Fantasy Basketball: 2019 Boston Celtics Preview

The Celtics have enjoyed four straight winning seasons, with the trend likely continuing this season despite losing several key pieces. Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Morris all bolted for greener pastures. These may seem like a devastating losses, but opportunities are now present for young guns Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to step up and take their games to the next level. Gordon Hayward is another year removed from his gruesome injury and should be a bounce back candidate. Oh, and the additions of Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter don’t hurt either. The Celts did some addition by subtraction, and are primed to challenge for the Eastern Conference title yet again.

Team USA Stifles Giannis Antetokounmpo, Beats Greece

Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 13 rebounds, as Team USA defeated Greece 69-53 Saturday in a FIBA World Cup second-round matchup.

Gregg Popovich‘s game plan for slowing down The Greek Freak worked to perfection, as the rest of his squad shot just 25 percent from the field.

Things also grew testy in the game’s dying moments after Antetokounmpo’s brother Thanasis took Harrison Barnes down with an unnecessarily hard foul.

Per The Athletic:

Giannis Antetokounmpo sat the whole fourth quarter. His brother nearly killed Harrison Barnes on a dirty play after the outcome was no longer in doubt.

“Yeah, I said something to Giannis. Well, Giannis said something to me, really,” [Jaylen] Brown said.

“We took exception to that hard foul,” [Marcus] Smart said. “The game was pretty much over, and you had no way of blocking the shot. At that moment, you’ve got to prepare for injuries, and you don’t want nobody to be injured. We just let them know it’s a learning moment for him (Thanasis) at that time. Because if the tables were turned and somebody did that to (Giannis), we’d probably be having a whole different discussion right now.”

Even with Barnes on him to start, Antetokounmpo came out hungry. He bullied his way in for a layup, canned a 3 and then dunked hard over Milwaukee teammate Khris Middleton for his first three baskets. But he grew tired as the game wore on — and probably tired of watching Greece miss shot after shot. Pop used Barnes and Smart and Brown to guard him.

“Over the course of the game, he dwindled a little bit,” Brown said.

Related Brazilian Coach: ‘We Have Several Players Who Can Stop’ Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Boston Celtics Young Core is CRAZY! ☘️ FIBA World Cup Highlights

Four members of the Boston Celtics have been getting reps in prior to the start of the 2019-20 NBA season. Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker are in China for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, where they’ve propelled Team USA to a 3-0 record.

Jaylen Brown put up a 20-piece in a 98-45 rout over Turkey earlier this morning. Walker, the C’s newest member, had 15 points and dropped 8 dimes.

Check out some other highlights from Team USA.

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Fantasy Basketball: Top 150 for 2019

We halfway home. Woo hoo! Take me home, country roads. To the Old Town Road? You want to hear how washed I am? I didn’t know about that song until the young 20-something-girl who takes care of a kid at my son’s school told me about it. Please, blog, may I have some more?

Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell And Marcus Smart Named Captains Of Team USA

Donovan Mitchell of Team USA

Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell and Marcus Smart have been named co-captains of Team USA ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, an Associated Press report states.

The decision was revealed on Thursday morning ahead of the team’s exhibition game against Australia.

Walker and Mitchell, the team’s biggest names after a myriad of NBA stars withdrew from the international competition, will share the responsibility with famously gritty Celtics guard Smart, providing a combination of experience, star power and intangibles that should serve the country well.

Walker, 29, will do his part to guide Team USA through the September tournament at the tail end of his first offseason with a new club. In July, Walker signed a four-year contract with Smart’s Celtics.

Mitchell, the 23-year-old Utah Jazz wing, is two months away from his third NBA season after establishing himself as one of the league’s top stars while Smart, 25, braces for a sixth season with the only franchise he’s ever known.

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Jayson Tatum: ‘I Want to Be One of the Best’

Jayson Tatum admits that he wanted to make a “bigger jump” last season, coming off a breakout rookie campaign.

Tatum, 21, says that he is ultimately aiming to be “one of the best” players in the NBA.

Tatum and teammate Jaylen Brown have impressed incoming Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Kemba Walker during Team USA’s training camp this summer ahead of the FIBA World Cup.

Per NBC Sports Boston:

“I want to be one of the best,” Tatum said after Team USA’s practice Tuesday on the campus of UNLV. “There’s a lot of challenges that come with that. I’m excited.”

Pressed on the topic Tuesday, Tatum admitted he came away wanting more, especially in a season that frustrated many on Boston’s roster.

“Man, it’s hard to pinpoint one thing from last season,” said Tatum. “All my stats were better, I did better, just not the jump that I expected — and the rest of the world expected. Which, I should have known with the team, the dynamics — we had so many guys, so many talented people trying to win a championship and everybody had to sacrifice and step back a little bit. It didn’t work. Last year is behind us. Everybody is kinda tired of talking about last season. We got a new team, new guys, so we’re just trying to move on, get ready for next season.”

Walker has glowed about his new teammates, particularly the combo of Tatum and Brown, and the opportunity to play alongside a talented young duo.

“Those dudes are so talented, it’s unbelievable,” said Walker. “I competed against those guys, what, four times a year? Might catch a few games here or there. End of the day, you don’t see them every day. You know what I mean? For me, to be here and see those guys, and the way they compete and how much passion and love they have for the game, the intensity they have for the game, that’s special to me.”

Related Jayson Tatum: ‘I Know I’m Going to Be an All-Star’

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The Summer 2019 Men’s Basketball World Cup Training Camp roster:

Joe Harris, Jaylen Brown, PJ Tucker, Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Marcus Smart, Harrison Barnes, Thaddeus Young, De’Aaron Fox, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Kyle Kuzma, Myles Turner, Brook Lopez, Bam Adebayo, Mason Plumlee, Jayson Tatum.

12 players will make the roster of the 17! 🔥🇺🇸