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The Sports Daily > Red's Army
Your Morning Dump… Where We Discuss Crowder, the Nets, and the High School Highlight Reel of Brad Stevens

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

Crowder’s relationship with some (not all) Celtics fans is one of the few blemishes on what has been, for the most part, a love affair between him and the city of Boston. He’s brought a blue collar attitude to the franchise that doesn’t go unnoticed, but he’s ruffled some feathers along the way.

He isn’t elite in any particular area, but over the course of an entire game of around a hundred possessions, he’ll make more good plays than mistakes. As fans, it’s easy to get infatuated with that late game possession where Bradley locks up Kyrie Irving one-on-one or Jaylen throws down a tomahawk in a blowout. Crowder doesn’t give you a lot of those moments, but his body of work can’t be measured in a highlight or 140 characters.

Crowder said he “felt disrespected” after the Hayward incident, but that it also “lit a fire” under him. Crowder finished that game with 21 points, making five of six threes and posting a +22 while on the floor in a Celtics win. The disrespect he felt certainly gave him extra juice for that game. We’ve seen this self-motivation from JC before. When the Celtics were in serious trade talks with the Bulls for Butler a year ago, a deal wasn’t reached because of Boston’s consistent desire to keep Crowder. Crowder then received a number of tweets that said how he should have been traded.

CelticsBlog

Here’s a nice article summarizing Jae Crowder’s tenure in Boston. It highlights his strengths and weaknesses, the value he provides to the Celtics, and details the beef he’s had with (some) fans.

Crowder’s a super emotional and intense guy, both on and off the court. Beat reporters have discussed Crowder’s “jekyll and hyde” personality, how there’s a sharp dichotomy in his post-game demeanor in wins versus losses.

If he could go back to that January 3rd game against the Jazz, when he told reporters he felt disrespected, and tweeted that he has no problem leaving Boston, I’m sure he’d handle it differently. He opened quite the can of worms, as the story had legs for over a week, and even got into the racial elements of Boston cheering for Gordon Hayward.

It didn’t help when he favorited several anti-Crowder tweets at the end of June. He continues to be active on twitter, and we can judge for ourselves whether there’s hidden meaning in his twitter activity:

Ultimately, the 2017-2018 Celtics will win between 55 and 60 games, and Crowder will play a major role. He’ll likely keep his starting job – I can’t imagine Brad Stevens relegating him to the bench – and he’ll probably close games with Isaiah, Hayward, Smart, and Horford.

Celtics fans love Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum showed immense promise during summer league. But Crowder, today, is a better player than both of them, and definitely a top-five player on this roster. Once the season begins, and the C’s start winning some games, his twitter beefs will feel like a distant memory.

Page 2: Are the Nets Better Than We Think?

The Nets were far and away the worst team in the NBA last year. Even with no incentive to tank, they had that last spot in the standings on lock down for the majority of the season.

The problem now, however, is that the Eastern Conference has put in a lot of work to get teams with rosters as bad as the Nets. The Hawks have gutted their roster for a rebuild, the Bulls and Pacers lost the franchise guy that was carrying them, and the Knicks continue to be a mess.

Jeremy Lin is confident enough to make a playoff appearance prediction, but there’s a long ways to go before that needs to be taken seriously. The East is bad this year, but the worst roster in the East is not even remotely a playoff threat.

Hardwood Houdini

TL;DR: hahaha, no.

The Nets roster is awful, and the terrible trade from 2013 decimated their future. The deal essentially sent four unprotected first-round picks in exchange for one season of 36-year-old Paul Pierce and 1.5 years of “way-past-his-prime” Kevin Garnett.

It’s funny watching reactions from the time of the trade. Everyone discussed how Brooklyn made a “power move” and the Celtics got bad first-round picks in exchange for two legends.

For the upcoming season, Brooklyn does have a few things working in their favor. They have an excellent head coach in Kenny Atkinson. He runs an innovative offense, and simply lacks the talent to produce wins.

Before last season, Brian Scalabrine thought they might exceed expectations, and cited Coach Atkinson as a major factor. Jeremy Lin only played 36 games but posted solid numbers while healthy. They may have squeezed out more wins had Lin played more.

They traded for future potential all-star D’Angelo Russell, and while players still hate him for the Nick Young/Iggy Azalea fiasco, Russell should benefit from a change of scenery.

After signing a 4 year/$58 million contract, DeMarre Carroll had two dissapointing seasons in Toronto. He’s now reunited with Kenny Atkinson, an assistant coach on the 60-win Hawks team that saw Carroll thrive in the playoffs, ultimately leading to his big payday.

Last week, Brooklyn absorbed the contract of Allen Crabbe (4 years/$74 million). An elite spot-up shooter, Crabbe joins the list of overpaid Nets, but in the short-term, he’ll help improve their 20-win total from last season. Additionally, the Nets hope it’s young players Caris Levert, Isaiah Whitehead, and Rondae-Hollis Jefferson can make leaps.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, they suck. Brooklyn’s best only player over 6’9″ is Timofey Mozgov. They have the least intriguing roster in the league, and the Celtics own their unprotected 2018 pick. Instead of the worst record in the league, they might improve to the 4th or 5th worst record at best.

Despite the Eastern Conference inexplicably getting worse, the Nets will still be bad, and Boston fans should be excited about the upcoming pick, even though we’re in year three of “fans should be excited about the Nets pick.” We’ll have a top selection in a loaded draft that includes sharp-shooter Michael Porter jr., European sensation Luka Doncic, and seven-footers Mo Bamba and DeAndre Ayton. Or, we trade the pick for Anthony Davis, who knows?

And Finally…

These incredible Brad Stevens high school highlights circled the twittersphere this weekend. He was basically the high school version of Reggie Miller!

The Rest of the Links:

NESN: Hayward Bothered by Jazz Handling of Restricted Free-Agency

Clutch Points: Horford on Pitch to Hayward

FanRag Sports: Hayward Unhappy with Jazz in 2014

Hardwood Houdini: Al Horford Changing Boston’s Free Agency Perspective

CelticsBlog: Weekend Wrap-Up: Stevens at Patriots Camp, Hayward Work Out with Semi Ojeleye

CSNNE: Top 10 NBA Offseason Additions

Boston.com: KG’s first Press Conference as a Celtic