Boston Celtics: Kris Joseph
Working on a nonguaranteed contract -- albeit one that would pay him just $788,000 next season -- Joseph could eventually be the victim of Boston's overcrowded roster. That, of course, would be the second time a need for roster flexibility has worked against him as Joseph was waived by Boston in January before his contract went fully guaranteed in his rookie season.
Aware of the uncertainty, Joseph is excited by the potential opportunity to showcase his abilities for a team in transition.
"It's a young team that's 'rebuilding,'" Joseph said. "At the same time, I don’t know what’s going to take place in the next couple of days, and I’m just waiting, taking it day by day, playing it by ear. And if the opportunity does come, where I do end up back in Boston, and the opportunity is there for me, I’ll be ready.
"I’ve realized early in my career that it’s just part of the business. I’ve been through a lot for a first-year guy. I was released [in Boston], [returned to the] D-League, got traded [from Maine to Springfield] in the D-League. This is not the first time I’ve been part of a trade. I’ve been through a lot as a professional, in my first year. I think that’s going to help me to grow and mature, just for the future."
Despite his limbo status, Joseph utilized his summer league visit to say hello to new coach Brad Stevens. He's actually familiar with Stevens as Butler (Stevens' school) ousted Syracuse (Joseph's school) from the NCAA tournament en route its first title game appearance in 2010. While he didn't stick in Boston last time around because of a veteran team's need for roster flexibility, Joseph believes things could be different with this opportunity.
"Being on a team like that, a younger team, and being able to run a lot more, and just playing, it’s going to be a great opportunity for me because I excel in the open court," Joseph said. "I think it’ll be great; we’ll be able to push the tempo and play a different kind of style under Coach Stevens. I played against Coach Stevens at Syracuse; they beat us in the tournament. Just remembering how his team played, I can tell that this Celtics team and how he’s going to handle them, it’s going to be great."
Joseph acknowledged it was a hectic draft night as the Celtics and Nets worked through their deal. Joseph was not in the initial iteration of the swap, but was later inserted in place of Tornike Shengelia. He said toward the end of the night, he realized he was likely in the trade and even phoned old Syracuse teammate Fab Melo to celebrate.
"I think I told Fab. He wasn’t aware of it. I know that surprises you," Joseph deadpanned. "I told him and he was very excited, definitely."
A native of Montreal, the 24-year-old Joseph is familiar with another fellow Canadian: Boston's first-round pick, Kelly Olynyk.
"He can do pretty much everything," Joseph said. "At his size, it’s impressive. He can put the ball on the floor, he’s hitting 3s, he’s passing the ball. He gives you the total package."
When it was noted that the Canadians could be in the process of cobbling together a nice national team roster with the growing influx of NBA talent (hey there, Andrew Wiggins), Joseph smiled.
"That’s a secret," he said. "We’re not going to talk about that yet."
The Celtics have often brought Joseph back for emergency depth or practice time, but this recall is somewhat surprising because the Red Claws have back-to-back games the next two days, seemingly a prime opportunity to get Joseph the game reps he's on assignment to receive.
In seven appearances for the Red Claws, Joseph is averaging 20.9 points, 6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2 steals in 38.1 minutes per game. According to the team, Joseph ranked fifth in the D-League in points per game at the time of his recall.
Joseph got called back to the parent club for emergency depth as part of the team's back-to-back against Portland and Milwaukee. Joseph logged five minutes in Friday's win over the Trail Blazers, missing all three shots he took, but chipping in a pair of free throws in 96-78 triumph. He did not play against the Bucks on Saturday.
With Boston off for the next three days, Joseph will rejoin the Claws, who have a game Sunday afternoon in Portland.
With Jeff Green (knee) and Chris Wilcox (illness) questionable for Friday's visit from the Portland Trail Blazers -- and a back-to-back looming Saturday in Milwaukee -- the Celtics brought back Joseph, one of two rookies on assignment, in order to add depth.
The Celtics are already operating shorthanded as Rajon Rondo was suspended Thursday for two games. Meanwhile, Avery Bradley is still rehabbing from double shoulder surgery, meaning that -- accounting for Green and Wilcox -- the Celtics had only 10 truly healthy bodies before recalling Joseph.
If Green can't go, Joseph provides depth behind Paul Pierce at a thin swingman spot (Courtney Lee could also shuffle over to that spot at times).
Rookie Fab Melo remains on assignment in Maine.
"I think he’ll be very good in the D-League, because there’s not a lot of bigs, so I’m expecting him to almost be dominant," said Rivers. "I don’t think he’ll see anyone his size, or very few guys. [Former Celtics center Greg] Stiemsma is in Minnesota, and Stiemsma was dominant [in the D-League] -- bigs are usually dominant down there."
Rivers admitted the game experience will be good for Melo, but noted the speed of development is different for every player.
"It depends on the big guy," said Rivers. "It’s not taking [No. 1 draft pick] Anthony Davis a long time [with New Orleans]. "It just depends on each individual player, who they are. Fab hasn’t played basketball a long time, it’s just going to take him some time."
The move was anticipated and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge hinted it would come this week as the Red Claws just opened training camp. With Celtics coach Doc Rivers sticking with a tight early rotation, Melo and Joseph will have an opportunity for extended (and much-needed) game reps up in Maine.
Full release from the team after the jump.
Joseph had legitimate competition for the final spot in Dionte Christmas, Jamar Smith, Micah Downs and Rob Kurz, but the C's ultimately went with the 6-foot-7 swingman from Syracuse that they drafted with the 51st overall selection in last June's draft.
The Celtics haven't formally announced the release of Downs and Kurz, a pair of camp invites who had strong showings, but that should come soon.
"Just happy, proud," Joseph said Wednesday after learning he made the final cut. "I put in the work necessary to make it this far throughout my life, and when I got here, I continuously worked hard. So it's just a blessing. It's a weight off my shoulders now. But the hard work doesn't stop here. You've got to always keep working hard."
Though his immediate NBA future was on the line, Joseph said he did his best to ignore the pressure that had built up over the last week and a half.
"Honestly, I wasn't thinking about it," Joseph said. "Because I feel like I know myself and if I were to think about it, I wouldn't be able to perform when the time came for me. My mind was just on playing well and doing the things necessary for me to succeed. So I wasn't really thinking about it too much. But had I thought about it, I'm sure I would have been nervous, I would have felt pressure. But when I was out there I felt really calm and at ease."
"You can see the ability there. He really hasn’t done anything yet," Rivers said before Tuesday's 97-96 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. "But we look at a lot of things when we decide to keep a guy or not keep a guy, and we like what he potentially can be. But he hasn’t done anything yet."
Playing time has been sparse for Joseph this preseason. He's played just 32 total minutes through Boston's first five exhibition games, but knows he has to remain ready with the preseason evaporating quickly.
"Any time I do get in there, they just tell me to be aggressive, but be smart aggressive," Joseph said. "Don't just go out there and try to jack up shots. Play within the team and be smart about how you're going to play.
"I'm just going to try to be aggressive when I do get my opportunities and the main thing is always being ready when your number's called, no matter if it's 30 seconds left in the game, 30 seconds left in the half, quarter, you've got to be ready. Five minutes, you've got to be ready."
Dooling's agent, Kenge Stevenson, said in a statement: "Keyon has decided that he has given the NBA 12 good years and that it's time to pursue other interests and spend more time with his family. He will never forget his time with the Boston Celtics."
In his only season in a Celtics uniform, Dooling emerged as a strong veteran presence in the locker room last year, while overcoming early season injuries and contributing to Boston's lengthy postseason run. He finished the season with averages of 4 points and 1.1 assists over 14.4 minutes per game. He was re-signed to a one-year, veteran's minimum contract late in July.
"We'll miss Keyon's spirit and energy, both on and off the court," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement. "The whole Celtics family wishes him well as he enters the next phase of his life."
Over the course of his 12-year career, in addition for playing for Boston, Dooling, 32, suited up for the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks. He finished his career with averages of 7 points and 2.2 assists, having shot 34.9 percent from 3-point range.
News of Dooling's departure comes mere hours after the Celtics agreed to a veteran's minimum deal with free agent center Darko Milicic. Boston will still have 13 guaranteed contracts entering training camp.
The departure of Dooling bodes well for several of the players Boston currently has signed to partially or non-guaranteed contracts, including Dionte Christmas, Jamar Smith and rookie Kris Joseph. All three players could spend time at shooting guard and will be competing for one of the final roster spots when training camp opens in a little more than a week.
The potential is obvious, but so too are the strides necessary to get his game ready for the NBA level. Celtics second-round pick Kris Joseph, a teammate of Melo's at Syracuse, has seen his development up close, including as two transition to the pro level. So what's his take on Melo's progress?
"He's making strides," said Joseph. "He's in better shape, he's trimmed down tremendously. He's a guy I've been with for two years, and I remember his jump from his freshman year to his sophomore year, and he puts in a lot of work that people may not see all the time. But I was there, personally, and I saw the hard work that he puts in and his dedication to the game. So, since summer league, he's really been doing well, pick-and-rolling like they want him to, dunking, blocking shots. He's doing all the things necessary to win basketball games."
Of course, there have been growing pains. Well-documented growing pains, in fact. Celtics newcomer Courtney Lee recently posted a video to Twitter that appeared to show him dunking hard on Melo in a pick-up game. Someone present for recent informal workouts confirmed that it wasn't the only time Melo's been posterized after a late rotation.
But Joseph said that Melo has had his own highlight moments as well, even if no Twitter evidence exists.
"Fab dunked on me three times," admitted Joseph. "I was late on a couple rotations. But I got him back [Thursday]. Real good. For game point. Yeah, I dunked on him [Thursday]."
Teammate dunks are not Melo's only problem this summer. At rookie orientation, he had a run-in with a malfunctioning folding chair (poor kid, every time something bad happens someone has a video camera to document it). Joseph said Melo kept a sense of humor about the blooper moment.
"I didn't tell him too much about it. He told me before I could tell him," said Joseph. "But when I saw the footage, it was funnier than what he said. He played it down a little bit, but that footage was pretty funny."
DORCHESTER -- Various members of the Celtics, including Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Dionte Christmas, Jamar Smith, and Kris Joseph, have been engaging in informal offseason workouts for the past several weeks at the team's practice facility in Waltham.
And while the likes of Terry and Green have their spots on this coming season's roster solidified, the futures of Christmas, Smith, and Joseph aren't necessarily so secure. All three of the young guards, with either non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts, can easily be classified as being "on the bubble" in terms of making the final roster.
As players, such a scenario makes each one the others' biggest competition. But as people, that competition has been replaced by sincere friendships. It's a balancing act that will only grow more intense with training camp just about two weeks away.
"We're definitely friends off the court," Christmas said at a community event at the Holland School on Friday, put together by the Celtics, the Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare Foundation, and City Year volunteers. "We have a great friendship, we go out, we hang out when we're in the hotel together, just chilling. But when we're on the court, we're competing. Me and Jamar might not say two words to each other, or Kris, on the court. We're going at each other's necks. I mean, I'm wishing those guys the best, they're wishing me the best, but on the court, it's a battle."
Games played: 41
* Forsberg: Under seems the safe bet, but don't rule out the over. If we use E'Twaun Moore as our guide, last year's 55th overall pick played 38 of 66 games, so it's not unreasonable to think Joseph could appear in half of the 2012-13 contests. The question is whether the Celtics will need him that much. Paul Pierce and Jeff Green will eat up most of the minutes at the 3, but an injury could always open a door for Joseph.
* Payne: Under. Joseph's spot on the final roster isn't even guaranteed yet, and, similar to Fab Melo, it's more likely he'll spend the majority of his time in Maine playing for the D-League Red Claws. At 6-foot-7, Joseph can really only help the Celtics at the small forward spot (he could play the two, but the C's are already loaded there), and with Paul Pierce and Jeff Green taking all of the minutes there, the Syracuse rookie should be the odd man out.
Points per game: 2.9
* Forsberg: Under. Yes, he was Syracuse's leading scorer last season, but we don't expect him to be the type that guns away even if he only gets small doses of playing time at the end of lopsided games. It's his all-around abilities that will earn him a spot on the roster and it might be his defensive development that will hold the key to being on the floor. The scoring will come through the flow of the game, but don't expect much early on.
* Payne: Under. If Joseph does manage to find some court time, he won't be relied upon for much, if any, offensive output. Even though the rookie led Syracuse in scoring last season, we don't yet know how his offensive talents will translate to the NBA. Joseph has a good enough jump shot, and is athletic enough to score in transition, but none of that will matter if he can't consistently find floor time.
FG percentage: 42
* Forsberg: Over. Joseph shot 42.1 percent in his senior season at Syracuse (and 44.9 percent for his four-year career). With enough shots this is easily an over situation, but the question is whether he'll get enough shots to make up for any rookie shooting struggles out of the gates. The guess here is that Joseph will pick his spots (and shots) well.
* Payne: Under. This one could go either way (all depending on the amount of floor time Joseph sees). If Joseph does play, it'll probably be in garbage time, and if he's the type to chuck the ball up every time he touches it, his field goal percentage will dip accordingly. But, if he plays a smarter brand of ball, picks his spots, and plays to his strengths on the offensive end (excelling in transition, for example), he could shoot a solid percentage.
Some of Boston's former second-round picks like E'Twaun Moore (414th, 2.46 rating) and Lester Hudson (468, 1.97) are also part of the 400+ club, as is departed big man Sean Williams (428, 2.32).
One rating sure to draw heavy Boston interest (and maybe even some debate), Brian Scalabrine lands at No. 487 with a 1.76 rating.
Hop HERE to view the in-progress list.
Speaking at the Celtics' annual Summer Soiree at the Boston Children's Museum on Thursday night to help raise money for the Shamrock Foundation, Joseph maintained he'll be more excited than nervous when it's time to share the floor with the likes of Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo during camp.
"I guess it happens to every rookie, but at the same time, we're teammates now, so I don't think I'll be too intimidated," Joseph said. "If anything, I'm more excited. I'm not intimidated at all. I'm just looking forward to going in there, working hard, and learning things from [Celtics head coach] Doc [Rivers] and the coaching staff and the players."
Joseph stressed the importance of the educational aspect of training camp, as the Syracuse alum will surely be able to pick up a wealth of tips from his more-experienced counterparts.
"Getting to meet the veterans, bond with the guys, learning from everybody, not just Paul Pierce who plays my position, but learning from a guy like [Kevin Garnett] and learning from Rondo," Joseph said when asked what he's looking forward to most about training camp. "They've been around for so long that I can learn from each and every one of those guys and just be like a sponge and take everything that they're telling me, while still using my own skill set. But listening to those guys can only do positive things for me in the future."
Play Podcast ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter weighs in on the Panthers' WR situation, Julian Edelman's future with the Patriots, Vince Wilfork's decision to ask for his release and more.
Play Podcast "Spanning the Globe" features ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss, Yahoo! Sports' Eric Edholm and ESPN LA 710's Mark Willard.
Play Podcast Red Sox manager John Farrell talks about whether he expected his team to make such a turnaround in one season, his relationship with his players, fans' expectations for the squad and more.