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.
Because of his 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame, Wanamaker has good size defensively at both guard positions. There will be comparisons made between him and Marcus Smart in part because they both have a similar build, but let’s be clear: Wanamaker is a good defender, but he’s not in the same class defensively as Smart (at least not yet).
Wanamaker is not considered an elite shooter, but he doesn’t suck, either. He shot 36.3 percent from three-point range in Euroleague play which isn’t that far off from what he shot (34.4 percent) during his four years at Pittsburgh. Shooting in the mid-30s from 3-point range would put him behind the likes of Marcus Morris (36.8 percent) and Terry Rozier (38.1 percent), but ahead of Guerschon Yabusele (32.4 percent), Semi Ojeleye (32.0 percent), Daniel Theis (31.0 percent) and Marcus Smart (30.1 percent). Regardless, Wanamaker is good enough to knock down lightly contested threes.
NBCSports Boston — What makes Wanamaker, a 29-year-old rookie, a good fit for Boston?
A lot is happening around the league (see Butler, Jimmy) and here in town, as the opening of training camp is less than a week away and we all eagerly await the returns of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
As our eyes scroll down the roster of a Celtics team with more depth than arguably any Boston squad since the mid 80s, we stop at the name of former Euro League expat, Brad Wanamaker. The Celtics starting five is set. The first four off the bench, most nights, is set as well. After that, Semi Ojeleye has a well-defined role as a defensive specialist and Daniel Theis, if healthy, has one, too, as a lengthy rim-runner. That’s 11 guys. If the Cs are serious about Jamal Crawford, that could be number 12. Somewhere in the 12-13 mix will be Brad Wanamaker, who the Cs felt strongly enough about to give a one-year guaranteed deal, and who himself was convinced enough to leave over three times more money on the table in Europe.
There are a multitude of near-guarantees when it comes to the 18-19 Celtics (a playoff spot, an NBA finalist favorite), but also a bunch of questions. Not as paramount as Jayson Tatum’s development, or Gordon Hayward’s progress back to stardom is the question of Brad Wanamaker.
Let’s say the Celtics are healthier than they were last year — where does that leave Wanamaker? My guess is that on nights where Stevens wants to give guys rest, Wanamaker could be the second or third guy off the bench and log 15-20 minutes. There should also be stretches, however, where Wanamaker strings together DNPs. Maybe one night against the Wizards or the Pacers, teams with a pure 1-2 backcourt in terms of size and speed, Wanamaker gets burn over Ojeleye and Theis as the tenth guy in a 10-11 man rotation. There’s also a scenario where Wanamaker just looks better than either one of the aforementioned second-years, and earns 10-15 minutes on a nightly basis.
On the list of the ten things about which I’m most excited for this season, Brad Wanamaker is not, but circumstance, hard-work, and/or talent could thrust him into a meaningful role this season.
On page 2, Brad knows Gordon and Brad says Gordon is ready
Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen a lot of Gordon Hayward over the years since he began recruiting him at Butler, and he knows how the star forward looks when he’s healthy.
To Stevens, Hayward looks healthy.
“He’s been really diligent all the way through his rehab,” Stevens said at a Shamrock Foundation event on Wednesday. “I watched him go through the steps of working out to one-on-one to two-on-two to three-on-three, and five-on-five in some of the open gyms the guys are having. Like anything, there’s always going to be a period of adjustment. From my eye and anybody else who has watched, he looks like he looked before.”
That doesn’t mean Hayward is fully back. There will be plenty of hurdles, both mental and physical. The physical ones are resolving themselves quickly — he’s moving quickly forward and backward, as well as side-to-side.
The mental ones might be more challenging as the season tips off. After what happened six minutes into the regular season last year, Hayward would be excused if he wasn’t particularly comfortable cutting backdoor or elevating in traffic for a dunk.
But Hayward said last week he has felt comfortable playing pick-up ever since he was cleared, and Stevens said the recovery of Hayward’s confidence is only a matter of time.
What’s the longest, most boring road on which you’ve ever traveled? For me, it’s the stretch of I-70 that seems to go on endlessly across the entire state of Pennsylvania. It smells like cow shit, there are few attractions unless you’re a fan of Flying J truck stops and Sheetz sandwiches (those are actually pretty good). By the time you enter West Virginia you’ve aged at least five years.
Anyways, I feel like we’re about 300 miles down I-70 with Gordon Hayward updates. I’m just ready to watch the dude play again! At that point, the updates will actually mean something. He looks and feels good, and it’s translating into what we, the fans, are seeing. Or, he says he’s still gaining confidence, and we, the fans, see that, too.
The update from Brad is great. I’m glad Hayward looks good. I’m glad they’ve been super cautious about this and held him out what will be nearly a year. I’m just ready to get off of I-70 and arrive at our destination already.
And finally, Butler has eyes on LA
The Clippers have two max contract slots available in July, and are emerging as a front-runner for Toronto’s All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard when he becomes a free agent in July, league sources said.
Butler told Minnesota president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau that he would like to be traded before reporting for Timberwolves media day on Monday and prefers the possibility of the Clippers — as well as the New York Knicks, league sources said. Butler told the Timberwolves that he planned to leave the franchise in free agency next summer, sources said.
The Brooklyn Nets’ ability to sign two max free agents in the summer will keep them in consideration for Butler, but he has prioritized the Clippers and Knicks over them, league sources said.
Rumors are nothing more than… rumors but when they come from Woj they are always taken with a bit more seriousness. This report, if true, would seem to be a best-case outcome for the Celtics and their off-season plans to retain Kyrie Irving. If Butler forces his way to LA now (and they do have some nice pieces for Minnesota to recoup in return), it seems doubtful that Irving would want to head out west with him. A Butler/Leonard pairing would seem far more likely, and that would leave Irving looking to a place like New York or Brooklyn either on his own, or with hopes of luring someone like Kevin Durant out of Oakland.
There will be more rumors and we’re a long way away from the summer, but chalk this up as a bit of good news as the Kyrie-watch begins.