The 2005 Celtics featured the Big 3 of Paul Pierce, Ricky Davis and Wally Szczerbiak (who shouldn’t be allowed to use Twitter). Kendrick Perkins was being paid under $1 million a year. Brian Scalabrine was being paid. A LOT. In the 2006 NBA draft, the Celtics, via trading, received their future all-star point guard Rajon Rondo who was selected as the 21st pick. The ’06 draft produced few game changing players with Rondo as one exception. A lottery pick in the 2014 draft could possibly equate to a franchise player. So how’s this season going to go?
MEET THE COACH
Going 166-49 as the head coach of Butler should probably say enough. The best NBA player to come from Butler is GORDON HAYWARD. Brad Stevens took Butler to back to back NCAA Championship appearances. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say the best thing to come from Butler University’s basketball program is Brad Stevens. He was that good. It’s kind of funny that when Doc leaves, the Celtics replace him with a great, polarizing figure but when the Lakers lose their coach, they choose Mike D’Antoni to try to lead a team of past all-stars to playoff success. At least Boston is trying.
Stevens modus operandi: Statistical Analysis
The 2012 Celtics had a problem with rebounding. You don’t need a stat sheet to see that. Indiana was the best statistical rebounding team in the league last year with the almost 46 rebounds they pulled down per game. One would hope that under Doc Rivers, the Celtics would have pinned their ears back and went full speed to the glass to even out the playing field. If Stevens brings his “Moneyball” coaching to the pros, no longer is Boston going to run back on defense, giving them no chance to get an offensive rebound. In other words, there’s hope!
The biggest returning name is perennial all-star and sunglasses expert, Rajon Rondo. Before getting injured, Rondo averaged almost 14/11/6 with almost two steals per game. In 2012 he broke the NBA record for consecutive game with 11+ assists (28). In 2010, he tied an NBA record with 24 assists to go along with his triple double. In his first five games that year, Rondo set another NBA record with 82 assists in that span. Statistically, Rondo has the chance to go down as one of the best point guards to ever play for Boston if he keeps up this pace. Rondo is sitting at 3,943 career assists while 1,029 will put him 30th all time. Even without Pierce, Garnett and assorted cast, a healthy Rondo could possibly pull off another 500+ assist year.
Jeff Green is the definition of athleticism. The same guy who missed a year of basketball came back from heart surgery to pull off this:
When people complain about Green, their main complaint is that Green is inconsistent. Throughout the regular season there were times were Green didn’t blow by opponents like he did against players like Lebron James and later Carmelo Anthony but during the playoffs against the latter, Green averaged 20.3 points per game. That’s pretty good. That’s more than Paul George and almost 5 points per game higher than Dwayne Wade. He’s a 27 year old that scored 43 points against the Miami Heat the year after he sat out for a heart condition. That means you should keep him at almost all costs.
Who would have thought a mid-first round pick that once had an extended stint in the D-League would be named to the 2013 NBA All-Defensive Second Team. Avery Bradley has made his case to stay on the Celtics roster. His scouting report noted his defensive prowess and spot up shooting which is his exact calling call at the NBA level. After a couple of years of not doing much, Bradley took over for Rondo and locked down defenders, even making Kobe Bryant look goofy. He led the league in points per play allowed (.697) and had the ability to gamble on perimeter like Rondo but had the ability to block shots inside making him a great defensive replacement.
The king of the heat check, Jordan Crawford was sent to the Celtics in a late season trade for the injured Leandro Barbosa. He averaged 9 points per game in an extended bench role allowing him to take over for Barbosa’s scoring spurts that Boston lost when he went down with an ACL tear. Besides his occasional errant shooting sprees, Crawford is a great addition to a rebuilding team.
Courtney Lee was by far one the biggest disappointments of the 2012 season, if not the biggest. He averaged 8 points per game, although his .464 shooting percentage was passable. The explosiveness he displayed in Houston was almost non existent and he settled for jump shots 9 times out of 10. If you look for Youtube clips for Lee last year, the first result is a 13 point game he had. Thirteen points is his big highlight video. That’s a great sign. At least he embarrassed Chris Bosh.
New legal troubles aside, Jared Sullinger was a bright spot in the Celtics 2012 season. He fell in the draft because of back issues (which eventually doomed him) but while he played he was a rebounding like a veteran. While the Celtics offensive rebounding and rebounding game in general was almost non existent, he gave the Celtics some much needed second chance points. His post game was better than projected and he was a great offensive contributor. A healthy Sullinger might be the future difference between a playoff spot a few years from now or a fall into obscurity.
If anyone ever belonged on the once great dynasty, now reality show Los Angeles Lakers, it would be Kris Humphries. Unfortunately David Stern had felt that Dwight Howard had embarrassed them enough and in return for vetoing the Chris Paul trade, he gave Lakers fans a present in allowing Humphries to come to Boston. Humphries will make a ridiculous $12 million this year after averaging a whopping 6 points and 6 rebounds per game. Unbelievable. He can rebound at least.
Back when the Bobcats where actually any fun to watch Gerald Wallace was basically the only reason. He could dunk, he could shoot, he had cool hair. Last year he averaged a mediocre 8 points per game and only seemed to come through at certain times during the season (see the playoff series against the Bulls). His athleticism is barely a step above Paul Pierce’s but his game is still a lot better than most people realize. His contract is a big cap hit but you have to assume his stay in Boston won’t be very long.
The Celtics traded up to draft Kelly Olynyk at 13 in this years draft. Like Sullinger, he had “injury” concerns and drew criticism to Danny Ainge after his selection. During the Summer League, Olynyk was hands down one of the best players on the floor. He averaged 18 PPG, 8 RPG, and a 58% shooting percentage. Olynyk is looking like a prime candidate for the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
Marshon Brooks was the player the Celtics originally drafted in the 2011 NBA Draft but was then traded to the Nets for their pick who ended up being the extremely successful forward, JaJuan Johnson. Brooks might be the best future player in this trade, bring youth and extreme potential. Brooks’ high ceiling is something to keep an eye on the next few years.
(Players excluded: Pressey, Faverani, Bogans, Greene)
Potential draft picks:
The Celtics needs involve every position excluding PG. If the Celtics want to draft at the point, it would have to be one of the top two guards. With Rajon Rondo still putting up numbers, the Celtics don’t need to invest in younger talent at that position.
The options are completely open from Wiggins to Randle to Embiid. The Celtics need youth and talent. Assuming the Celtics fall into the lottery, a top 3 pick would be crucial. Wiggins, Paker and Smart are three players who can immediately upgrade most teams. Depending on whether or not the Celtics bad lottery luck repeats itself, Boston can still land top center Embiid or hometown guard Wayne Selden.
The Celtics open their season October 7th against Toronto.