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Old 08-27-05, 07:47 AM
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Celtics' Ainge gets the point, mentions Parker

Ainge gets to the point
He's kept busy trying to find a floor leader for Celtics
By Bob Ryan, Globe Columnist | August 27, 2005
http://www.boston.com/sports/basketb..._point/?page=1

While you've been busy worrying about Curt Schilling, Keith Foulke, new outfield sod, Tom Brady's arm, Tom Brady's GQ picture holding the goat, and if you'll ever be able to drive underneath downtown Boston without worrying about drowning, Danny Ainge has been busy, too.

Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts The Celtics' executive director of basketball operations has been trying to buy up every available point guard in the known universe.

Well, lots of 'em anyway.

Until further notice, the Celtics will go to training camp with five point guards, none of them, unfortunately, named Kidd or Billups or Parker, and perhaps this is not the time to remind everyone that Chauncey Billups was once in a Celtics uniform and Tony Parker should have been.

But that's all part of the sorry recent past, and this regime is rightly concerned only about the present. The Celtics aren't going anywhere this season if somebody, or a couple of somebodies, don't give Doc Rivers some quality minutes at this most crucial position. Say this for Ainge: He has certainly given his coach some options. Pretty darn good options, too, according to Ainge.

''I think we have guys who can do the job," Ainge insists.

Almost forgot. For those of you a bit out of touch with Celtics matters these days (understandable, given our preoccupation with the local, ahem, championship teams), the five young men -- and the oldest is 26 -- are Marcus Banks, Delonte West, Dan Dickau, Will Bynum, and Orien Greene. None is in line to dislodge the Cooz as point guard on the all-time Celtics team.

Of course, we wouldn't be having this conversation if Banks had turned out to be what Ainge hoped he'd be when he selected him 13th overall in the 2003 NBA Draft.

''I won't say I'm disappointed with Marcus," Ainge maintains. ''Marcus has proven to be an NBA player. But I'd have to say his strength is in the open floor and exerting full-court defensive pressure. He has struggled in the half-court."

We've noticed. And so have his coaches.

Three years in, the rocket ship from UNLV is essentially the same player he was when he arrived. There isn't much to add to Ainge's assessment, other than to say that Banks can make an occasional 3-pointer.

Next up is West. The southpaw from Saint Joe's may, in fact, be the Celtics' secret weapon. Forget his numbers. Forget the fact that injuries messed up his rookie progress. Delonte West will never, ever, ever, ever be about the numbers.

''They all say they want to win, but Delonte is one of the rare young players I have ever come across who actually plays to win," Ainge says. ''He does not care about stats. He moves the ball. He blocks out. He goes after loose balls. He truly does all the little things."

While you've been busy worrying about Curt Schilling, Keith Foulke, new outfield sod, Tom Brady's arm, Tom Brady's GQ picture holding the goat, and if you'll ever be able to drive underneath downtown Boston without worrying about drowning, Danny Ainge has been busy, too.

The Celtics' executive director of basketball operations has been trying to buy up every available point guard in the known universe.

Well, lots of 'em anyway.

Until further notice, the Celtics will go to training camp with five point guards, none of them, unfortunately, named Kidd or Billups or Parker, and perhaps this is not the time to remind everyone that Chauncey Billups was once in a Celtics uniform and Tony Parker should have been.

But that's all part of the sorry recent past, and this regime is rightly concerned only about the present. The Celtics aren't going anywhere this season if somebody, or a couple of somebodies, don't give Doc Rivers some quality minutes at this most crucial position. Say this for Ainge: He has certainly given his coach some options. Pretty darn good options, too, according to Ainge.

''I think we have guys who can do the job," Ainge insists.

Almost forgot. For those of you a bit out of touch with Celtics matters these days (understandable, given our preoccupation with the local, ahem, championship teams), the five young men -- and the oldest is 26 -- are Marcus Banks, Delonte West, Dan Dickau, Will Bynum, and Orien Greene. None is in line to dislodge the Cooz as point guard on the all-time Celtics team.

Of course, we wouldn't be having this conversation if Banks had turned out to be what Ainge hoped he'd be when he selected him 13th overall in the 2003 NBA Draft.

''I won't say I'm disappointed with Marcus," Ainge maintains. ''Marcus has proven to be an NBA player. But I'd have to say his strength is in the open floor and exerting full-court defensive pressure. He has struggled in the half-court."

We've noticed. And so have his coaches.

Three years in, the rocket ship from UNLV is essentially the same player he was when he arrived. There isn't much to add to Ainge's assessment, other than to say that Banks can make an occasional 3-pointer.

Next up is West. The southpaw from Saint Joe's may, in fact, be the Celtics' secret weapon. Forget his numbers. Forget the fact that injuries messed up his rookie progress. Delonte West will never, ever, ever, ever be about the numbers.

''They all say they want to win, but Delonte is one of the rare young players I have ever come across who actually plays to win," Ainge says. ''He does not care about stats. He moves the ball. He blocks out. He goes after loose balls. He truly does all the little things

He can also make shots, which is a pretty nice bonus.


Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts But from the first minute he stepped onto the floor in an NBA game, he possessed that certain je ne sais quoi that stamps someone as an honest-to-goodness ballplayer, rather than just a good athlete.

''There must have been five or six times last year when Doc came in after a game and said, 'You know, Delonte may be our smartest player,' " Ainge explains.

Open Door No. 3 and say hello to Dickau.

Forgive him if he occasionally has a hard time remembering exactly where he is, because he's been a regular Arthur Frommer as he's attempted to establish himself as an NBA player. This will be team No. 6 in a career that began with him being taken by Sacramento with the 28th pick of the '02 draft. Well, not really. He was immediately shipped to Atlanta in one of those annual you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours, draft-day specials. After that it was Portland and Dallas, until he reached New Orleans last season and opened a few eyes with a solid performance (13.2 points and 5.2 assists per game in 67 games as a Hornet). Now he has landed with the Celtics after a sign-and-trade deal.

And he might be a steal. ''He has really improved his ballhandling skills and he can shoot the ball," analyzes Ainge. ''He just has a knack for offensive basketball. If you run a pick-and-roll with him, he must be honored."

That's the core trio. But just to spice the plot, Ainge has also imported a pair of intriguing young players. He drafted Greene in the second round and he signed former Arizona and Georgia Tech standout Bynum.

''Orien Greene caught my eye when he played an NCAA Tournament game for Louisiana-Lafayette against North Carolina State a year ago," Ainge says. ''He was a [6-foot-5-inch] point guard who made steals, blocked shots, and was all over the floor. He has interesting overall basketball skills. He's just a different look for us."

Bynum should be a familiar name to college hoop buffs. He's a sturdy, 6-1 guy who can shoot and who is essentially fearless. You might recall his heroics in the '04 NCAA national semifinal game when his layup gave the Yellow Jackets the victory over Oklahoma State.

''He can play defense at that position, and he can score," Ainge declares. ''He is a playground legend in Chicago," continues the executive director, polishing up his street cred a bit.

Ainge candidly -- perhaps even boldly -- admits he likes his players better than the pool of more celebrated guards in the last two drafts. ''Guys like Chris Paul and Sebastian Telfair are good players, but it's all about them," he says.

The obvious contrast to the me-first bit is West. Let's get to the proverbial chase. Delonte West is the one Danny Ainge is counting on in the long run. ''I think Delonte is a big-time player," he confirms. Meanwhile, he has given his coach some options.

And if all else fails, he's got himself (an '87 All-Star) and his coach (an '88 All-Star) to unretire, and there's even one additional in-house possibility.

Brooklyn native Red Auerbach was second-team All-City as a senior, and, as he's often pointed out, ''that's better than All-State everywhere else."

Who needs Jason Kidd?

Bob Ryan is a Globe columnist. His e-mail address is [email protected].
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Old 08-27-05, 08:16 AM
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I've been saying this since '03 when I saw Dickau versus the Spurs.....he can be pretty darn good. He has a little Nash/Kidd/JWill/AI in him.

He just needs to go to a program where he canget some quality time.

Boston would be A-OK if they make Dickau their starting PG.
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Old 08-27-05, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Until further notice, the Celtics will go to training camp with five point guards, none of them, unfortunately, named Kidd or Billups or Parker, and perhaps this is not the time to remind everyone that Chauncey Billups was once in a Celtics uniform and Tony Parker should have been.
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Old 08-27-05, 08:21 AM
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Ooooh.....he forgot to mention that Tim Duncan should have been a Celtic.

Aw shucks sorry too bad sux to be you.
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Old 08-27-05, 08:28 AM
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Bruce was a Celtic once also.
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Old 08-27-05, 08:49 AM
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I also think Dickau is a player who can become a Nash type PG if given a chance. I thought he was a handful for the Spurs when he was with the Hornets last year. He's quick, has a good shot, and has all the natural instincts of a great point. All he needs is a team and a coach who will believe in him and let him run the team, I don't know if Boston will be patient enough for him to come around.
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Old 08-27-05, 11:54 AM
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shoulda woulda coulda....
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Old 08-27-05, 12:24 PM
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I don't think Tony would be nearly the player he has become if he were in Boston.
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Old 08-27-05, 12:36 PM
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Well you can say that about almost all players that end up around Tim Duncan, especially Bruce Bowen
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Old 08-28-05, 01:59 AM
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A smart coach would deemphasize the role of the Point and allow him to play to his strengths until he is ready for his true role. Thats pretty much what Pop did with Tony, and it worked to an extent. Tony may never be that John Stockton type of player but he is a good leader who will become great with age.

The problem is they want their PG to be great right now and it doesn't work like that. They talk about Chauncey Billips being great but how long and how many teams did he go through before he became great? Same with Antonio Daniels, if he played for the Spurs the way he played for the Sonics this year he probably would still be a Spur.

The PG like the quarterback is a role that takes some guys years to learn. If the Celtics were smart they would take the potential they have and surround them with a little veteran leadership and let them learn.
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Old 08-28-05, 02:32 AM
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Can Parker still be a Celtic for the right price?

Who would you take in return?
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Old 08-28-05, 03:37 AM
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Even now, Tony is still a work in progress. I think if he has his head on straight, he should realize that this playoff run contains a lot of things for him to reflect on.

Go look through Games 3 and 4 of the Seattle series to see that he kept missing the open guy when the Sonics collapsed the paint.

Go look through Games 4 and 5 of the Phoenix series to see how big of a difference his ability/inability to hit an open shot makes for how teams defend him. No team should be allowd to get away with having a defender sagging 3 feet off of him, but to make them pay he's got to have that jumper fixed.

Go look through sections of the Detroit series - yes he didn't get the ball stolen under pressure like Beno did, but he did dribble the ball off his feet or got it deflected off of him, so he turned it over under pressure just the same - shouldn't happen. Not much complaints about his D, though.

Oh wait, this is about the Celtics!
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Old 08-28-05, 11:21 AM
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Celtics who?
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