clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

High Five with Chris Forsberg of ESPN

Digging deep with Chris Forsberg.

Jared Wickerham

First of all, I wanted to thank Chris for doing the Summer Forecast.  It is always a great way to break up the doldrums of the summer months with fresh topics to discuss. I figured I'd return the favor by digging even deeper and scraping the bottom of the barrel for obscure topics that would only interest true Celtics nerds like us.  So I came up with questions for Chris that are off the beaten path a bit.  Hope you enjoy.

1. Of the new guys who signed training camp invites, who has the best shot at being this year's Chris Babb? (Impresses in camp, spends time with Red Claws, then gets signed by the team later in the season)

Oh sure, start me with an impossible question to answer. Let's say you asked this question a year ago. I would have looked at a depth chart that included Courtney Lee, Jordan Crawford, and MarShon Brooks on the shooting guard depth chart and said there's no way Babb could find a way onto the roster last season. Then all three of those guys got shipped out by January and Gerald Wallace tore his meniscus leaving the team with a need for low-cost emergency depth which paved the way for Babb. I look at the depth chart now and think it's much too crowded at most spots for any of these guys to make noise in camp, but who knows? Maybe the team limits Rajon Rondo's preseason reps and Tim Frazier gets a chance to showcase his playmaking abilities. It's more likely that these guys will have to distinguish themselves in the D-League.

2. Jared Sullinger seems to have been tasked with losing weight and/or getting into better condition for the upcoming season. Do you think the Celtics have an ideal playing weight in mind for him and do you think there is any danger in him losing too much weight given his style of play?

I remember Kevin Garnett saying that Sullinger has "the perfect body for rebounding," and there's been multiple instances where Sullinger has playfully thanked his genetics for his space-creating derriere. I think the Celtics' goal with Sullinger is to simply increase his ability to stay on the floor. He played 27.6 minutes per game last season, but the goal is to get him to where he can play 30+ minutes per game with no drop off in performance. Slimming down a little bit shouldn't hurt him, particularly if he plays more of his natural power forward spot.

3. You have a great ability of using stats effectively to add depth and context to a story. Defense is a challenging thing to measure with stats. Avery Bradley thinks that the Celtics can be a top defense this year. What are some good defensive metrics to keep an eye on as the season develops?

Start with the team's defensive rating, which simply standardizes points allowed by viewing it per 100 possessions. The Celtics actually ranked 14th in defensive rating before the All-Star break last season, allowing 103.2 points per 100 possessions through 54 games. Brad Stevens is hellbent on establishing what he calls a Defensive DNA and I think defense will eventually be his teams' calling card. Boston's perimeter defense should be improved, even if the team still lacks a true rim protector. I'll also be keeping an eye on Synergy's points-per-play metric as it can give you an idea of how a defender is performing individually.

4. Perhaps the most overlooked members of the team are the assistant coaches. What will the Celtics miss about Ron Adams and what are some ways that the remaining coaches work behind the scenes to help the team win basketball games?

I think the Celtics will simply miss Adams' knowledge. He's been around the game for a long time, worked with a lot of great players, and was a fantastic resource for players and Stevens alike (I loved how Stevens called him a great "editor"). Players were eager to work with Adams on shooting drills, especially free throws, because they saw immediate results and heard others around the league rave about their past work with him. I think what casual fans don't see from assistant coaches is how much work they do behind the scenes, particularly in scouting opposing teams and preparing Celtics players for what they'll see in games. That's a thankless task when you consider that the daily on-court work with players is a full-time job itself.

5. My impression of Danny Ainge has always been that he didn't care much for blogs or social media. Now he's got his very own twitter account. Are we just a few steps away from Danny trash tweeting Daryl Morey or starting an online feud with Robert Horry?

Funny story, the Globe's Baxter Holmes and I were in Brooklyn for a preseason game last year and the team was a little late arriving for shootaround so we decided to play the world's longest game of PIG. One of us Tweeted something joking about how awful we were shooting and we saw Ainge in the hallway a few minutes later and he said, "Did I see on Twitter that you guys were playing PIG? Who won?" So he's been lurking for a while. Poor Danny probably needed to make an account to keep up with all the online shenanigans from Shaq/Nate Robinson a few years back. I hope he keeps popping up on social media, whether it's the occasional Tweet or sneaking into YouTube videos to dump water on team owners.

Great stuff Chris, thanks again.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Celtics Blog Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Boston Celtics news from Celtics Blog