Like the recent addition of Tim Frazier, it appears that McGruder and Watford are training camp bodies that could be bound for the Maine Red Claws of the D-League.
The Hoop365 report notes that "Watford [is] a jumpshooting combo forward [who] attended summer league this year with both the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors" while McGruder is a "6-4 off-guard [and] is also only one year into a professional career, spending the bulk of his first campaign in Hungary with Atomeromu."
The Celtics are now at the league maximum of 20 signed players for camp and the team has not formally finalized the signing of free-agent swingman Evan Turner. The team must trim to a maximum of 15 bodies before the start of the regular season.
As part of his challenges, Ainge called out Celtics owners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca, while also challenging former teammate Kevin McHale.
It's been a busy couple days for Celtics-related Ice Bucket Challenges. Jeff Green also posted his Ice Bucket Challenge on Wednesday.
Today's Celtics Summer Forecast topic: What are your expectations for Celtics rookie Marcus Smart?
Our panel was given four potential options for Smart: (1) All-Rookie team; (2) Rotation player with immediate impact; (3) Role player with limited impact; and (4) D-League.
The No. 6 pick will shoulder plenty of first-year expectations as nearly 65 percent of our panel pegged him for the All-Rookie team. Now, let's keep in mind that 10 players make the two All-Rookie squads and it's not that daunting of a task some years. Last season, despite playing only 20 minutes per game, Kelly Olynyk topped the NBA's All-Rookie second team in voting.
This year's rookie class appears deeper and more talented, and it'll include the likes of Philadelphia's Nerlens Noel, who sat out last season while rehabbing from ACL surgery. Regardless, this writer agrees that Smart has All-Rookie potential. His NBA-ready defense should help separate him from some of his rookie peers and aid his case to earn a spot by season's end.
What's working against Smart, at least initially, is Boston's seemingly deep backcourt. The team returns Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley in starting roles, while there will be motivation to showcase the likes of Marcus Thornton -- and Evan Turner, too, if he plays some minutes at the 2 -- in reserve roles at the start of the year.
But Smart showed NBA-ready skills at summer league and got experience against top-level competition with the USA Basketball select team, all of which should help him immediately carve out rotation minutes with the potential for his role to grow, especially should Boston make additional in-season moves to shed guard depth.
If Smart develops his jump shot and can impact the game at both ends of the floor, he'll muscle his way into the All-Rookie conversation. A look at our forecasters voting:
Read on as our panelists explain their ballots:
And after the jump, rookie James Young and player development coach Ronald Nored do their part:
A snippet from Ford: "Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller are nice, but Towns has much more potential. He's huge, highly skilled and can stretch the floor. The biggest question mark around Towns will be how much playing time he gets on a loaded Kentucky team. If he gets minutes, he'll likely go very high in the draft."
[Read full 2015 Way-too-early Mock ]
Today's Celtics Summer Forecast topic: Which Celtics player will fall shortest of expectations this season?
This questions is tricker than it appears on the surface. In order to underachieve, you have to start with a high level of expectations, which most on Boston's rebuilding roster seem to lack. There's a case to be made that only Rajon Rondo, further removed from his ACL surgery and looking to reestablish his All-Star form, faces truly lofty expectations.
But there are others that will feel pressure. Avery Bradley inked a four-year, $32 million extension this offseason, which will change the expectation level of the young shooting guard. Both Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger will be looked upon to take the next steps in their developments. Some will continue to believe there is more than we've seen from Jeff Green.
It's telling that our panel produced nine different names for potential underachiever. Four different players received multiple votes in Green, Brandon Bass, Marcus Thornton, and Evan Turner (ironically, Turner was the top vote-getter for most likely to overachieve in Monday's forecast).
This writer's vote? I picked Bass, in large part because he's in a tough spot. The Celtics have younger talent at the power forward position in Sullinger and Olynyk and both need more minutes this season. Bass, if he's still on the roster for the start of the regular season, will be looked upon as taking minutes from their development, particularly if he remains in a prominent rotation role (he started 73 games last season).
In the final year of his contract, 29-year-old Bass doesn't quite fit this transitioning roster. He's a true pro and his lunchpail mentality should have endeared him more here. But he doesn't put up the glitziest stat line, he's undersized for the power forward spot, and much of what he does is lost amidst Boston's team struggles. Put another way: He simply seems better suited as a role player on a contender than a focal point of a rebuilding squad.
Ultimately, there's little Bass can do to exceed expectations. Some Celtics fans will hope he plays well simply to increase his trade value as the season progresses.
A look at our how our forecasters voted:
Read on as our panelists explain their ballots:
The college's men's basketball Twitter account sent the following Tweet on Monday:
The 6-foot-1 Frazier averaged 14.9 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game during his senior season at Penn State. The Celtics' roster is already overstocked with bodies, so those attending camp often attend knowing they are more likely auditioning for spots with the team's D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. Frazier will add another point guard to the camp roster, which could help spell the likes of Rajon Rondo and Phil Pressey, while also allowing Marcus Smart to spend more time off the ball in practice situations.
The Celtics currently have 18 players signed for the 2014-15 season and must trim to 15 before the start of the regular season.
The bad news? Olynyk is sporting a noticeable wrap around the right wrist he banged up playing overseas (even though he downplayed the injury last week).
Today's Celtics Summer Forecast topic: Which Celtics player will most exceed expectations this season?
In our notes to our panel regarding the question, we playfully dubbed this category the Jordan Crawford Award. After all, it was last summer that our panel of experts pegged Crawford as the most likely to be gone before the start of the 2013-14 season, only for him to emerge as maybe the best story of the first two months (before finally being dealt in January).
The Celtics, still in transition mode and again facing an unbalanced roster that's logjammed at multiple spots, likely wouldn't mind if a few players overachieved this season and drove up their own trade values. But which player is most likely to do so? It's telling that our panel came back with seven different names, though Evan Turner was the only one to receive more than two votes.
This writer's ballot? I'm with the crowd on Turner. Expectations have never been lower, particularly since he fizzled after being acquired by the Indiana Pacers at last year's trade deadline. Turner, a former No. 2 overall pick, will be motivated to reestablish his value on a rebuilding team that will give him every opportunity to thrive.
And much like Crawford, you can envision a scenario in which coach Brad Stevens attempts to put Turner in the best position to thrive. Yes, there's a crowd at the swingman spots and Turner is going to have to assert himself early to ensure meaningful playing time, but the Celtics will have an interest in maximizing Turner's potential (depending on the length of his contract, either as a low-cost reclamation project, or as a desirable in-season trade asset).
Heck, if Turner does nothing more than push the likes of Jeff Green to be better, than he's got an excellent chance to exceed most expectations.
A look at our forecasters voting:
Read on as our panelists explains their ballots:
Here's a sample of the best responses:
Rondo is a walking triple double and a fearless player. He is one of my top 5 favorite Celtics of all time. He has always been underrated at what he does -- create for others, rebound well, and defend (at times) at high level. For him to have his best season is to do what he has done every other season: make his team better. In my opinion, the only way to have a career year is for him to increase his long-range shot, and his free throw percentage. Although he showed improvement, I’m not convinced he can punish the defense this way.
His shooting is getting better and better, and it's a contract year on a team lacking in firepower, so he'll be putting up shots. Imagine a whole year of national TV Rondo. He may not go that big, but it should be his year for sure.
Don't get me wrong Rondo will have a very good year but this team isn't structured for him to have the best season of his career. Rondo is an amazing point guard, but is a pass-first point guard who needs scorers around him to succeed. The 2014-2015 roster, at the moment, does not offer much for Rondo to run an offense like he truly can. I do believe he will score a bit more this season and show the league he can do a little more than pass the ball, but he won't have his best season.
With a full offseason of recovery from any lingering effects of the ACL tear, combined with this being a contract year for Rajon, expect him to put up close to career numbers. Averages of 13.7 points/5.6 rebounds/11.7 assists is his best stats taken from different seasons. With less scoring options than his last full season of play (2011-12), expect Rondo to eclipse the 13.7 ppg mark. With an increased offensive role, fans should expect him to shoot around 45-48 percent this year (career high is 50.8). The assist numbers probably won't quite reach the career high of 11.7, but can definitely get close to that. Will Rondo treat every game in his contract year as a nationally televised game and blow away everyone's expectations? We'll find out.
Is it important to you now that you've been through it to talk to other guys if they go down with that same injury?
Noel: Oh yeah, yeah. Definitely, definitely. With all the support and love, certain guys, especially Rajon Rondo -- he was definitely the biggest helper through this whole process, he actually gave me his phone number and told me I could hit him up whenever about it. Being from Boston, watching him growing up, and he went through it and he came back as strong as possible, actually before me, so it gave me a lot of confidence, having his good faith.
Is that kind of crazy, being a Celtics fan growing up, to get to know him on a personal level?
Noel: Yeah, definitely. That's definitely what made it even more of a thrill. Being able to interact with Rondo and get good advice from him, 'cause he's more of a veteran point guard now in this league, gone through so much with the Big 3, he's a world champion, he's a player who's very mature in this league now. So definitely, it was crazy. I took a lot from him.
[Read full Q&A on CBSSports.com]
Today's Celtics Summer Forecast topic: Will Rajon Rondo have the best season of his career?
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has remained steadfast in his belief that Rondo, further removed from the ACL surgery that he worked his way back from last season, will have the best season of his pro career while serving as the leader of a team in transition.
The Celtics clearly need Rondo to take his game to another level in order to have any shot of exceeding the low expectations that most have for the upcoming season. Not only must Rondo elevate his individual game, but he must find a way to elevate those around him.
Which sets the bar pretty high for his "best" season ever. In the time between his first All-Star season in 2009-10 and up until his ACL injury in January of 2013, Rondo averaged 12.4 points, 10.8 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game, earning four All-Star nods overall.
There are those that insist Rondo's numbers have been aided by having as many as three Hall of Fame players around him during the Big Three era. We don't necessarily subscribe to the notion that Rondo needs star players around him to thrive, but it certainly doesn't hurt the stat line. Regardless, Rondo's assist numbers might get a jolt with better players, but Rondo should still be able to elevate players of all abilities with his talents.
While much of the defensive attention next season is likely to be focused on Rondo, this writer does believe that Rondo will have his best season. That's not an easy statement considering what Rondo has accomplished, including helping the Celtics to Banner 17 during the 2008 season. But it won't hurt that Rondo is in a contract year and has maintained a desire to test the open market; a stellar season could help him command a monster contract. Stated simpler: Rondo has plenty of reasons to make this the best year of his career.
But more than maybe the money, he has the motivation to distinguish himself as an elite player in this league and to do it without a star-filled supporting cast.
Our 15-member voting panel was split on the issue, as you can see from the voting:
Read on as our panel explains their votes:
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