Monday, May 18, 2009

Rebuilding the Celtics Bench

A brief digression from the usual economics and leadership postings to eulogize a hard fought season from the Celtics doomed by injuries.

In some ways, I'm glad the Celtics didn't win last night against Orlando.  They gave it their best and everyone respects the effort they made.  Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have played so many games in the last two years that another grinder against the Cavs (even if it might have only been four games) would have been another four games with that will take juice out of their legs for next year.

The bench definitely needs restructuring.  However, I don't know to what extent that can really happen.  The Celtics don't have a first round draft pick.

The starting five are back: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Glen Davis is a restricted free agent and I think they will bring him back with a substantial raise.  I wish he were a better rebounder, but maybe that will come as he continues to improve.   Eddie House is a good reserve to have and he is under contract next season. 

Tony Allen and Brian Scalabrine are problematic because they are under contract next year, paid reasonably well and you're doomed if you have to play them any time after the first round.  They are expiring though, so they could possibly be moved for a more talented reserve.  Allen is useful defensively, but I've given up on him ever learning how to dribble the ball.  The best case scenario here would be Bill Walker or JR Giddens improving significantly in the off-season to become contributors.  I could see that happening with Walker, especially since he should be regaining some more of the explosiveness he lost when he injured his knee, and he already looked pretty athletic when he did play.

Leon Powe is an unrestricted free agent and with his type of ACL injury, he will be lucky to be back by the All-Star break.  I don't see him as a significant contributor for any team next year.  As much as I love him, I don't think the Celtics should bring him back.  They should just let Big Baby soak up the minutes and grab a more certain thing with a less redundant skill set.  Mikki Moore and Stephon Marbury don't look like they will be back.  I think Gabe Pruitt will eventually be gone, although he'll at least come to camp.  In my eyes, he hasn't shown enough.

The needs haven't really changed, the Celtics need a strong defensive center off the bench (although a meaty guy is fine too for dealing with the likes of Dwight Howard and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.  I wish they had signed Chris Andersen (he is a unrestricted again), although I'm not sure how he would have fit in personality wise with the Celtics.  They need a solid veteran point guard who doesn't care if he only plays 12 minutes a game backing up Rondo. I suspect Danny Ainge will give Gabe Pruitt a shot at it first.  

The last and biggest thing is a guy who can come off the bench and score while spelling Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.  These guys can't keep playing so many minutes.  They're dead by the playoffs.  Stephon Marbury was supposed to be this guy, but it's clear he isn't.  I'd rather have a guy who can defend the 2 and 3 who have some offensive skill.  Maybe Rodney Carney, Marquis Daniels or Von Wafer (all unrestricted and possibly in the Celtics price range given the tight economy).  

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