Chat with Chris Forsberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPNBoston.com blogger Chris Forsberg stops by to chat about the Boston Celtics.
Forsberg has been reporting on the Boston sports scene since 1999. With his video camera in tow, Forsberg covered everything from Massachusetts high school sports to Boston's pro sports teams.
Send your questions now and join Forsberg Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chris Forsberg (1:00 PM)
Good afternoon everybody. We'll get started in about five minutes. Until then, hop HERE to read our our freshly posted 3-on-3 about tonight's Celtics-Knicks game.
Chris Forsberg (1:07 PM)
Alright, thanks for being patient. Let's dive in.
With the team Kind of playing better as of late without Rondo. Do you feel the Celtics are feeling a little more inclined to trade him? Seeing that they can have some type of success with out him?
Chris Forsberg (1:09 PM)
No. I understand why people think like this -- just like some wondered if the defense was better when Ray Allen was out -- but just because the team has success for a stretch without a player, doesn't suddenly mean they're expendable. If you could get a larger sample, it would be more obvious how much that player means to the team. As Doc Rivers joked when asked what he'll do once Rondo returns, "We'll probably start him."
Dan (Los Angeles)
Have you taken Big Baby's tweets off the Twitter feed yet? He's a Magic now!
Chris Forsberg (1:10 PM)
I can't personally alter that feed, but I can ask again those that are in charge of it to remove him. I know it's driving some people nuts.
GREG STIEMSMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PUT HIM IN MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chris Forsberg (1:12 PM)
I hope the use of exclamation points is to make the comment ironic. I think Stiemsma is a nice young player who is perfect as a third center of sorts. But he's got a lot of room to grove defensively and that learning curve in this system is why he's unable to maintain consistent court time at the moment. He's a nice player to have at the end of the bench, but you should be clamoring for Chris Wilcox to continue his emergence.
Avel Ramirez (orlando,fl)
do you think doc should start playing Jajuan Johnson and etwaun moore, more in the rotation?
Chris Forsberg (1:16 PM)
Well, E'Twaun's been playing regular minutes throughout this stretch without Rondo & Doolilng, so I actually think his minutes will dip a bit when the team is healthy. Johnson has a bright future, but the C's are stocked -- and healthy -- at the 4 spot, making it difficult to find much more than trash time for him at the moment. It's a tough balance because of the early hole the Celtics have dug themselves. So it's going to be tough for Doc to find consistent minutes for both young players.
Why are the bulls such a favorite over the celtics, man for man across the starting 5 and bench, the celtics are better.
Chris Forsberg (1:18 PM)
You saw the first matchup, right? Bulls should have won that by 30 if they didn't get a bit tight in the second half. That might be Boston's biggest advantage over them -- experience and the fact that they won't be overwhelmed by the moment in a playoff series. Chicago's size -- and obviously talent overall -- makes them a tough matchup for Boston.
Tyler Ewing (Owasso,OK)
Is this game a must win for the Celtics tonight or is every game a must win for them to get a good seed in the playoffs?
Chris Forsberg (1:21 PM)
No, there's plenty of room for error. It's unlikely the Celtics are going to climb into the top spots, so they should just be angling for a middle seed at the moment. As we've seen with games like the first Cleveland matchup, this team is going to lose some frustrating games. The key is simply for them to be playing their best ball in late April/early May. The playoff seeding won't matter in that case.
Do you think the Big 3 will be broken up?
Chris Forsberg (1:23 PM)
No, and I've felt that way since that speculation first emerged last month. I felt like the wheels had to come completely off the bus before that would even become a consideration. Now, the Celtics have won 7 of 9, playing most of those games without Rajon Rondo, and as many as three starters sidelined. No reason to consider a blow up if they show they can be competitive in the postseason.
With the two first round picks in the 2012 Draft, what do you see the Celtics doing with them? Keep them or use them in a trade?
Chris Forsberg (1:25 PM)
I'm a huge believer in -- if able to flip a pick, which is a great unknown -- for more of a known asset, you do it. So if the Celtics can use those picks to help facilitate trades to land proven talent, or even just to move up in in the draft and select a player with a better chance of becoming an impact body, they should do that. Both picks figure to be towards the back end of the first round, so it'll be interesting to see how they are able to maneuver with them.
What are the pieces this team is missing right now to have a real shot at 18 and how can they go about securing those pieces? Ie, trade, fa, buyouts
Chris Forsberg (1:27 PM)
I think they need a legit backup center, someone that might not necessarily start, but can play starter-like minutes since Jermaine O'Neal is probably going to stay in that 20-22 minute range. They'll have to either roll the dice with a buyout or free agent, or get really creative in the trade market, to secure someone who can make an impact. But I think the depth elsewhere is pretty solid if they can stay healthy.
You ever been in a bar fight Chris?
Chris Forsberg (1:28 PM)
Did people really think KG said "ball fight?" What does that even mean. I envision like the McDonald's ball pit as a kid and 35-year-old KG just whipping fastballs at kids. Either way, that interview was awesome. Ray-Ray! Congrats! Boo Boo, go to bed! Oh, I forgot you were conducting an interview...
Do you think the Celtics will resign KG and or Ray Allen? If not what do you think the plan is for the future?
Chris Forsberg (1:30 PM)
If the Celtics find the free-agent pool shallow with talent this summer, there's a very real chance they could explore the idea of bringing back those players at reduced rates and supplemeting them with other talent on short-term deals. It's not the ideal situation, but it's a fallack plan in case the Dwight Howards and Chris Pauls of the world are not available.
Avery Bradley (Boston, MA)
I told you guys I could play!
Chris Forsberg (1:32 PM)
Just have to keep it up when the minutes go down. If Bradley can sustain his productive play when Rondo returns and becomes a true role player on this team with his defense (and offense at the rim), then we all owe Linas Kleiza an apology for his flagrant on Rondo. Some good would have come out of it.
Of all the roster moves that were made, there is one that I cannot understand for the life of me. Why was Keyon Dooling the first choice over Delonte West? Clearly it wasn't a money issue, so what happened there?
Chris Forsberg (1:33 PM)
Honestly, I think it came down to durability, which is largely ironic at this point because Dooling can't get on the floor with recent knee and hip issues, while West has played 22 games (with 18 starts). It happens. The Celtics had interest in Delonte, they simply thought they could get a comparable player with better health history and less baggage.
losing rondo for 8 games was the best thing that happened to this team. AB found himself and gained a lot of confidence, Etwaun found his shot also. Now we have two very capable backups to spell rondo when before the injury they were both awful
Chris Forsberg (1:34 PM)
Again, let's see them remain confident and productive in limited minutes. That's the biggest thing. If they continue to thrive without the luxury of long stints, then this Rondo injury certainly had a silver lining.
JaJuan (Boston, MA)
So uh, have you heard anything about Jermaine O'Neal getting traded? Why? Oh, uh, no reason.
Chris Forsberg (1:37 PM)
Well played, JaJuan... No, people have asked if I see Johnson leapfrogging the likes of Stiemsma for more playing time. I think he's going to have enough trouble bodying up against most 4s, so it's hard for me to see much time for him at the 5. Now, you could always shuffle KG to the 5 and run a combo of Bass and Johnson at the 4, but this team needs pure centers to combat some bigger and physical frontlines (even if they're far and few between in the East). I think we'll see more of Johnson, but it's still going to be at the end of games.
Is Rondo likely to play tonight ?
Chris Forsberg (1:37 PM)
Worked with first-team at shootaround today and he'll be a game-time decision. If he doesn't go tonight, it's still an encouraging sign in his progress.
Did the Celts request all these home games early? We're going to really pay the price in a few weeks.
Chris Forsberg (1:39 PM)
No, I don't think anyone requested any part of this crazy schedule. I think Boston probably liked the fact that it could take advantage of a lot of pre All-Star home games, and maybe they're finally starting to capitalize. But, yes, late February and mid-March is extremely daunting.
rondo (my wrist is good)
i am finally ready to suit up. will i be starting coach
Chris Forsberg (1:40 PM)
I get the feeling you've been lobbying for a while now, but it's up to the training staff to give you the thumbs (errr, wrist) up. Again, today's activity is an encouraging sign you're close, if not on the cusp, of returning.
Realistically, what is Chris Wilcox worth to this team? As of right now he doesn't seem worth the MLE. What is an realistic expectation for him?
Chris Forsberg (1:42 PM)
He's been better. He needs to get in shape. Doc joked about him asking for water breaks in the preseason and how he needed an oxygen tank after one of his best games last month. It's clear he can help this team, but he's a player that thrives off energy and you can't do that if you can't breath. He's getting there. I'm more encouraged than when he labored early in the season. He can be a quality backup big on this team and maybe justify that $3 million price tag.
Semih Erden's Best Friend (Boston)
I just want to thank you for your kind words during the Cleveland series.
Chris Forsberg (1:44 PM)
Most people won't care because he's not here any more, but I can't stress this enough: Semih Erden was so incredibly unselfish for this team last year and deserves far more credit than he gets. Shaq and JO couldn't stay on the floor, so Semih was out there with a messed up shoulder and a bad groin just gutting through. All the while, he can hardly speak the language, he's a bit homesick, and he's just doing everything he can to get better. So impressed by that kid. Kinda stinks to see him wasting away on the end of the Cleveland bench.
Zenyatta of Basketball (Massachusetts)
How hard is it for you to stay positive and more fanlike about the C's, being a media member and all? : )
Chris Forsberg (1:47 PM)
I think I'm a pretty positive guy in general about the teams I cover -- I try not to write negative unless it's clearly warranted. And that's been tough because this team has been exceptional in recent seasons. They deserved a lot of negative ink early in the year, but just as they've turned things around a bit on the floor, there's more positives to write about. As for being a fan, you lose all that as soon as you get this job. You root for story lines and such, but the fan aspect goes out the window. Selfishly, I want to see the Celtics do good because it benefits my livelihood, not because I was born here and grew up watching them.
Bottom line: Can this team win a championship? If not, don't you HAVE to blow it up. The worst thing to be in the NBA is mediocre (no chance to win the whole thing but no lottery pick to get that next star).
Chris Forsberg (1:49 PM)
See, part of me says, no, this team can't win a title, so yes, blow it up and start building a team that can. But then I look around the league and I'm not sure there's a team that I can unequivocally say, "If the celtics are playing their best ball, they still can't beat this team." I think they're in the mix and with the right amount of luck and good fortune, they can make a run. Plus, I just don't see a lot of ways to make this team much better next season (and beyond) by blowing this core up midseason.
Agree or disagree with reasoning, sixers are better than the celtics.
Chris Forsberg (1:50 PM)
Don't know, honestly. Gotta see them against each other. I don't think the 76ers have played a very difficult schedule. That said, the Celtics haven't beaten a lot of good teams. Ask me again after the first meeting.
Semih Erden's Best Friend (Boston)
Can we just take a moment and laud the Celtic's pick up of Pietrus? Every year we pick up bargain basement veterans and every year we're treated the likes of Mikki Moore, or Finley or Dooling. Its such a refreshing surprise when a guy like Pietrus steps up and does what we thought he could do (and seems delighted to be here)
Chris Forsberg (1:52 PM)
I don't think it's possible to properly state how much Pietrus has exceeded even the grandest of expectations. He's been phenomenal. I mean, from the first second he stepped on the court, he's been a huge asset and a phenomenal locker room guy. The Celtics hit the jackpot with him falling to them. Just gotta hope he stays healthy.
Player X (?)
Did you really think you could forget about me!
Chris Forsberg (1:52 PM)
Where you been, man?
So the C's need "I think they need a legit backup center, someone that might not necessarily start" according to you huh Fozzy? I'm your Huckleberry!
Chris Forsberg (1:53 PM)
I hear the Lakers are interested! ::muffles laughter::
Sasha Pavlovic (Middle of the Celtic Bench)
Sorry Marquis, my shooting ability is just 100x better than yours. Have you seen my defense lately? Two blocks on Dwight Howard. Get on my level marquis. Enjoy my old seat at the end of the bench. SP out.
Chris Forsberg (1:56 PM)
Hilarious, especially when you read it with Sasha's accent in mind. It'd be nice if he can maintain his confidence. I hope Marquis sticks in there as well, those two could really push each other.
Tom Brady (Indianapolis)
Everyone hates me now in Buffalo. Can someone ask KG to do my interviews for me from now on?
Chris Forsberg (1:57 PM)
I mean, is anyone really going to sweat being hated in Buffalo? Like, c'mon. "Oh no, they don't like me in Sheboygan! What am I going to do?" Gronk will smooth everything over up there for you, Tom.
What do you think of Bill Simmons's trade idea: JO, 2 picks and one of the youngsters for Varajao? I think DA should pull the trigger - I feel like AV would fit in seamlessly and elevate the C's the contender status. And he's under contract at a very reasonable rate for the next two years. And that would allow the C's to bring back Bass, RA and KG, plus use the midlevel to add a significant piece or two for a run next year as well. I get that they have to rebuild sometime - I just don't think they should give up quite yet. Who knows the next time the C's will be a legit contender?
Chris Forsberg (1:58 PM)
Listen, I'm driving the Anderson Varejao bandwagon. I'm just not sure that's a good enough package (or that Cleveland is necessarily that inclined to move him).
Who do you think we could get before the playoffs that would help us out without breaking up the big 4?
Chris Forsberg (1:59 PM)
I'd say keep an eye on buyouts or guys coming back from overseas, alas, we know how that worked out last year (Troy Murphy, etc.) You might have to hope that what they got is enough, with maybe a slight alteration or two at the back of the bench.
Anyway you see the C's picking up Kaman?
Chris Forsberg (2:00 PM)
Maybe if he got bought out, but even then it'd be a very competitive marketplace.
Dwight Howard (Orlando,FL)
Will I be wearing green at the beginning of next season?
Chris Forsberg (2:00 PM)
Are the Nets wearing green next year?
Which C's get the All Star nod?
Chris Forsberg (2:01 PM)
Pierce deserves it; Ray, too, if you got by his percentages. Rondo is probably the most likely of the bunch. I can see a couple C's landing as reserves, aided by the fact that the East is pretty terrible overall.
Chris Forsberg (2:02 PM)
And let's wrap it up there. Thanks to everyone for hanging out. Enjoy Celtics-Knicks tonight (and that other big Boston-NY game on Sunday).