness often standing out above all else.  No time was it more on display than Aug. 22, the day he was traded, which also coincided with the death of his mother.
 
I asked Crowder about that day at his Cavaliers' introductory press conference on Thursday that also included Thomas and Zizic.
 
“There was a lot going on that day, obviously,” Crowder said. “The good thing about the whole ordeal was I was able to whisper it to my mom (Helen Thompson, 51) before she passed. I was with her. I just told her, 'We're going to Cleveland.' Five minutes later, she passed."
 
The pain of losing his mother will not subside anytime soon, but Crowder has shown throughout his career a resiliency to weather whatever storms come his way.
 
And while his playing time will likely take a dip in Cleveland, Crowder seems in a better place not only to play steady minutes with the Cavs but compete for the ultimate prize – an NBA title.
 
“That day [of the trade] was tough, but it was a good day for myself, for my basketball career, to move on to an organization like this, like the Cleveland Cavaliers, to put myself in a position to play for it all,” Crowder said. “I couldn't ask myself for nothing else. I was thankful for Boston, for everything they've done for me, and for trading me to a team like this. I was thankful for the opportunity. But that day was pretty wild."
 
Crowder, a former second-round pick from Marquette entering his sixth NBA season, averaged career highs in several categories last season with the Celtics, including minutes played (32.4), field- goal percentage (.463), 3-point percentage (.398), rebounds (5.8) and assists (2.2).

Bleacher Report puts Jayson Tatum on 'overhyped' list

Bleacher Report puts Jayson Tatum on 'overhyped' list

Bleacher Report ran a piece Tuesday listing the NBA's five "most overhyped players" entering the coming season. Jayson Tatum leads the list. Hold me back. 

These pieces are obviously subjective as hell, as they rely on "people probably think X," which may or may not be the reality of the situation. In the case of Tatum, writer Grant Hughes acknowledges that he feels Tatum is a franchise player, but that he could be a victim of the team for which he plays. 

Writes Hughes

Kyrie Irving has never been one to take a backseat, and with him back on the floor, it'll be much harder for Tatum to build on his postseason takeover. Throw Gordon Hayward into the mix, and there will be even fewer touches for the 20-year-old wing. And that's to say nothing of Jaylen Brown, who's a superior defender at the moment and averaged 18 points per game in the playoffs on more efficient shooting than Tatum managed. He's due for an increased role as well.

C's fans can first breathe at the fact that Hughes most certainly is not calling Tatum overrated. Then, if they're rational, they can wonder whether Hughes has a point. 

Tatum's five best scoring games of the regular season came with Kyrie out of the lineup, one of which was prior to Irving being shut down for the season. He obviously went on to average over four and a half points more in the postseason without Irving (18.5) than he did in the regular season (13.9). 

No, Tatum is not going to be the Celtics' top scorer this season. He also won't be a rookie again. Dude looked like he tacked on like 80 pounds of muscle like a month after the season ended. He's been in gyms destroying everyone from Joel Embiid to a hilarious assortment of camp-going children. He's out here mentoring Kobe

Even if Brad Stevens wants to get creative and have Tatum come off the bench (that doesn't need to happen; he can start the five best players), Tatum is a lethal enough offensive player to put up 20 a night. 

But back to the idea of him being overhyped. I don't think anyone's putting the kid in the MVP conversation. They probably just saw the third overall pick have a really good rookie year and figure that he'll continue to blossom into a star, if he isn't one already. 

The other players listed in the piece were DeMarcus Cousins, Zach LaVine, Josh Jackson and Kawhi Leonard. Leonard falls into the rule of thumb that if you're one of the five best players in the league, as Kawhi is, it's really easy for people to overhype you. That's not Leonard's fault. 

But the other guys? Who the heck is hyping -- let alone overhyping -- Zach LaVine? The only time Zach LaVine made headlines this summer was when he was given an offersheet by the Kings that most felt was too much and the Bulls matched it. Everyone thinks he's a stinky defensive player who's coming off an ACL injury. Unless there's some expectation that he's going to start averaging six or seven more points a night than he ever has, he isn't being overhyped. He's just overpaid. 

The Cousins pick could very well be fair. As Hughes writes, Boogie is a "luxury, not a game-changer for the Warriors." It's very possible that his impact on the Warriors won't be as significant as the league fears. Maybe he takes longer than expected to come back. Maybe when he does come back, he proves to be a divisive player with that group. Then again, maybe he gives them 25 and 12 a night and the Warriors go undefeated in the postseason. 

Selling Jackson as overhyped is tough. He's a second-year player who finished his rookie year on fire, including a 36-point performance against the Warriors. He sure as hell won't average 22.6 points like he did over his last 10 games as a rookie, but does anyone think he will? Nobody thinks he's a great shooter, but it's reasonable to expect something approaching the 18.7 he averaged post All-Star break, plus his usual strong defending.

Anyway, this Hughes fellow should have put Ben Simmons on the list. Guy never shoots threes. 

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Knicks, Nets reportedly in mix for Kyrie-Butler combo in '19

Knicks, Nets reportedly in mix for Kyrie-Butler combo in '19

Remember those rumors of Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler teaming up in free agency next year? Well, that buzz is back and Boston isn't the rumored destination.

Two league sources told Business Insider that the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets could be well-positioned to land the two players, with one source saying the chatter is "substantial."

"It wouldn't surprise me if either New York team or potentially both New York teams hit it big next summer," one source said.

That echoes a Chicago Sun-Times report from July which said the Celtics and Timberwolves stars had been talking about how they could team up. Each player can opt out after this season and Irving has made it known he'll be heading to free agency. The Kyrie-to-the-Knicks rumors have been around for a while. 

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