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. Follow him at his Celtics blog.
Send your questions now and join Forsberg Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Chris Forsberg (3:01 PM)
Good afternoon. Tipping off a little later than usual this week, so thanks to those that submitted questions early or are dropping in now before your weekend starts. Let's tackle your Celtics questions for a bit.
Any scenario where you see KG not resigning with the C's and heading back to Minnesota?
Chris Forsberg (3:03 PM)
Let's start with a refresher on what KG said about Minny after Wednesday's win over Utah: "As far as that franchise, I have nothing positive to say." So KG might sign elsewhere, but my guess is Minnesota won't be at the top (or middle) of the list.
Any chance we move up in the draft without trading both our first rounds? How?
Chris Forsberg (3:05 PM)
I suppose you could trade a future pick or one of the very few players you'll likely be bringing back (Pierce, Rondo, Bradley, Johnson). But highly unlikely without combining the picks you have to move up.
Tron (Waltham, MA)
Hey Chris, If the Celtics were to make the playoffs when would you rather have them play the Heat or Bulls: in the first or the second round? I think if the C's have a playoff spot locked up with about 3 or 4 games left to go they should just rest the big three and prepare for one final go against the Heat/Bulls with a rested lineup. Also the dreaded back to back playoff game happens in the second round, no?
Chris Forsberg (3:07 PM)
Yup, I've been saying this since the middle of the season. The No. 4 seed does nothing for me. Sure, you get homecourt, but the Pacers are the 5 at the moment and that would be no picnic. Then you still gotta deal with the Bulls in the semifinals. I'd much rather see this team pace itself and give the Heat -- a team it matches up better with than the Bulls -- it's best crack. Why not find out if you're going to be able to make something happen right out of the gates before another injury comes along.
vartan montebello ca [via mobile]
I read about new jerseys interest in Garnett. I believe Boston needs to resign him and Allen next season. Garnett has shown second half of the season the impact he still has and I believe Ray will also.
Chris Forsberg (3:08 PM)
I'm sure KG and Ray will both get plenty of interest on the open market. Depending on the salary they command, it will undoubtedly be in Boston's interest to consider retaining them. At the right price, where you can still add talent around them, it'd an intriguing mix.
Do you think R. Hollins will improve and be of help during the playoffs? I sure as hell hope so ;)
Chris Forsberg (3:10 PM)
I think he'll improve as he gets more time in the system, but I don't think he'll help during the playoffs (maybe in very limited minutes as rotations tighten up). He's here to help the rest of the bigs stay healthy until the postseason arrives. Anything more is gravy.
Chris, last chat you answered my question in regards to playing Sasha some more (thank-you for that), so then Sasha responded by playing some very great ball against the Jazz. His +/- was in the top 3 on the team, couple of rebounds, and knocked down a huge 3 pointer that seemed crucial for the win. Can we expect any more minutes and consistency from him with Pietrus still a ways from return?
Chris Forsberg (3:12 PM)
Marquis Daniels did nothing to suggest he wanted Pietrus' minutes, having a rough go in Charlotte, so if Pavlovic can continue to be steady, he'll get those swingman minutes as they remain available. For all the head-scratching when the Celtics brought back Sasha on a guaranteed deal, you know what you're going to get from him and there's something to be said for that. Very Scal-like in his ability to contribute when called upon.
Keeton McCuin (Dooling.)
Chris do you think that Keyon Dooling can be an actual force on the offensive end and give Rajon some relief when he needs it? Or will the C's have to find some offense somewhere else?
Chris Forsberg (3:15 PM)
The Celtics don't have a heck of a lot of depth at the moment at the guard spot, so having someone who can play a handful of steady minutes is a nice luxury. When Dooling's mid-range and 3-pointer is falling, he's a nice boost for the bench. I just want to see his defense continue to tighten up. He's making strides at both ends now that he's healthy. I still don't expect too much if the other guards are healthy in the postseason, but it'll be good if his confidence is restored by this boost.
Fun fact: Kendrick Perkins has never lost to Miami's "Big Three"
Chris Forsberg (3:16 PM)
3-0 (2-0 with OKC). Stats don't lie.
Hey Chris, do you think the emergence of Avery Bradley maybe decreases the chance of us picking up Austin Rivers if hes at 18? I would think having two SG's for the 2012/2013 season would be too much of a luxury and we have E'twaun as a backup PG, I doubt Avery would wanna sit on the bench as backup PG again. Plus Dooling and Pietrus?Your thoughts? Cuz my brain is hurting...
Chris Forsberg (3:17 PM)
I think you can never have enough talent. So if Austin Rivers is sitting there when the Celtics pick, they should absolutely consider him. That said, I think by draft time his stock will have risen into the Top 10 based on potential and name recognition, even in what's believed to be a deep draft.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but maybe the Celtics should try to trade Ray Allen/ have him as 6th man. His off the dribble scoring has all but gone: instead, guarding him is more a systemic issue than an individual defense one. His clutch shooting is undeniable, but aside from clutch 3PT scoring, I just don't see how he is better than Pietrus at this point in their careers? Would Allen be better off the bench? Or should the C's execute a sign and trade this off season to try get some depth at PF/C?
Chris Forsberg (3:19 PM)
I think all signs point to him as an ideal bench scorer -- something the C's have desperately lacked in recent seasons. That said, Boston is going to have to put together a team this offseason that he believes really has a chance to win it in order to want to come back in a reserve role. Otherwise, why not go sign with Miami or Chicago and chase another title at this stage of his career. I'm guessing money won't be a huge deal with anybody as he'll probably find a reasonable price tag so long as it's an ideal spot for him.
Stephen (New Albany, IN)
Regarding Sunday's game against the Heat...Miami is seeing an entirely different team this Sunday than they played in December. A healthy Paul Pierce, a center in Kevin Garnett, and a newly established Avery Bradley (on both offensive and defensive). Maybe I'm being bias, but I see this Celtics rotation giving this Heat team some major worries, especially if Rondo contributes offensively. What do you think?
Chris Forsberg (3:21 PM)
You make some good points, which is why I'm likewise interested to see how they match up. Heck, if the Celtics don't turn the ball over 20+ times in the first meeting, maybe it's not as lopsided (and even then Boston made a run by switching to zone). If C's value the ball and play like they typically do in a big game, I think they'll be competitive. For the sake of their confidence with a potential 2-7 matchup in the postseason, a regular-season win could go a long way when the playoffs roll around.
Landon (Manchester, MA)
Besides Austin Rivers, who would the Celtics be interested in during the draft?
Chris Forsberg (3:22 PM)
Way too early to project, but I think it's safe to say the team is going to need a little bit of everything this offseason. Size is always a goal, but where they are drafting it will be tough. Like any draft, you're just looking for potential and C's will probably lean heavy on pure talent over positional needs with so many roster spots to fill.
Hi Chris. I know we say this every year, but the Celtics will go as far as Rondo can take them this year -- that's not to say he's our best or most important player (I'd still give that nod to Pierce and KG), but the C's have a HUGE advantage at the PG position against every non-Rose East playoff starting PG (Chalmers, Teague, Collison, Nelson, etc). Whether the passive Rondo or triple double Rondo shows up will decide whether we go multiple rounds or get shutout in the 1st round. Unfortunately, we'll probably get a different Rondo from game to game, which is why we'll push the Heat to 7 games but ultimately lose. Thoughts?
Chris Forsberg (3:24 PM)
Can't argue with anything you said. If the Celtics get engaged Rondo every night, you gotta like their chances against anybody. But I think they need their A games from everybody this time around. They are just not deep enough to be able to endure lulls from the Big Four this year. All the more reason their health is so important in a month's time.
Mark (Spring Hill Florida)
Why is Doc such a knucklehead when it comes to using his bench ? How can a guy have a great game and the get three DNP in a row ? How can he preach keep the minutes down and then not use the bench guys or the rookies ? How do you build confidence, rhytm and chemistry sitting them on the bench ???? Damn DOC COME ON !!
Chris Forsberg (3:27 PM)
This will always be the biggest gripe of fans with Rivers. Alas, I think he's made it pretty clear to his rookies right now that, barring a lopsided game, they are not getting in. At least they know the expectation. Do we all agree with that approach? Probably not, but it worked out pretty well for Avery Bradley. Rivers is set in his rotation ways and believes it gives his team the best chance to win. Hard to argue with the results over the past five years.
Do you think the celtics will trade up in the draft? And will they go after a big or guard with their top pick?
Chris Forsberg (3:28 PM)
My gut says no. You've got two late-round picks and unless you can trade up into the top 5, there's no guarantees. So why not use both picks and hope to hit the jackpot on one. Unless there's a player that really slips, I think they stick with what they've got and take the best available talent regardless of position.
Why doesnt steimsma start? Bass seems a lot better off the bench IMO.. KG's been playing well at the 5, but i mean, steimsma puts in work.And chris, you gotta stop with the points per play crap. If the guy can play....then he can play! That stat just seems irrelevant
Chris Forsberg (3:32 PM)
I was actually surprised when Rivers put Bass into the starting role instead of Wilcox to start the second half because I thought it made more sense to keep Bass coming off the pine. That said, it's worked out well because KG has thrived at the 5. If they had another quality 4, they could tinker that way, but they don't, so you play the hand you've got. With KG flourishing, I just don't think it's wise to put Stiemsma with the first team just to move Garnett back to his more natural 4.
As for points per play, I think it's a far more revealing metric than your basic scoring average. It gives a better representation of how the player ranks by eliminating the per minute requirement. But I only use it to hammer home what the eye sees.
Aaron G. (Spokane, WA)
I can honestly say I've been a big fan of Avery Bradley since he was drafted, especially because he comes from my neck of the woods and has shown great potential. Looking forward into the playoffs and next year, do you think he takes a role as a starter or 6th-7th man?
Chris Forsberg (3:35 PM)
So I think the Celtics really like what the Rondo-Bradley combo does defensively. Alas, they get similar defensive intensity with Rondo-Pietrus and they don't have the issue of being undersized. I think it's certainly something they have to consider in the future, but we probably need to see it a larger sample to know if teams could exploit the size issue regularly. It's simply a nice testament to Bradley's development that we can ponder if he's ready for a starting role in future seasons.
KG (Minneapolis, MN)
Chris, you've got some beautiful hair there. And I'm not old. Bar fight!
Chris Forsberg (3:37 PM)
It's cool, KG. As my wife said upon being told of his "no comment" comment: "Well, he's kinda got a point." I'm in that awkward stage when the hair is long, but not long enough. If a bald guy wants to tell me I look stupid, I've been called worse.
Richard in orange county [via mobile]
I feel that KG is much more suited for center at this point in his career. He is a quick center compared to the rest of the league and a slow power forward. My question is why won't KG just realize that center is a position he can better help the team, is he too proud? I know he hates to be labeled as a 5 but outer best lineup is with him at the 5 and bass at the 4. Thoughts?
Chris Forsberg (3:39 PM)
It's all bravado. But here's the thing: He's been playing that position for 18 games now and thriving, so any time it kinda gnaws at him, I"m sure he realizes he's playing some inspired ball and helping the team win and he forgets about it. We all know KG is set in his ways and the idea of not being a true 4 probably irks him, but the position has changed since he's been in the league anyhow.
Hey Chirs, I'm quite surprised the celtics didn't go after another big, hollins looks like a decent role player, the steamer could be essential if he keeps improving before the playoffs. But with that said, when the celtics made it last to the Finals they had perkins, glen davis, and rasheed. Do you think going into the playoffs, depth is our biggest nightmare?
Chris Forsberg (3:42 PM)
If there was another serviceable big man out there, maybe it would make sense, but Hollins is barely getting floor time and he's at least got NBA experience). I think the team realize it just needs someone to get through the rest of the regular season (15 games to go after tonight) and there's no need to get too crazy with additions. In the postseason, KG will pick up 5 extra minutes per night, Bass can play 40. Barring injuries, you don't need ridiculous depth at that point (and it's not like having a D-Leaguer is going to save your season if health does become an issue).
Steve (New York)
We might end up playing MIAMI 10 times in April potentially. How many times do we win??
Chris Forsberg (3:45 PM)
That's a good point. It could be 10 times in a little over a month (spanning into May with the first round of the playoffs). I think the C's would like to win those regular-season games to build a little confidence in case of a playoff meeting. And I do think it would be a long first-round series if Boston is healthy. Let's see how the C's fare in the regular-season matchups to know if they can truly push Miami in the postseason.
Erik (Durham, NC)
I hope we can talk about potential 15th men all hour!
Chris Forsberg (3:46 PM)
As Doc Rivers likes to say, "Everyone loves the backup quarterback." Until the backup quarterback gets in the game.
Geoff (New York)
I wish the NBA was like Little League where the kid always gets to play on his dads team. Is it realistic to expect Austin Rivers to be on the board when the C's pick assuming both they and Clippers remain in their current spots?
Chris Forsberg (3:47 PM)
As noted earlier, I don't think he'll be available for C's. But I like your idea of kids playing for their Dad's teams. It might be just what Shawn Kemp needs to get a coaching gig.
Where do you believe will KG most likely play next season? What about the Heat?
Chris Forsberg (3:49 PM)
I think Doc Rivers alone gives Boston an excellent chance of retaining his services. But clearly he's going to have no shortage of interest if he doesn't come back. Obviously, being a west coast resident, the Los Angeles teams will come up, but I think he'll be considered by any team with a good chance to win it all.
The Celts seem to be playing some inspired basketball since the passing of the trade deadline. Okay so I know that the finals are pretty much out of the question, but does this Celtics team have one last playoff run in them? I'm thinking Conference Finals. Would a run like this entice more free agents to play in Boston?
Chris Forsberg (3:50 PM)
Doc's been channeling his inner KG and busting out the "Anything is possible" line recently. There's enough playoff experience here to aid a run. Just comes down to health and whether they can truly compete with the new guard of the East (Chicago, Miami).
Would Doc ever consider Allen coming off of the bench?
Chris Forsberg (3:51 PM)
In future seasons? Of course. This year? I doubt it. Not enough time to mess with what's brought you so much success over the past five years. That said, if this ankle injury becomes a headache, you have to consider it for stability with the first unit. I don't think that happens.
Any idea when Pietrus will be back?
Chris Forsberg (3:53 PM)
Ainge said he's still having concussion syndromes, so until those pass he can't start the baseline testing to get cleared to return to action. C's have a potential practice date early next week after the Miami game. I think that might be an ideal time to get him working towards a return if he's able. Honestly, if you can get him back with 5-10 games to go and allow him to shake the rust, then he's ready for the postseason. No reason to rush him.
Brent (North Carolina)
Do you think Celtics will win the division and land that 4th spot?
Chris Forsberg (3:53 PM)
No, the schedule is too daunting. C's have toughest remaining slate in the league; Philly has the third easiest and the tie-breaker in hand. C's will take it if they can get it, but I don't think they can get it.
I coach a player in a different sport who reminds me a lot of what I've heard about Rondo, so could use some insight. Is Doc real up front and honest with Rondo, or does he cushion criticism? How does Doc get through to him?
Chris Forsberg (3:55 PM)
All indications are Doc is brutally honest with him and I'd go so far as to say that some of Rondo's best efforts have come after Doc has highlighted his faults. Every player responds differently to criticism, but -- on the floor -- I think it brings the best out of the likes of Rondo and KG.
Ben (Pullman, Washington)
Is it a coincidence when I go on a winning streak in my Celtics season in 2k12 that the actual Celtics play well at the same time?
Chris Forsberg (3:56 PM)
Now we know who to blame if the C's stumble to the finish line, Ben.
When will the C's add another body to take JO's place?
Chris Forsberg (3:57 PM)
Doc said he didn't anticipate adding another player. If they have interest in a young D-League-type or if they need emergency depth elsewhere on the roster, I could see them making the move now that JO has gone under the knife.
Hey Chris, I don't want to beat a dead horse but I just do not understand why the rookies arent seeing the floor more. I can understand them not being ready but with no time for practice its there only real opportunity to develop. Is 5 mins for JJ too much to ask for?
Chris Forsberg (3:59 PM)
Again, I'm not saying I agree with the approach, but I think Rivers has set an expectation with them for his first year. They got time early on when the C's needed them and could afford to drop games. Now, the rotation has tightened and they'll probably have to wait until next year to get a chance. All young players can benefit from simply being around the game their first year. I think some court time could aid their development as well, but since every Celtics game is close, it's hard for Rivers to sacrifice a potential win to get them floor time.
I know it is being stated as official but is JO's season really officially over? He had arthriscopic surgery on his non dominant wrist. He should be able to run without an issue. Hes still a big body. The playoffs are still some time away. If the Celtics made it past the first round, is it really guarenteed that he would be unable to come back? What is the recovery time supposed to be?
Chris Forsberg (4:01 PM)
No, the team gave him a month after the aggravation in Dallas and I think this is a reflection that there was just no way to get him back on the floor. A center with a surgically repaired wrist, a chronic knee injury, and no game action for two months is hardly an ideal situation in the postseason.
Derek (Saugus, MA)
Where do you think Doc will draw the line with health vs. wins? I know he'll want to rest his players in a couple/few weeks before playoffs... but if that 4 spot is in reach...you think he'll go for it?
Chris Forsberg (4:03 PM)
Not at the risk of injury. If KG is sucking wind, he's not going to play him 40 minutes over the final few games in order to get the 4. C's will settle at that point. Listen, I think we'll know in the next 6 games or so how this is likely to play out. If Philly starts pulling away, then C's can downshift a bit and look for more rest. Again, I just don't see that No. 4 seed as such an improvement that the team needs to push extremely hard for it.
is ray allen suiting up tonight in the starting lineup
Chris Forsberg (4:04 PM)
He went through shootaround, assuming no pain afterwards, he'll be in the starting lineup. I'd be surprised if he didn't play.
Michael (Fairfield, CT)
Chris, What's changed from last year, why should I believe we can beat the Heat this year?
Chris Forsberg (4:05 PM)
Rondo's elbow isn't dislocated. Shaq isn't hobbling around being a daily question mark. As long as the Celtics are healthy, they have a shot.
Mike (Fairfield, CT)
Mark it down Chris. As I told my buddy (a Knicks fan) last night, if the Celtics face the Heat or Bulls in the first or 2nd round. It's going seven. Not saying they'll win, but this team has proved time and time again that they can play with anyone. It's gonna be a bar fight! The secret would be to get Ray Lewis to do a pre-game motivational speech every night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07fhOVQ9wEA
Chris Forsberg (4:06 PM)
Careful, got a lot of UMass friends that are still sore about that Ray Lewis-fueled NIT loss.
vanilla ice (minny)
please answer my question
Chris Forsberg (4:07 PM)
Missed it in the pack. If you were asking what song to play tonight during halftime, I really don't think I need to tell you. Word to your mother.
Player X (???)
KG's a punk, and old! Mwahahaha
Chris Forsberg (4:08 PM)
Well he doesn't like your hair, Player X. Boom roasted.
Actually Chris, it was "Anythang is posssaaaabullllllllllllllllllll"
Chris Forsberg (4:09 PM)
True. I think it should be required you have to scream it if your'e going to use KG's catchphrase.
Paul pavlis (Sherman oaks, CA)
What's up with Rondo's headband these days? Some games, he has it on, while in others, he doesn't. What gives??
Chris Forsberg (4:09 PM)
Loves to keep you guessing.
Jeremy H (Minneapolis)
As a KG fan I 100% completely agree with his assesment of the Timberwolves franchise. A lot of Timberwolves fans are uspet with the comments but he he hit the nail right on the head...Looking forward to seeing him tonight!
Chris Forsberg (4:11 PM)
Interesting, I'm eager to see the reaction tonight. Would be odd if they booed him, but I"m sure many are not happy with what he said. Either way, 20 years from now he'll be remembered as a hero there regardless if this causes a bump in the relationship.
Chris Forsberg (4:11 PM)
Let's end it there. Thanks to everyone for hanging out. Thanks for filling up the question queue. Let's do it again next week.