- HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors - http://www.hoopsworld.com -
NBA AM: The Celtics The Dark Horse In The East?
Posted By Steve Kyler On April 15, 2013 @ 8:11 am In NBA | No Comments
The Darkhorse In The East?: The general assumption in NBA circles is there isn’t a competitor to the Miami HEAT in the East. Sure there are a few teams that might get a game or maybe two from Miami, but the overwhelming belief is that Miami has the East locked up before they have even played a game.
“It’s been an up-and-down year for us,” Celtics guard Avery Bradley told HOOPSWORLD. “We’ve had a lot of injuries, been through a lot of adversity, but everything that we’ve been through has made us the team that we are today. We’re a team that fights no matter what, we got five players out there and we’re simply going to fight, that’s the culture here. Not only that, but our leaders lead by example and we just follow them. Kevin Garnett, obviously, goes hard every single game and we all do the same.”
When the Celtics lost All-Star guard Rajon Rondo to an ACL injury the assumption was Boston would fall off the proverbial map. However, they have actually become a better team and Bradley has played a big role in that.
“I’m going to go out there and obviously play my role,” Bradley said trying to deflect any individual praise. “Be the energy guy on the defensive end and get us into our sets. I’m just going to play as hard as I can, just like everybody else. But like I said, we will definitely be prepared.”
Bradley has emerged not only as a potent defensive presence for Boston, but he has also become something of a leader for the younger guys on the roster. He credits his own veterans in Paul Pierce and Garnett for setting the tone in Boston.
“Since Day One, KG, Paul, even Ray [Allen] and guys who aren’t here, but definitely now, KG and Paul help me prepare, even during a game,” said Bradley. “I just appreciate them, they definitely made me into the player that I am today. They help my confidence every single game and like I said, they’re just great leaders.”
Bradley’s reverence for Garnett is immediately apparent when he talks about the Celtics’ most passionate player.
“Somebody at his age, to do what he does is just amazing,” said a beaming Bradley. “I love his game. He’s been one of my favorite players my whole life and getting a chance to play with him and see how he prepares, it’s no surprise for him to be the player that he is today.”
Bradley has also heard the talk that this could be Garnett’s final NBA season and says there is no doubt that the impending playoffs offer a little additional motivation for the entire team.
“I’m pretty sure it is for everybody, “said Bradley. “But for me, I want to go all out for him, because he goes all out for me every single game. He could be hurting and you’d never know. You’d never know he was hurting because he’s never going to complain, he’s just going to go out there and play. It rubs off on everybody. To see how he leaves everything out on the floor and play as hard as he can, it makes us want to do the same.”
The Celtics look like they will pull the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, which will get underway this weekend. The Knicks won the regular season series 3-1, so if the Celtics genuinely see themselves as the dark horse team in the East, they’ll have a tough draw in the first round before they’ll even get a chance to talk about Miami.
There is no doubting Boston’s experience in the postseason will play a factor, especially as the games spread out and the travel between games drops tremendously. When the Celtics are engaged defensively they are as good as anyone is in the East, the question is will they be around to challenge Miami in the Conference Finals.
Kenny Boynton Trying To Sneak In: The Annual Portsmouth Invitational wrapped up this weekend and while there were few top 100 Prospects in attendance there were some named players who were hoping to catch the eye of NBA talent evaluators in attendance, one of them was Florida Gator guard Kenny Boynton.
Boynton has been on the NBA draft radar for a couple of years, but his slender frame and up and down stats makes him a hard player to project at the next level.
Boynton talked with HOOPSWORLD about what he hoped to showcase and where he sees himself in the draft process.
We Want To Know:
It’s time to start talking NBA Draft, so HOOPSWORLD has everything you need to get ready. Want the Top 100 Players? They are right here. How about detailed Draft Prospect profiles? Got those rights here too. Need some NBA Mock Drafts? Bookmark the NBA Draft page. Who is going to have Salary cap space? Checkout the most detailed and hyper accurate NBA salary data anywhere. The offseason is right around the corner and HOOPSWORLD has you covered.
Collins Out In Philly: Back in February in this space we took a look at all of the NBA Coaches and what their status was, at the time there were very clear rumblings out of Philadelphia that head coach Doug Collins was growing weary of the grind and situation in Philly and might look for the door.
For the past week or so there has been rampant speculation that the Sixers might want Collins out, and according to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Collins informed 76ers’ controlling owner Josh Harris that he would be resigning after the season concludes.
The news is not completely shocking as Collins has a reputation of running himself and his players into the ground; he is a celebrated workaholic.
The Sixers are currently in ninth place after an offseason last year were Collins was given far more influence over the roster than he’ll admit publicly. It was Collins who pushed for the 76ers to trade for Andrew Bynum and to get Andre Iguodala off the roster. It was also Collins who pushed for the Sixers to pass on paying Lou Williams.
The Sixers now find themselves entering the offseason with lots of questions – Collins is out as head coach, current team president Rod Thorn is stepping back and into a smaller consulting role, so the Sixers now find their future in the hands of long-time executive Tony DiLeo with the roster in major need of overhaul and a huge leadership void to fill.
The Sixers have two more games on their schedule and will wrap up their season on Wednesday in Indiana.
More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to insure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @TheRocketGuy, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @alexraskinNYC, @SusanBible, @DPageNBA , @stevesraptors, @TommyBeer and @YannisHW.
NBA Chats: There are two NBA Chats scheduled for today starting with HOOPSWORLD’s Bill Ingram at 11am. Bill’s chats do fill up fast so getting in early is always wise. HOOPSWORLD’s Stephen Brotherston will hold down his weekly NBA chat at 3pm EST. You can always find the next NBA Chat here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/upcoming-chats and if you are looking for Previous Chats try here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/previous-chats
Article printed from HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors: http://www.hoopsworld.com
URL to article: http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba-am-are-the-boston-celtics-the-dark-horse-in-the-east
Copyright © 2013 HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors
Part of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group.