The700Level

Celtics will keep No. 1 draft pick 'unless someone blows us away'

Celtics will keep No. 1 draft pick 'unless someone blows us away'

If you’re hoping the Sixers will trade up to the first-overall choice in the 2017 NBA draft, don’t hold your breath. It sounds like the Boston Celtics are looking the moon in return.

Getting the No. 1 pick might be a pipe dream anyway, but Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo did say the club would explore all of its options. Technically, that means looking at ways to get the top selection, where Washington guard Markelle Fultz is currently projected to go and the Celtics could be persuaded to swap.

Boston would be willing to take the Sixers’ call, but when you listen to Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck talk about dealing the pick, it’s difficult to get the sense that a trade is likely. In fact, he’ll come right out and say it’s their intention to make the pick “unless someone blows us away with an offer.”

“If you’re going to trade this pick as part of a package for an established star making max, you’ve got to send max money out the door as well,” Grousbeck said on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. “You’ve got to send more guys along, so this guy coming back better be the second coming. What’s more, he’s going to be halfway through his career, whoever he is, and he’s going to be paid right now a ton of money, which restricts you in other ways.

“If you can get a really good guy with this pick, you’ve got him, you can build with him, you can grow with him, you can coach him up, and you get to max money eventually -- five, six years down the road -- but it’s a totally different thing.”

When you start looking at players who might qualify as “the second coming” on the Sixers roster, the list is short -- Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons -- and those guys aren’t going anywhere. Sorry, Jahlil Okafor isn’t getting it done. Even Embiid and Simmons aren’t the kind of established star Grousbeck was thinking about, though they’re the types of talent that would at least warrant a conversation.

Since trading either Embiid or Simmons would be counterproductive, we can probably rule this out as an option for Colangelo to explore.

Eagles preseason stock report, Week 2: Mychal Kendricks up, LeGarrette Blount down

Eagles preseason stock report, Week 2: Mychal Kendricks up, LeGarrette Blount down

Carson Wentz was impressive in the Eagles’ second preseason contest against the Bills on Thursday. While he did not look sharp early in the game, the way he was able to bounce back and finish strong was very encouraging.

Wentz missed two of his first three passes, badly overthrowing the intended receiver on both plays. He scrambled for a short gain on another play where he easily could’ve unloaded the football for a bigger chunk. Not coincidentally, the Eagles failed to record a first down on their opening three drives.

That easily could’ve been it, but Wentz went back out for a fourth series and played better, completing five of his last six attempts for 45 yards. The drive ended with a fumble, but Wentz showed resilience.

Sometimes we forget Wentz is a second-year quarterback. There are still going to be ups and downs this season – stretches of series and perhaps even games where he doesn’t find his rhythm. However, he also showed an ability to let it go and stop pressing here when the game didn’t get off to the start everybody would hope.

While not his best evening from a numbers standpoint, Wentz’s stock is still very much on the rise. Unfortunately, not too many of his teammates on offense could say the same after this effort.

STOCK UP

Mychal Kendricks
Preseason or not, Kendricks was everywhere. The sixth-year linebacker saw extensive playing time, finishing with two tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and one interception. The crazy part is the numbers don’t really do the performance justice. Kendricks was rushing the passer, providing sound coverage and just generally in position to make plays. One good outing may not translate into more snaps come the regular season, but Kendricks managed to rebuild some confidence in his ability. Who knows, it may have been enough to entice a team to make a trade offer the Eagles can’t refuse.

Ronald Darby
This should go without saying, but Darby was impressive in his Eagles debut. In fact, the most disappoint aspect of his night may have been when he dropped a likely pick-six. He of course made up for it later with a 48-yard interception return. Darby’s speed and instincts were on display for both plays. He was patient and in sound position, as opposed to some overly aggressive ballhawks that gamble, and had the athleticism to close on the football and finish the play. If this preview was any indication of what’s to come, Darby could feast behind the Eagles' front four.

Corey Graham
With Ron Brooks nursing a hamstring injury, the Eagles used Malcolm Jenkins at nickel cornerback and brought in Graham to play safety. That could also be a package the Eagles go with depending on the match-up, with the 32-year-old defensive back showing he still has something left. Graham finished with five tackles, at one point coming up from his spot at safety to make a nice stop in the backfield. He hit hard and demonstrated some value on special teams. Signed two weeks ago, it’s clear Graham has already overtaken Terrence Brooks and Jaylen Watkins on the depth chart.

Corey Clement
Clement has been the most productive running back on the team through two preseason games. The undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin rushed eight times for 34 yards and one touchdown versus the Bills, and his 24-yard carry is the Eagles’ longest of the summer. Yet, the area where Clement has been most impressive is in the passing game. He’s shown some ability as a receiver, but more important, he’s been willing and effective in pass protection. Given all the issues in the Eagles' backfield, Clement is going to have a legitimate shot to make the 53-man roster should this continue.

Alshon Jeffery
It was only two receptions for 24 yards, but with that, Jeffery was able to provide a glimpse into why the Eagles have kept him in bubble wrap this summer. His 14-yard slant was especially exciting. While the grab was as easy as it gets in the NFL, Jeffery showed a little explosiveness after the catch. Everybody talks about the highlight-reel catches, but Jeffery is an all-around weapon who can get it done on short and intermediate routes as well. This was a nice preview that should leave people wanting to see more.

STOCK DOWN

LeGarrette Blount
Through two games, Blount has 17 yards rushing. To put that in perspective, he also has 15 yards receiving. In Blount’s defense, the offensive line has not given him much room to run. At the same time, the 30-year-old back doesn’t look like a great fit for the offense. He’s slow to the corner, he’s not really a threat as a receiver out of the backfield, and he’s not great in pass protection, either. Add a drive-killing fumble to Blount’s preseason resume as well. With Clement’s emergence, Blount’s roster spot might be up for grabs, especially if Wendell Smallwood can show anything.

Lane Johnson
Johnson played poorly, with the caveat that he was starting at left tackle rather than the right. Of course, Johnson is the emergency option there, so it’s not as if he gets a pass. There were at least three plays where the fifth-year lineman was beaten badly, resulting in a run getting stuffed in the backfield, a quarterback sack and a holding penalty. He was only in for 18 snaps. It’s not as if this was the first time Johnson played the position, either. Granted, Johnson would no doubt improve if he were on the left full-time, but in a pinch, he’s still a little scary.

Matt McGloin
The Eagles won’t feel the need to carry three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. Most of McGloin’s passes down the field are errant at best, with too many balls being forced into double coverage. One such attempt resulted in an easy interception on Thursday. McGloin simply doesn’t have the arm strength to get away with those mistakes. He doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket, either, a combination that tends to result in a lot of check downs. Fortunately for the Eagles, Nick Foles is healthy and expected to play next week.

CSN's Jim Salisbury suffers unfortunate (but hilarious) pregame injury

CSN's Jim Salisbury suffers unfortunate (but hilarious) pregame injury

The Phillies are having a rough week on the West Coast. They've dropped four straight games to bad teams in the Padres and Giants, but they haven't been quite as unlucky as CSN Phillies insider Jim Salisbury, who last night suffered an unfortunate injury that we can laugh at only because he's OK.

While the Giants were taking infield practice prior to Friday's game at AT&T Park, Salisbury was being interviewed outside the visiting dugout by a San Francisco reporter. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, a Gold Glover last season, uncorked a throw to first base that sailed a bit wide, bounced, and ... hit Jim in the worst of all spots.

It's really a video you need to see for yourself (up above).

Crawford clearly felt enough guilt to send Salisbury a parting gift.

Make sure to ice today, Jim.

Hans Moleman could not be reached for comment.