Ime Udoka may be sour on how last season ended, but says team’s growth may attract free agents

Ime Udoka got a chance to reflect on a wild season over the past week or so.

The dust finally settled after a disappointing end to a very good season for the Boston Celtics. The team’s head coach Ime Udoka got a chance to reflect on the Celtics’ 2021-22 campaign over the past week or so and was asked about it Friday. While “you’re proud of” the accomplishments and growth of the team, the Celtics coach noted “you have a sour taste in your mouth based on how it finished” — understandable, though he seemed optimistic even so.

Udoka went on to talk about improvements for the team, which he said would likely happen within the team after “having a year under our belt with each other”.

The Celtics coach was asked about free agents and how important it is to attract them. “Watching the growth of our young guys, I think that’s appealing to other players,” he explained, suggesting Boston’s recent success and upward trajectory could be an incentive for such free agents.

With free agency for the 2022-23 season set to start on June 30, we will not have to wait long to put his theory to the test.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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Celtics president Brad Stevens opens up about JD Davison, Boston’s No. 53 pick of the 2022 NBA draft

Boston’s newest guard will need time to develop, but has plenty of upside.

As might be expected with the 53rd pick of the 2022 NBA draft, the Boston Celtics went with a player likely something of a mystery to most Celtics fans, freshman point guard JD Davison out of the University of Alabama. The word on the Latohatchee, Alabama native is that he oozes athleticism and the potential that comes with his lightning-fast downhill attack.

But also that he is something of a disaster on wheels when it comes to decision-making, which is amplified by how raw the young prospect is in terms of skills and a feel for the game. That can change with a team investing time in Davison, which Celtics team president Brad Stevens gave every indication that Boston intends to after the franchise selected the 19-year-old Crimson Tide floor general.

“He’s a guy that we’ve seen all year long,” suggested Stevens. “Very young, very explosive, that’s pretty obvious.”

Interviews: Led by Jabari Smith, 2022 draftees react to joining Rockets

Jabari Smith: “I’m happy to be where I’m wanted. I’m glad they took a chance on me. I’m ready to get in there and show them they made the right decision.”

The Rockets were clearly happy to add Auburn forward Jabari Smith with the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s 2022 NBA draft. For Smith, who was projected by most mock drafts to go at No. 1, there was a bit of shock.

But judging by his reaction interview from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Banchero appeared similarly excited to be headed to Houston.

“I’m happy to be where I’m wanted,” Smith said after Thursday’s stunning turn of events. “I’m glad they took a chance on me. I’m ready to get in there and show them they made the right decision.”

It was the start of a busy night for the Rockets, who also entered with picks at No. 17 (via Brooklyn) and No. 26 (via Dallas) in the first-round order. While we will have full coverage of general manager Rafael Stone’s post-draft press conference later Thursday night, here’s a look at the immediate reaction from players who are soon on their way to Houston.

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Toledo guard Ryan Rollins: ‘I’m a playmaker on both ends of the floor’

Rookie Wire caught up with Rollins to discuss his collegiate career, what he wants to bring to the next level and more.

Toledo guard Ryan Rollins turned in a strong first season with the Rockets two years ago, but it was his sophomore campaign that put the soon-to-be 20-year-old firmly on the NBA radar.

Rollins was named the MAC Freshman of the Year in 2021 after averaging 13.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 30 games. He started every game that season and ranked second on the team in scoring, behind Marreon Jackson.

Then, Rollins elevated his game to the next level.

He averaged 18.9 points, six rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.7 steals in 34 games, and earned a place on the All-MAC first team. His 641 points were the third-most in program history as he became the fourth player to reach at least 1,000 points in two seasons.

Now, Rollins is looking to carry that success into the NBA.

He was among the standouts at the combine last month, measuring in at 6 feet, 3 inches in shoes with a 6-foot-9 wingspan. He was tied for the fastest shuttle run at 3.07 seconds and recorded 11 points, five rebounds and three assists in his lone scrimmage game.

Following that showing, Rollins started to pop up more and more on draft boards. He is now considered a potential first-round pick and is poised to become the first Rocket drafted since Casey Shaw was selected 37th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1998.

Rookie Wire caught up with Rollins on Wednesday to discuss his collegiate career, the pre-draft process, what he wants to bring to the next level and more.

Please note: This interview was minorly edited in its transcript for clarity

‘We’re trying to do everything we can for the Celtics,’ says Boston co-governor Wyc Grousbeck

The Celtics’ ownership seems ready to spend on their team in pursuit of Banner 18.

Now that we know that the players already on the Boston Celtics‘ roster are capable of getting to the NBA Finals, the final stage in their evolution towards returning to contenders has arrived — namely, adding the final, finishing pieces to an already-expensive roster in order not just to make but have a shot at winning the 2023 Finals outright.

Speaking to the media earlier this week, Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens made it clear he’d been given the go-ahead to make whatever moves were needed to that end. That position was recently re-affirmed by team co-governor Wyc Grousbeck.

“The reason that we bought the Celtics in the first place — and I got 20 guys together to do it — so that we could vindicate, to try to take care of this great thing,” explained the Celtics’ co-owner in an interview with WEEI’s “Felger and Mazz” when the issue of how committed financially the team was to make the leap to a true contender.

Rockets GM Rafael Stone vows to be aggressive as 2022 NBA draft nears

In his final pre-draft media availability, Rockets general manager Rafael Stone took questions on Houston’s draft-day options and beyond. Here’s a look at his most noteworthy responses.

With Thursday’s 2022 NBA draft about 48 hours away, Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone met with local media members on Tuesday as part of the team’s business partnership announcement with Memorial Hermann. For Stone, it was his last time to speak publicly prior to being on the clock at No. 3 overall in the first round.

The Rockets are expected to pick whichever top frontcourt player remains between Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, and Duke’s Paolo Banchero. Most mock drafts continue to project Banchero to the Rockets, though there does appear to be some uncertainty.

In Tuesday’s media availability, Stone took questions from reporters on his options at the top of the draft, as well as criteria that Houston may use when selecting later in the first round. He also addressed a recent report regarding an alleged trade inquiry by KJ Martin.

Stone was not allowed to directly discuss the Christian Wood trade to Dallas or the No. 26 pick acquired from that trade, since that deal will not be made official until after that draft choice is made (due to the NBA’s Stepien rule). But other than that, Stone was as transparent as can reasonably be expected for an NBA general manager entering draft day.

Scroll on for updates by reporters on the scene at Toyota Center.

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‘We’ve got the okay to do whatever we need to do,’ says Celtics president Brad Stevens of Boston’s offseason teambuilding

It seems the team is ready to go all-in in pursuit of a title, but that doesn’t mean without regard for fit.

Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens met with the press Tuesday morning to discuss the future plans of the team while touching on what comes after their 2022 NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors last week and to give an update on the state of the team.

The Celtics are in a good position to continue competing for a championship in the immediate future but have a number of issues that were exposed by that Finals loss, ranging from simple inexperience to structural issues in the team’s rotation created by a lack of reliable depth able to play in the postseason.

Stevens began by acknowledging that while at the start of the season the Celtics “didn’t look like a team that would be quite in the mix” he related that Boston “didn’t think we were as far off as maybe others would assume.”

Florida State forward Malik Osborne: ‘There is no limit to what I can do’

Rookie Wire caught up with Osborne to discuss his journey, the pre-draft process, what he is looking to showcase to teams and much more.

Growing up, Malik Osborne played several sports before settling on basketball as his full-time venture. It eventually became his passion, and the former Florida State forward is now on the verge of seeing that hard work and dedication pay off with the NBA draft rapidly approaching.

Osborne, whose dad played football at Iowa State while his mom ran track at Lewis College, initially received no collegiate scholarships out of high school. But a year at Don Bosco Prep in Crown Point, Indiana, helped change that.

He then garnered interest from several programs, including Oregon State, Rice and Seton Hall. Osborne eventually committed to play at Rice and spent one season there before transferring to Florida State. It was there that Osborne developed into a draft prospect.

Osborne averaged six points and 4.8 rebounds over his first two seasons as the Seminoles advanced to the Sweet 16 each year. He had put forth his best season to date this past year as a junior, but an ankle injury cut it short after 17 games. He averaged 10 points and 6.9 rebounds.

Now, Osborne is healthy once again and preparing for his next step.

The 6-foot-9 standout has worked out with several teams during the pre-draft process, including the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic among others. He is looking to become the next Seminole to enter the NBA after a strong run in Tallahassee.

Rookie Wire caught up with Osborne to discuss his basketball journey, his collegiate career, the pre-draft process, what he is looking to showcase to teams and much more.

Please note: This interview was minorly edited in its transcript for clarity

For Celtics’ Aaron Nesmith, this offseason will be a chance to find his shot again

Entering into his third campaign with the team, the Vanderbilt product will need to expand his game if he wants to see the floor.

Boston Celtics second-year wing Aaron Nesmith took some time to find enough playing time to work on his game in the 2021-22 regular season after struggling to find his shot early in the season. His high-energy play and aggressive defense earned him some minutes by the end of the campaign but still couldn’t crack the postseason rotation with his shot absent.

The South Carolina native revealed he plans to work on that intensely this offseason to earn a bigger role with Boston in 2022-23, saying he wants to “become a better overall basketball player and get my shot back to where it needs to be.”

“That’s pretty much the two main things,” he explained. “Get my shot back to where it was last season and before I got here, and just get back to the drawing board.”

“I’m still very confident in my shot,” added Nesmith, who related that the pressure in-game gets to him at times and that he needs to work through that. “I’m a phenomenal shooter, and I know the team knows that.”

Nesmith should get his chance next season to take on a bigger role in the regular season and help save his teammates’ legs for a deep playoff run.

“I definitely could have helped my team if I did shoot the ball the way that I usually do,” related the Vanderbilt product.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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Pete Carroll: Seahawks ‘in good shape’ with Drew Lock and Geno Smith at QB

Head coach Pete Carroll is clearly impressed with the two signal-callers after seeing them get their reps.

The Seattle Seahawks offseason minicamp has concluded and the organization has not made any moves for a quarterback yet. Names like Jimmy Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield have been floated around, but it is safe to assume by now that Seattle will stick with Drew Lock and Geno Smith for 2022.

Head coach Pete Carroll is clearly impressed with the two signal-callers after seeing them get their reps.

“They’ve been really impressive,” Carroll told reporters. “And it’s not been any one sequence here or one day here. They have just been solid throughout. We’ve shared a ton of reps. Geno has gone with the first group throughout, but they’ve had very close to equal reps in situational opportunities throughout. … They’ve done a terrific job so far. They look in control.”

Quarterback is obviously the primary position of concern for the Seahawks entering the 2022 season, but Carroll has repeatedly expressed confidence in both Lock and Smith for at least this year. However, he emphasized that this preseason will be instrumental in deciding who earns the starting job, as expected.

“We’re in good shape at the position and we just have to see what happens,” Carroll said. “The [preseason] games are going to be important, and everything will be important.”

Smith has been a perennial backup throughout his career while Lock has struggled to perform consistently in his three years in the NFL. Neither of them is a clear improvement over the other, so we can expect this to be decided after the preseason.

“It’s going to be a real battle,” Carroll continued. “It’s going to be really an exciting time for our team, for those guys in particular, and for our people watching. I’m pumped about it. I really am.”

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