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NBA@2: Boston Celtics Better Without Ray Allen?
Posted By Bill Ingram On August 1, 2012 @ 2:00 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
When free agent shooting guard Ray Allen opted to leave more money on the table in Boston to take a lesser role in Miami, many pointed to the contentious relationship Allen had with starting point guard Rajon Rondo as the reason for the surprising departure.
In a recent interview with Yahoo! Sports, however, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers took the blame for Allen’s departure upon himself.
“People can use all the Rondo stuff – and it was there, no doubt about that – but it was me more than Rondo,” Rivers said. “I’m the guy who gave Rondo the ball. I’m the guy who decided that Rondo needed to be more of the leader of the team. That doesn’t mean guys liked that – and Ray did not love that – because Rondo now had the ball all the time.
“Think about everything [Allen] said when he left, ‘I want to be more of a part of the offense.’ Everything was back at Rondo. And I look at that, and say, ‘That’s not Rondo’s fault.’ That’s what I wanted Rondo to do, and that’s what Rondo should’ve done. Because that’s Rondo’s ability. He’s the best passer in the league. He has the best feel in the league. He’s not a great shooter, so he needs the ball in his hands to be effective. And that bothered Ray.
“And not starting [games] bothered Ray. I did examine it, and the conclusion I came back to was this: By doing the right things, we may have lost Ray. If I hadn’t done that, I would’ve been a hypocrite. In the opening speech I make every year, I tell the team: ‘Every decision I make is going to be what’s good for the team, and it may not be what’s good for the individual.’”
It’s hard to argue that Rivers’ decisions weren’t, indeed, best for the team, as the Celtics got to within one win of the NBA Finals. At the same time, it’s highly unlikely that Allen will find himself in a starting role or getting a steady stream of touches in Miami; in fact, it would take a number of key injuries for Allen to be in that position with the stacked defending champions.
“Ray’s got to do what’s best for Ray,” Rivers said. “But having said that, he’s not going to start in Miami. And I doubt he gets the ball more. But I do think, for a guy like Ray and Paul [Pierce] and Kevin [Garnett] and Kobe [Bryant], it’s easier to go somewhere and do that than have it taken from you where you’re at.
“As a coach, you’ve got to do what’s best for the team. If guys don’t like it, they’re going to leave. If they stay and don’t like it, well, your team’s going to suck anyway. Even if this happens, you still have to do it. You can’t coach worrying about any individual. You’ve got to coach worrying about your entire team: whether that gets you a championship or whether that gets you fired.
“I think it allows you to coach free. You’re coaching with freedom because you know you’re doing what you think is right. I always tell my guys: If I’m wrong, hopefully I’m smart enough, or my staff, or one of you guys – because I do listen to you – will tell me that I’m wrong. But not one player ever told me, ‘Hey, I don’t think you should start Avery.’”
At first, Rivers admits he was upset by Allen’s decision, but then he realized that he was thinking about it the wrong way.
“For a week or two, I was really disappointed, pissed, because I thought it was for all the wrong reasons,” Rivers said. “It was more about himself, his team. And then I realized: Well, it should be about himself. It was free agency. I wasn’t thinking right.
“If Ray came back, it had to be because he was thinking, ‘We’re going to work this [stuff] out, and we’re going to win.’ And if he didn’t come back, it was because he thought he couldn’t work it out here. What they’re asking him to do in Miami, he just couldn’t do in Boston.
“But here’s what wasn’t going to change: The ball’s not going to be in Ray’s hands more, the ball’s going to be in Rondo’s hands. That’s not going to change. Now that you’ve voiced you should have the ball more, or you want to start, or you want more freedom in the offense, that’s not going to go away. It’s going to be the same stuff. If he comes back, it’s going to be because he’s figured it out. If he leaves, it’s going to be because he didn’t get over it. Whatever he decided, his decision was right.”
The Celtics rebounded nicely, arguably improving their shooting guard rotation even as Allen walked away. With Courtney Lee and Jason Terry in the mix, the Celtics have a younger, deeper rotation, and Terry alone could give the Celtics the edge they need should they cross paths with the HEAT again next postseason.
It’s tough to see a pivotal player like Allen walk away, but the Celtics look to be even stronger in his absence.
Is This Dominique Jones’ Year?
When the Dallas Mavericks acquired Dominique Jones from the Memphis Grizzlies, who had just made him the 25th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, they felt that he might one day be an impact scorer for them. After all, Jones was coming off a year in which he was second in the Big East in scoring as a junior.
As often happens, however, Jones wasn’t able to do enough of the other things required to earn consistent playing time under head coach Rick Carlisle. After two seasons in the NBA he has seen action in just 51 games averaging 7.7 minutes per showing and 2.5 points per game on 36 percent shooting. During that time he has also seen action in 13 D-League games with the Texas Legends, where he has averaged 17.5 points on 42 percent shooting.
There comes a time when teams have to make decisions about the future of young players, and with Jones entering the final guaranteed year of his rookie contract he has a lot riding on this season.
“As a basketball player I always feel like every year is my year,” Jones said to HOOPSWORLD while playing in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League. “You can’t worry about the things that you can’t control. All you can do is come out here and get better and be a better player. That’s my main focus.”
The Mavericks are never finished dealing, but as of today there appears to be a real chance that Jones could earn some minutes and play a significant role for the team in 2012-13. Gone are guards Jason Terry and Jason Kidd, and while the Mavs still have Vince Carter and O.J. Mayo at shooting guard, if Jones can show he’s ready to play in the big league he could well carve out a role. Carter averaged a career-low 10.1 points per game last season and shot a career-low-tying 41 percent from the field.
Then again, there might be a role for him at point guard, as well.
“Just basically the point guard things,” Jones said of what the Mavericks’ coaching staff was looking for from him in Vegas. “Hitting guys (with passes) on rolls and different stuff like that. Keeping my discipline. Even when I get tired don’t make mistakes. Stuff like that.”
Of course, the Mavericks have Darren Collison and Delonte West in the mix at point guard, so unless Jones can make a big impression in limited minutes early on, it seems unlikely that Carlisle would turn the reins of the team over to Jones.
For the third-year guard out of South Florida, the 2012-13 season will be a make-or-break year as he looks to establish himself as an NBA talent. The opportunity will likely be there; he just has to grasp it with both hands and never let go.
Cleveland Cavaliers Shopping For Small Forwards
For those wondering what’s going on with free agent forward Alonzo Gee and the Cleveland Cavaliers, don’t worry. He’s still very much in their long-term plans. As restricted free agents tend to do, he’s waiting for an offer from another team that will set his value, which the Cavaliers are absolutely expected to match. That’s providing, of course, that a team doesn’t wind up signing Gee to an offer sheet similar to the ones signed by Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik in Houston, which each had a poison pill tied to the third year. Short of that, Gee will be back in Cleveland one way or the other.
Even with Gee in place, however, the Cavs are still exploring additional options at small forward, according to Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto.
Outside shooting is one of the team’s targets, which has Carlos Delfino on their radar. Delfino shot 40 percent from behind the arc last season in Milwaukee. Of his 453 shot attempts, 239 were three-point tries, and he connected on 86 of those. The Cavs have also had some level of discussion with/about C.J. Miles, though Pluto says that may have more to do with trying to motivate Gee to sign the $2.7 million offer that is currently on the table.
The Cavs are also said to be interested in power forward John Leuer, who was acquired by the Houston Rockets in the Samuel Dalembert trade and waived shortly thereafter.
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