The Lobster Roll: Issue 1

Fancy-lobster-rollbanner_medium

So the preseason is about to get underway for D-League and we at Celtics Blog are taking this fantastic opportunity to roll out a (hopefully) weekly column on the newly established Maine Red Claws. Welcome to the inaugural edition of "The Lobster Roll".

You might be wondering: "Why are you writing about a D-League team?" Well I am glad you asked, champ. There are two reasons why we care about this now.

Number one, this is the Celtics’ D-League team, so once they get going it is highly probable some of our younger players could be seeing some time there. Right now Bill Walker is the only one officially assigned to the D-League, but JR Giddens, and Lester Hudson are also both eligible to be sent to play for the Red Claws. As the season progresses and the rotation completely shakes out, there is a good chance that all of our youngsters could see some floor time up in Portland.   

The second reason the Red Claws matter is because they are in fact based in Maine now. Prior to this season the Celtics’ D-League team was located in Orem, Utah as a shared affiliate of both the C’s and the Utah Jazz. It wasn’t like there were many loyal CB readers going to home games.

285708eb8682dad8c96439104b51876b_medium

via www.portlandexpositionbuilding.com

Now, the Red Claws are going to play home games right here in New England, playing out of the Portland Exposition Building (above) which is apparently called "The Expo". This presents a unique opportunity for those who cannot afford the substantial cost of going to see a Celtics game, but who still want to see professionals play a beautiful game, and maybe do some scouting of their own of those players Danny Ainge has anointed as the Great Green Hopes.

So what’s the deal with these Red Claws? Well son, lets start at the top.

OWNERSHIP

The Red Claws are, like the Celtics, owned not by a man, but by a group. Their "Wyc" is a man named William J Ryan Jr.  (the Jr. is important, William J Ryan Sr. is also in the ownership group). "WJR-Junior", as his friends call him, is a pretty big guy around Portland. He owns and operates a local speed track, and before that he was a lawyer in the Portland area. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Portland Museum of Art and the Pine Tree Council of the Boy Scouts of America (link).

Their "Danny", or President and General Manager, is a guy named Jon Jennings. Jon has literally been everywhere. The guy was an assistant coach when the original "Big 3" were still players for the C’s. He got his start in basketball as a student assistant under Bob Knight at Indiana. He’s worked not only in the NBA for the Pacers and Celtics but also in the US Senate, Department of Justice, and in the White House. He also got his Masters from Harvard, so in a clichéd phrase, ‘My boy’s wicked smaht.

COACHING

The head coach may not be a former Boston Celtic, but he’s pretty much family (nuh-yuk, nuh-yuk). Austin Ainge, age 27, was hired this summer to man the wheel of the ship called Red Claws. Prior to that, he was a scout and one of his biggest duties was to monitor the development of Celtics players assigned to the D-League, like Bill Walker and JR Giddens.

Before joining the Celtics he was an assistant coach for Southern Utah University under former NBA assistant coach and BYU coach Roger Reid.

The two assistant coaches of the Red Claws both have an awfully high pedigree. One, Randy Livingston, is a former NBA player but among basketball nerds (like yours truly) he’s known as the man most deserving of a call up to ever play in the NBA Developmental League. He was the NBA D-League MVP in 2006-2007 and has previously been an assistant coach for the Idaho Stampede, also in the D-League.

The second assistant coach Mike Procopio. While probably less well known than either Ainge or Livingston, he might have the most formidable resume of the three. Previously he was (I can’t verify if he still is) the Director of Basketball Operations for Attack Athletics in Chicago. The reason that sounds familiar is because that’s the training facility run by Tim Grover, former trainer of Michael Jordan.

Mike (Procopio) has personally worked to help improve the skills of the likes of Dwayne Wade, Paul Pierce, Devin Harris, Mike Finley, and some guy named Kobe Bryant. (link).

MASCOT!

6736_135965442544_81074257544_2437733_7305153_n_medium

Everyone, meet Crusher. Crusher, meet everyone. Pretty ripped for a lobster, huh? He must work out.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

 

Even though they haven’t played a game, expectations are high, starting with management on down

From Austin Ainge:

"This is the fun part," he said Friday. "Coaching the team is what you do this for. We're going to have a good team. We have good players, and right now on paper it looks like we can compete with everybody. It's exciting." 

 

There is another reason why the D-League is great. D-League teams aren’t like NBA teams. Beyond the maximum 4 players allocated to the league, who obviously get playing time from the get go, all players are created equal. Among the normal rank and file there are no multimillion dollar contract, and every game is an opportunity to prove you deserve a 10 contract, and another chance to make it in the NBA. It’s a dogfight, and veterans aren’t much different than rookies, it’s skill that wins out, not zeros.

Ainge again:

"We'll have a very competitive training camp," said General Manager Jon Jennings. "With a brand-new team, we have no preconceived notions of any player. Guys have to earn their spot. The opportunity is there and up to them now."

 

Preseason starts (and ends, there’s just one game) 11/23. The sold out home opener is 12/4.

Tune in next week for the Full On Roster Preview EXTRAVAGANZA! 

Note: Special thanks to CelticsBlog.com user 'FatKidsDad", as he provided us with the picture of the EPIC Lobster Roll for the banner. Tommy Points.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join CelticsBlog

You must be a member of CelticsBlog to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at CelticsBlog. You should read them.

Join CelticsBlog

You must be a member of CelticsBlog to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at CelticsBlog. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker