Boston Celtics: Marshon Brooks
Player: Jordan Crawford
2013-14 stats with Boston: 13.7 ppg, 5.7 apg, 3.1 rpg, 30.7 mpg, 39 games
2013-14 stats with Golden State: 8.4 ppg, 1.4 apg, 1.5 rpg, 15.7 mpg, 42 games
2013-14 salary: $2.2 million
Rajon Rondo's shoes while the All-Star point guard rehabbed from ACL surgery and turned in the best basketball of his career. Crawford was spectacular, even earning the Eastern Conference Player of the Week award in December. But he became expendable as Rondo neared a return, and the Celtics shipped him to Golden State (along with MarShon Brooks) in a deal that brought back some draft picks and Joel Anthony. The chance to join a contender was offset a bit by the fact that Crawford's minutes were sliced in half.
Teacher's notes: Steez, how we miss thee. You could make the case that Crawford was the MVP for Boston at a time when they were hovering around .500 ball in early December. The Celtics went 12-31 (.279 winning percentage) after dealing Crawford away. Here's hoping someone gives Crawford another chance to prove himself in a big role wherever he lands next. Most Celtics fans were ready to move on from Crawford after he was barking at Carmelo Anthony during the 2012-13 playoffs, but he endeared himself with his play at the start of the 2013-14 season.
Player: Courtney Lee
2013-14 stats with Boston: 7.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 49.2 FG%, 44.2 3PT%, 30 games
2013-14 stats with Memphis: 11 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 47.6 FG%, 34.5 3PT%, 49 games
2013-14 salary: $5.2 million
Jerryd Bayless back in return).
Teacher's notes: It's rare that a trade works out so well for both sides, but the Celtics and Grizzlies each got what they wanted out of the deal. Lee never quite thrived here and the Celtics were willing to give up the more talented player in the swap in order to clear his salary. Lee ended up starting 47 games in Memphis and helped the Grizzlies get into the playoffs.
Gone but not forgotten: Keith Bogans would get the harshest grade on the team if we let fans vote. The 33-year-old veteran guard played just 55 minutes over six games while taking home $5.1 million for his role in the Celtics-Nets swap. He was excused in mid-January, but stuck on the roster because the nonguarnateed money in his deal makes him a valuable trade asset this summer. ... MarShon Brooks played only 73 minutes in 10 appearances and Golden State dealt him away after little more than a month after acquiring him. ... Vander Blue got a 10-day contract in late January with the team thin on bodies, but appeared in only three games.
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 Crawford, Lee, Brooks or Blue? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
But this wasn't exactly what either coach had in mind.
Brooks finished 7-of-11 shooting overall with three steals (all in the fourth quarter) and two rebounds over 23 minutes, 14 seconds of floor time. That's nearly a third of the total playing time he saw in Boston (73 minutes in 10 appearances) after spending the first two months of the 2013-14 season in green.
Call it a revenge game if you want, but Brooks said he holds no animosity toward the Celtics.
"You know what, a lot of people think I should be mad at the Boston Celtics, but I guarantee you that there’s no one happier for me than Brad Stevens and Jay Larranaga," said Brooks. "No one is happier for me. They've seen all the work I put in. They've seen all the work I put in -- guarding Jay Larranaga, full-court, off days. I put in a lot of work, so it just paid off."
Stevens tipped his cap to his former player.
"[Brooks] can score and he can get going," said Stevens, who sought out Brooks on the floor after the game to congratulate him. "You let him get in a rhythm with shots at the rim, it could be a long night. Because when he gets going, that’s when he’s really, really good. I coached against [Kent] Bazemore, too, when he was in college, and those guys are good players.
"As much as change sometimes is difficult, it’s also an opportunity, and they both took great advantage of that opportunity today."
The Celtics traded Brooks and Jordan Crawford to Golden State in January as part of a three-team swap that brought back Joel Anthony and draft picks. Brooks played only 15 minutes in seven games for Golden State and the Lakers became his fourth team in less than nine months. Brooks came to Los Angeles with Bazemore in a deadline deal that shipped Steve Blake to the Warriors.
"Initially, I was like, 'Wow, again?' I mean, I was just learning the Golden State offense," Brooks said before Friday's game. "Then, when I had some downtime, I had an opportunity to think about the situation. With them having not too many guys dressing, I have an opportunity to play and [coach Mike] D’Antoni’s system is obviously another thing."
What did the 25-year-old Brooks learn during his time in Boston?
"It was a humbling experience, obviously, me not getting an opportunity on a team that was struggling at the time I was there," said Brooks. "That was kind of humbling. I just continue to work."
Stevens noted how Brooks, who needed work on the defensive end of the court, was stuck behind both Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee on the depth chart early in the season. Both Bradley (currently sidelined by an ankle injury in Boston) and Lee (now in Memphis) are starters in the league.
"MarShon’s a very very very explosive young player," said Stevens. "He’s a young guy. He’s had moments -- he’s been a double-figure scorer in this league. And he would have played for us, but we had a logjam at his spot, of good, solid players. If he’s still here, when we go through all our injuries and the transition in January, he would have played a lot. And probably would have scored a lot. I think the [D'Antoni] system is a great fit. I like MarShon, I think MarShon was an easy guy to coach. I’m hopeful for him that he finds this to be a great fit for him."
Read on for more notes, including how Jeff Green cooled after a fast start; Rondo sitting out Saturday; and Stevens' Red Sox disguise.
LOS ANGELES -- Rapid reaction after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics 101-92 on Friday night at Staples Center:
THE nitty-gritty: MarShon Brooks exacted revenge on his former team by scoring 10 fourth-quarter points as the Lakers rallied from a 13-point deficit over the final 15 minutes. Brooks, playing his first game for Los Angeles, scored 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting in 23 minutes. Kent Bazemore, also acquired from the Golden State Warriors in a swap for Steve Blake, added 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Brandon Bass scored 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting with eight rebounds, while Jared Sullinger had a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds). Jeff Green scored 11 of his team-high 21 points in the first quarter.
Turning point: The Celtics were up 11 entering the final frame, but it was Brooks (honestly) who spearheaded the Lakers' comeback. After scoring the final basket of the third quarter, he registered four field goals in the first 3½ minutes of the fourth as the Lakers surged ahead. It was Bazemore who hit a 3-pointer to put the Lakers up seven with little more than four minutes to go and left Boston scrambling for a timeout. Boston never got closer than five the rest of the way.
Loose balls: The Celtics were outscored 38-18 in the fourth quarter. The Celtics shot 39.2 percent overall (38-of-97), while the Lakers shot 48.2 percent (40-of-83). Boston missed 18 of 22 3-pointers it put up (18.2 percent). A quiet night for Rajon Rondo: six points, 11 assists, six rebounds over 34:16. Joel Anthony was a healthy DNP for Boston.
What it means: The Celtics (19-37) lost their third straight and flip-flopped spots in the league standings with the Lakers (19-36). Boston now owns the NBA's fifth-worst winning percentage (.339). The Celtics will visit the Sacramento Kings, the team with the fourth-worst winning percentage (.333), on Saturday on the second night of a back-to-back. Boston's four-game trip wraps up on Monday in Utah.
Crawford has become expendable with the expected return of Rajon Rondo, perhaps as early as later this week. Crawford was having a career season, averaging 13.7 points and 5.7 assists in 39 games.
The Celtics announced Wednesday that they have assigned Rondo to the Maine Red Claws of the D-League in order to take part in a workout.
"Rajon is progressing terrifically in his rehab and this is the next step," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement. "This is a brief assignment so that Rajon can participate in a workout this afternoon with the Red Claws and he will be called back up to the Celtics upon the conclusion of the workout."
The Celtics will get the seldom-used 6-foot-9 Anthony from Miami, in addition to a pair of draft picks: A future second-rounder and also a protected first-round pick acquired initially from Philadelphia that could become a second-rounder.
(Read full story)
Brooks, who has played only 61 minutes in nine appearances for Boston this season, used a five-game stint in Maine to shake some rust and prep for whenever an opportunity arrives with the Celtics. Brooks averaged 27.4 points, 6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1 block over 35 minutes per game.
The Celtics created some backcourt minutes by trading Courtney Lee to Memphis this week, but newly acquired Jerryd Bayless has filled those minutes initially. The backcourt will get a little more crowded when rehabbing Rajon Rondo returns to game action.
The departure of Courtney Lee opens up some minutes in Boston's backcourt. Those would seem likely to fall to newly acquired Jerryd Bayless, who could split ball-handling duties with Jordan Crawford in a reserve backcourt (once Rajon Rondo returns to game action).
But Brooks, the third-year guard acquired by Boston during the summer blockbuster with the Nets, could see an increased opportunity as well. He's played only 61 minutes in nine games this season, stuck deep on the depth chart behind guys like Lee. The guard spots are still crowded as Rondo nears a return, but Brooks, with a little confidence-booster and reps in the D-League, is more prepared for that opportunity when it comes.
The Red Claws play five more games over the next eight days, all out west, which could give Brooks even more game action, while keeping him close to the Celtics as they navigate the final four games of a five-game trip out west.
Brooks, a third-year guard, has appeared in nine games this season, playing only 61 total minutes. He's averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds over 6.8 minutes per game.
Acquired from Brooklyn as part of the summer blockbuster that sent out Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, Brooks has played sparingly with Boston log-jammed at the shooting guard position. Even with Rajon Rondo rehabbing from ACL surgery and Jordan Crawford playing point guard, Brooks has seen only sporadic playing time with Boston leaning on Phil Pressey and Courtney Lee as the backup backcourt. Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace have eaten up most of the minutes at the swingman position.
The Nets drafted Brooks 25th overall out of Providence during the 2011 NBA draft after a trade with Boston. Brooks averaged 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists over 29.4 minutes per game in his rookie season, but has struggled to stay on the court ever since.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has urged Brooks to remain patient, but with Rondo working toward a return, Boston's backcourt is about to get even more crowded. Brooks will be able to get increased game action, particularly with Maine set to embark on a game-heavy start to the month of January.
Before Tuesday's loss to the Hawks, while talking about Shelvin Mack's development, Stevens noted the potential benefits of the D-League.
"The D-League with the right attitude can [help players develop]," said Stevens. "Because, again, you talk to our guys in Maine about [Mack] and they loved him. When he went there, he didn’t act like that was not his level. He went there and tried to get better and improve. That’s what the great benefit of that is, and you see it being utilized more and more with a lot of guys that are first-round picks or second-round picks and I think that will just continue and, if guys go in with the right mindset and the right attitude about it, it can really jump-start their careers, and it has for Shelvin."
Brooks must take a similar approach. This is a chance to show what he can do without being limited to NBA trash time. Brooks might be able to re-establish some of his confidence in the D-League, all while trying to utilize everything that assistant coach Jay Larranaga has imparted on him during numerous post-practice workouts.
After Boston's off-day workout on Wednesday, Stevens said the trip north can aid Brooks.
"[The Red Claws] play a couple of games in a short amount of time; it’s a good opportunity to do that, and he’s going to get to play a lot, and a lot of minutes,” Stevens told reporters, according to MassLive.com. "Sometimes as you get into this, the opportunities to condition become less and less. So it will be good for him to kind of get that feel back. And he’ll be back soon, I’m sure. It’s just a matter of utilizing that NBA D-League opportunity that we have as well as we can."
Stevens suggested Brooks took a positive outlook to the news.
"He was very good about it and very professional," Stevens said, according to MassLive. "He wants to play. At the end of the day, you can play basketball. It’s part of the path right now and I think that’s not unique to us. You look across the league and a lot of teams sent guys down and back multiple times."
Brooks is averaging 2.2 points while shooting 26.7 percent over 6.8 minutes per game. Even with Boston's guard rotation thinned with Rajon Rondo rehabbing from ACL surgery and Courtney Lee missing the past two games with a knee injury, Brooks has seen only six minutes of floor time over the past seven games. He's been a healthy scratch 13 times this season.
"It’s been challenging," Brooks admitted. "I’ve just got to be a professional and come to work every day and just understand that I’m blessed and that I have the opportunity to play in the NBA. When I get my opportunity, I’m just going to make the most of it and just do what I do."
Brooks was asked if a calmer December schedule, giving the Celtics the ability to practice more, might afford him the chance to better state his case for playing time.
"Absolutely. Just having an opportunity to play, compete, go at guys, try to earn some minutes," Brooks said. "When you have practice a couple days and then you get on the court, everything comes a lot smoother. When I wasn’t playing, if I didn’t play five times in five games, I was out here simulating playing against [assistant coach] Jay Larranaga, but it’s different when you’re going out there and playing and competing against pros."
Asked about Brooks' attitude despite a limited role, Stevens noted, "I think he’s been good. He’s been very positive. He’s had a good way about him the whole time. He’s a guy that can come in and impact your team. He was sitting over there ready the other night. You could see it. And I was going to put him in earlier and then we kind of went on a little run and I said, if it starts going the other way at all, you’re going in. He did a nice job while he was in."
Brooks was asked if he had pondered asking for a trade given his lack of playing time.
"It’s too early for that," Brooks said. "It’s way too early for that. I trust Brad Stevens. He told me I’m going to get my opportunity. So I’m just waiting on my opportunity honestly."
Earlier this week, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said the team needs to evaluate Brooks during the 2013-14 season to determine if he has a future here. While Brooks didn't appear in Wednesday's season opener, first-year coach Brad Stevens reaffirmed Thursday that the shooting guard will get a chance to prove himself.
"I told MarShon [Thursday] ... 'Don’t get down and don’t measure your progress or your confidence based on how much you play right now.' Because his opportunity is right around the corner," said Stevens. "I think he’ll do well when that opportunity comes. He’s been much better the last two weeks of practice, and you’ve seen it in spurts, where he can really score the basketball. And I think there’s things that he can really work on.
"But I told him, if I had to give my evaluation of MarShon, I’d say, ‘Really improving, and easy to coach.’ I think if those two things stay the same, he’s going to be in good shape."
Brooks played only 76 minutes in six preseason appearances. The team option was for $2.2 million, but that was too steep for Boston without first seeing how Brooks meshes in Boston. He was acquired as part of the summer blockbuster deal with the Brooklyn Nets.
Crawford was excused for a death in the family, while Brooks developed a headache in the middle of practice and was advised to take the rest of the day off. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said that the absences should open the door for others, including undrafted rookie point guard Phil Pressey, who did not play in Monday's exhibition opener.
As for Brooks, who played only 2:27 in his Boston debut on Monday, Stevens noted, "MarShon got a headache in the middle of practice. He met with [trainer] Ed [Lacerte], and Ed thought it was best that he go home. I don’t know [the prognosis] long term, but he was here at the start [of practice]."
Stevens said the lineups will be more scripted for Wednesday's game in Providence, but that Pressey would be a big part of the game plan at the point guard spot.
"You'll see a lot more of Phil Pressey, which is good," Stevens said. "I'm really looking forward to that. I think he's done a great job. I knew that prior to last night's game. That's why I didn’t play Phil last night and played Jordan a couple more minutes. So that was the point behind that. We'll still mix and match a little bit, but I thought that we did find some good combinations."
One other bit of injury news: Avery Bradley sported a large wrap over his left hand after practice, but downplayed the protection. He injured the index finger on his left hand in camp and has had it wrapped for most of the preseason and is simply taking all precautions. Bradley topped the team in minutes on Monday night and expects another heavy workload on Wednesday.
"[Bradley] hasn't said a word about it to me," Stevens said. "He hasn't found it to be debilitating, so I think he's playing through whatever pain he's got. I know he had an X-ray and everything was negative last week."
Read on for practice notes, including more on Pressey as he prepares for his first game activity in Boston and Stevens reviews the film from Monday's loss to the Raptors:
The Nets traded the rights to the No. 27 pick (JaJuan Johnson) and a 2014 second-round pick to Boston in exchange for the No. 25 pick (Brooks). Brooks is in Boston Wednesday night and will start for New Jersey as the two teams meet in an Atlantic Division clash.
"We didn't really draft him," said Rivers. "I don’t even know why they go through that charade. The deal was done before the pick. The Nets called us and told us to draft him. I don’t know why they ever do that stuff. I don’t know why."
Rivers couldn't remember where the Celtics had Brooks on their draft board, but spoke highly of his play thus far.
"On film, he’s an aggressive scorer," said Rivers. "WIth guys out, he’s going to be even more so -- and they are probably going to lean on him more to do that. But he’s gifted. He can score the ball. So he’ll be a guy that, obviously, our defense will have to focus on."
Brooks, a Providence College product, admitted before Wednesday's game to being a bit nervous for his first start.
"You know I am -- I'm nervous. I'm very nervous, but I'm well-prepared," he said. "I've been playing for so damn long. This is another game of basketball at the end of the day. Just got to go out there and play hard."
As for going up against the Celtics and any extra motivation going against the team that traded him, Brooks likewise downplayed the situation.
"I want to make a point, more so, that the Nets made the right decision," said Brooks. "I don't care about the Celtics. I was a Celtic for all of five seconds, so, there's no grudge or anything against them. I just want to prove to the Nets that they made the right decision more so than Boston made the wrong decision."
Even entering the offseason this year, Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted his team needed to load up on shooting, pointing to how the Dallas Mavericks were able to topple the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals in part because of how much shooting talent they possessed. Miami's defense is quick to the ball and smothering, but was neutralized in part by Dallas' ability to consistently connect on perimeter jumpers.
So when Providence's MarShon Brooks was still on the board when the Celtics went on the clock at No. 25 in Thursday's NBA Draft, there was a strong groundswell among some observers to pick the Providence College scoring machine. Brooks averaged 24.6 points per game, second highest in the nation behind only BYU's Jimmer Fredette, and some thought he'd be an ideal backup shooting guard with potential to provide that bench spark.
But here's what some are missing: The Celtics maneuvered down and got a player at No. 27 with just as much offensive potential in JaJuan Johnson.
Boston drafted Providence's MarShon Brooks with its original No. 25 pick, but already had a deal in place with New Jersey. The Celtics, evidently not overwhelmed by what was available at that spot, gained a future pick (a 2014 second-round pick) in addition to a big man they coveted.
The Celtics worked out Johnson before the draft and must have liked what they saw from the 6-foot-10 power forward who averaged 20.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game as a senior. Johnson is pegged as a long, athletic big man with explosive leaping ability. He runs the floor well and adds a solid mid-range jumper.
Click HERE for more on Johnson.
What's your take, armchair general managers? Happy with the pick? The Celtics certainly needed size and helped that area with the pick, but passed on not only a volume scorer in Brooks, but Texas' Jordan Hamilton, who had slid down the board.
Brooks can flat out score, averaging a whopping 24.6 points per game last season as a senior at Providence. He added 7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, while shooting 48.3 percent from the field. From ESPN's player evaluation:
Positives: Big-time scorer... Crazy 7-1 wingspan... Thrives at getting to the basket... Solid shooter... Good rebounder for a guard... Good athlete... Quick first step... Very aggressive... Good ball handler
Negative: Played out of position at Providence... Doesn't always get his teammates involved... Needs to improve his 3-point shot
Ford's analysis: Sometimes a player in the draft just has that look. Not just a passing-the-eye-test look, but something bigger. Maybe he just has the perfect combination of size, length, speed, savvy and raw production, like Paul George did last year, despite playing on a less-than-great college team. Other times he has similar movements to an NBA great, teasing team decision-makers with the thought that perhaps he can evolve into his NBA look-alike. No player in this draft is drawing more late-in-coming raves than Marshon Brooks from Providence, in part because he's physically similar to George. But to get this much buzz it takes more than a Paul George comparison, and Brooks can thank none other than Kobe Bryant for his rapid mock-draft ascension.
In the news: After sitting out of a pre-draft workout with the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday due to a sprained ankle he suffered while working out for the New York Knicks last Friday, Brooks was back on the court Tuesday and completed an impressive workout for the Indiana Pacers. He torched another likely first-round candidate in Klay Thompson during a game of 3-on-3, according to ESPN 1070 The Fan, continuing to cement his reputation as one of the most explosive scorers in this year's draft.
Payne's take: Brooks has a skill set the Celtics would be interested in should he somehow fall to the No. 25 spot on June 23. He's an explosive scorer who can get his points in bunches, and after watching the Celtics' offense wither in the fourth quarter on multiple occasions against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, it's clear the team could use another guy who can put the ball in the basket off the bench. On top of being able to score from practically anywhere on the floor, at 6-foot-5, Brooks can create his own shot, and would be a nice piece for Boston as it transitions out of the current Big Three era in the next few seasons. Right now it's simply a question of whether or not Brooks will still be on the board when it's time for the C's to pick -- or whether Boston would be willing to move up to obtain his services. His stock is continuing to rise and he could go as early as No. 9 to the Bobcats or at No. 15 to the Pacers.
Greg Payne is a student intern for ESPNBoston.com
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