Now that the lockout is over and nuclear winter has been avoided, the Celtics have some serious shopping to do if they plan on being contenders in the shortened 2011-2012 campaign. Bench depth has plagued the C’s over the past couple of years and the expectations are heightened coming into this season. Injuries have and will continue to be an issue this season for the Celtics. Starting center Jermaine O’Neal played in only 24 regular season games this past season and forward Kevin Garnett has not played in more than 71 games as a member of the Celtics.
The Celtics have the luxury of an above average starting five, however, only Avery Bradley, and the recently drafted E’Twaun Moore and Jajaun Johnson, round out the roster beyond the starting unit.
Here is a breakdown of what the club looks like salary wise for the next few years:
The average age of the starting five is 32.6, the average age of the entire team is 28 and that number includes E’Twaun Moore and Jujaun Johnson, both 22 and both drafted this year.
Jeff Green was extended a qualifying offer and remains a restricted free agent for the Celtics. Under the new CBA agreement, opposing GMs will have three, not seven, days to match the offer put out there by Danny Ainge and Co. All indications have Green returning to the Celtics this season. Given that he was the center piece of the Kendrick Perkins trade, he almost has to return at any cost. In 26 games played for the Celtics, Green averaged 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
And now onto the roster breakdown:
The skinny: The Celtics almost have to sign both of their 2011 draft picks. The Celtics have a boatload of money tied up into the starting five and could use the salary cap relief the two young players expect to bring. Sure, they lack polish, but they are both four-year college players that could each carve out a role on this team going forward. The biggest need that jumps off the page is the center slot. With the age and injury issues associated with Jermaine O’Neal, the Celtics need an able bodied backup capable of stepping up and playing big minutes. Up next power forward, Kevin Garnett is also a year older and is not the impact player he once was. Expecting KG to do it all could spell trouble as the season progresses. Big Baby Glenn Davis exceeded in this role and could find himself back in Boston once free agency begins on December 9th. Up next, a shut down defender. The Celtics need someone that can step up and shutdown an opposing teams number one option. Not bringing Tony Allen back into the fold this past season cost the Celtics dearly in the playoffs.
The Celtics need to get younger and this needs to happen fast.