Aging Celtics geared up for another run at title

Aging Celtics geared up for another run at title

BOSTON (AP) Ray Allen moved to Miami over the summer, and that's not the only reason that Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers is focusing his attention on LeBron James and Co.

The biggest hurdle for the Celtics on the way to another NBA title is now within their conference - the first time since the New Big Three was assembled that Boston has had to worry about a reigning champ within the East.

``I honestly rarely look at the West,'' Rivers said at media day after discussing the moves the archrival Los Angeles Lakers made over the summer. ``I could care less about the West, because at the end of the day we have to get out of the East, and the defending champions are in the East.

``So, we have one target, and that's Miami,'' he said. ``Whatever happens out West: Good luck. Hope to see you. That's how we think about it.''

Allen's departure broke up the trio that brought Boston an unprecedented 17th title in 2008 - its first since the original Big Three of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish won it all three times in the 1980s. But Allen had been relegated to bench duty anyway, with Rajon Rondo filling his role as an All-Star alongside Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

Now comes the Big Three, 3.0.

The Celtics insist that this is Rondo's team now, acknowledging a fact that has been apparent for some time as the young point guard has taken over on the floor. Last season, he had a career-high 11.7 assists per game along with six triple-doubles in the regular season and four more in the playoffs.

Jason Terry - fourth on the NBA's career 3-pointer list - is a logical replacement for Allen, who took less money to join the defending champions, perhaps because of a rift with Rondo. Courtney Lee will also help out at guard - at least until Avery Bradley, who pushed Allen out of the starting lineup, returns from shoulder surgery that is expected to keep him out until December or January.

But the most encouraging sign for the Celtics is the youth infusion that could help bring energy to a team that has been dominated by Garnett, now 36, and Pierce, 35.

``We've got a lot of guys who have been in the league a long time, a lot of dinosaurs,'' said Jared Sullinger, one of two first-round draft picks. ``When you see guys who have been in the league for 10 years, in some cases 17 or 18 years, ... (they've) seen it all. So if you listen to them, they are only trying to help you.''

Garnett praised Sullinger's basketball intelligence and willingness to learn.

``I'm giving him the book,'' Garnett said, ``teaching him everything I know.''

Jeff Green is back after heart surgery and demonstrating - in the exhibition season, at least - some of the talent that prompted the Celtics to break up their 2008 championship team by trading Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City.

Boston also has two first-round draft picks ready to contribute.

Sullinger, who led Ohio State to the Final Four last season, was once a potential lottery pick before questions about his health dropped him all the way to 21st overall. Center Fab Melo was taken with the next pick, and his Syracuse teammate Kris Joseph came to Boston in the second round.

``I think there's a lot of growth in our team,'' Rivers said. ``How fast we do it, who knows? We'll figure that out as the season goes along. But if we do grow in all the different ways we can play, everyone kind of gets it, I think we can be very, very good.''

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The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

USA Today Sports

The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

Madden 19 won't be released to the public until August 10, but the player ratings for the top players on each NFL team have been released.

The video reaches the Redskins a little after four minutes in. The top nine players on the Redskins, according to their Madden 19 overall ratings are as follows:

  1. LT Trent Williams, 91
  2. RG Brandon Scherff, 88
  3. FS D.J. Swearinger, 86
  4. MLB Zach Brown, 85
  5. CB Josh Norman, 84
  6. RB Chris Thompson, 83
  7. WR Paul Richardson, 83
  8. QB Alex Smith, 81
  9. WR Jamison Crowder, 81

The list has Washington's two best linemen up top followed by its best skill position players and Zach Brown. Beyond Williams and Sherff, there's some debate to be had. Both Richardson and Crowder can make a serious case to be the team's best receiver. Crowder had 22 more receptions and 86 more yards than Richardson in 2017, but Richardson had six touchdowns to Crowder's three.

Smith is coming off arguably the best season of his career with Kansas City. He put up over 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, posted career bests in quarterback rating, touchdown passes, interception percentage and completions. His rating as the fifth-best offensive player behind two other skill position players seems off.

These rankings will change throughout the season as more updates become available, but this is what there is to work with right now.


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2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

USA Today Sports

2018 NBA Draft: A list of Green Room attendees

The NBA officially announced a list of 20 players invited to the Green Room at the 2018 NBA Draft. Provided that all attend, here's a list of who'll be there.

  • Miles Bridges, Michigan State
  • Mikal Bridges, Villanova
  • Marvin Bagley III, Duke
  • Mohamed Bamba, Texas
  • Collin Sexton, Alabama
  • Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State
  • Lonnie Walker IV, Miami
  • Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova
  • Zhaire Smith, Texas Tech
  • Aaron Holiday, UCLA
  • Deandre Ayton, Arizona
  • Wendell Carter Jr., Duke
  • Luka Doncic, Slovenia
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky
  • Kevin Knox, Kentucky
  • Michael Porter Jr., Missouri
  • Robert Williams, Texas A&M
  • Trae Young, Oklahoma
  • Chandler Hutchison, Boise State
  • Jerome Robinson, Boston College

There are two players each invited from Villanova, Michigan State, Duke and Kentucky.

The 2018 NBA Draft will be Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It will be broadcast on ESPN and streamed live on WatchESPN. The Wizards have Nos. 15 and 44 picks.