Boston Celtics: Joel Anthony
Player: Chris Babb
2013-14 base stats: 1.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 26.7 FG%
2013-14 advanced stats: 0.667 Off ppp (6th percentile); 0.861 Def ppp (54th)
2013-14 salary: $133,000
Teacher's notes: We'll hold off on giving grades to the late arrivals given their limited sample (but you can still vote in the polls). Babb might have led the team in claps per minute over the final two months of the season. Even when he was a healthy DNP, Babb was into the game and a quality teammate. Babb struggled offensively, shooting just 26.7 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent beyond the 3-point arc, but was mostly a competitive defender and his effort was obvious.
What's next?: Babb signed on for four seasons, but the final three are nonguaranteed. He'll stick with the organization to start this offseason, but as the roster crowds he could be moved as part of a trade package or set free to seek an opportunity elsewhere. If he survives the summer, he'll likely still be fighting an uphill battle to keep his end-of-the-roster spot in training camp.
Player: Joel Anthony
2013-14 base stats: 0.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 0.4 bpg, 37.5 FG%
2013-14 advanced stats: 0.71 Off ppp (9th percentile); 1.0 Def ppp (9th)
2013-14 salary: $3.8 million
Teacher's notes: Brad Stevens often pointed to Anthony as the sort of defensive presence the team could use to protect the rim, but he rarely called on him until the final games of the season. Anthony has a couple championship rings from his time in Miami, but he's struggled to find a consistent role since starting 51 games for the Heat during the 2011-12 season.
What's next?: All indications are Anthony will pick up the $3.8 million player option he has for next season as he clearly won't fetch that price tag on the open market. Will he be back in Boston? That will likely depend on whether the team can include his deal in any offseason move. Given his limited role this year, you get the sense that the Celtics must be confident that's possible after taking on his contract as part of a deal that's likely only to deliver second-round draft picks (albeit, potentially high ones from the 76ers).
Honor roll: Click HERE to read past report cards.
Don't agree with teacher? Just want to sound off on the 2013-14 season for Babb or Anthony? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Before Friday's tilt, coach Brad Stevens admitted the team hadn't had enough time to get either player up to speed and it was unlikely either would make an on-court debut until the team's upcoming three-game road trip.
For their part, Anthony and Johnson are excited for the opportunity here.
Anthony spent 6-plus seasons with the Heat, winning two consecutive NBA championships despite a diminishing role. He admitted it was tough leaving the only NBA home he's known, particularly while going from a title contender to a team in a rebuild, but said he'd make the most of this situation.
"I understand the business of how things work," said Anthony, a soft-spoken Montreal native, who took an open locker spot next to fellow Canadian Kelly Olynyk. "Obviously, you want to be able to stay for all that, but it’s time to move on. Fortunately, I’m in a position where I’m going somewhere there’s another opportunity for me. So I’m just looking to take advantage of that and continue on with my career."
Anthony, who started 51 of 64 appearances while playing 21.1 minutes per game during Miami's first title season in 2011-12, had played a mere 37 minutes over 12 appearances this season. Regarded for his interior defense and rebounding, the 6-foot-9 Anthony believes he can carve out a role in Boston, even on a team that's already got a surplus of undersized big men.
"Defensively, with my energy and shot-blocking, also my experience," said Anthony. "I’ve been in a lot of big games, seen a lot of different situations, and I feel my experience will be able to help out this ball club. Just looking to do those things that I do with a high motor and plenty of energy, 110 percent, and just take it from there."
Johnson is a 6-foot-6 swingman regarded for his energy. He appeared in eight games for the Memphis Grizzlies last season and spent training camp with the Brooklyn Nets in October. With Boston in need of wing depth after trading away MarShon Brooks and excusing Keith Bogans, Johnson could be an emergency option during his 10-day tryout.
"I’m fortunate, blessed to be here," said Johnson. "I’m just going to make the most of this situation. When my number is called, just be ready and provide energy, do all the little things to show that I belong here."
And what can he bring?
"Just provide energy. Do the little things that can help the team win -- rebound, defend, get on the floor and get 50-50 balls," he said. "Just do whatever it takes to win."
Johnson said he absorbed everything during his time with Memphis last season.
"I learned a lot, just the work ethic, how those players come in, how they work hard, not always speeding up the game," said Johnson. "It’s a slower game in the NBA. Just picking their brains, because there’s a lot of veterans in the league who’ve played for a long time. Just give me confidence and keep building on that."
Veteran big man Joel Anthony, obtained from the Miami Heat as part of Wednesday's three-way trade that sent MarShon Brooks and Jordan Crawford to the Golden State Warriors, was undergoing his routine physical at an area hospital then joined the Celtics for the tail end of their offday session.
Observing practice was Chris Johnson (no, not the same Chris Johnson the Celtics had for a bit a couple seasons ago), a D-League wing who was finalizing a 10-day contract to add additional depth for a team that operated with only 10 available bodies during Wednesday's win over the Toronto Raptors that ended a nine-game losing streak.
"I think we’re going to fill a 10-day contract here soon and Chris Johnson is here today from the great Dayton University," said Ainge, pandering to a beat reporter wearing a sweatshirt from that same institution. "So Chris has been playing very well, we need a wing player, we need someone who can shoot the ball, so Chris will add some depth to our team for now."
The Celtics are in need of wing help, not only due to recent trades, but after excusing Keith Bogans from the team due to his frustration over a lack of playing time. Ainge expounded on his comments Thursday morning detailing the situation, stressing that Bogans didn't have any sort of incident that served as a tipping point.
"There was no big incident. Keith, he’s been frustrated for a lot of the year, just because he hasn’t had a role," said Ainge. "Keith has started on a lot of teams in this league and he’s in his 11th year and I think his expectations were just different than what I thought was realistic. I shared with him what his realistic role was and I just didn’t think he was very happy with it. It was just better for him to go home, stay in shape in case we need him, but we’d rather have -- we’re going to play the guys that we have here that are really hungry to play and dying to play that we’re going to try to develop into better players."
Two other quick hits:
- HANDS OFF: BRADLEY SITS OUT: Celtics coach Brad Stevens noted that Avery Bradley, who injured his right hand early in Wednesday's win over the Toronto Raptors, would sit out Thursday's session as a precaution. He is expected to play on Friday against the Lakers.
- NOT PICKING SIDES: After referencing Tom Brady and Peyton Manning while describing Rajon Rondo's ability to audible, Stevens was asked about Sunday's AFC Championship game between the Patriots and Broncos. An Indianapolis native and admitted Manning fan, Stevens punted on offering a prediction (which leads you to believe he's got the Broncos). All the fence-sitting coach would offer is, "I'm sure it'll be a great game. I unbelievably respect everybody involved."
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