Yesterday, I wrote of the agreement reached between free agent Jason Terry and the Boston Celtics. I may have made an erroneous conclusion though, especially considering what we know about the position of being a sixth man.
Red Auerbach, the late Celtics head coaching legend, is credited with having invented the sixth man role in basketball, the idea of bringing a player off the bench on the same level (or often higher) than the starters to provide a spark off the bench when things get stagnant. I mentioned Jason Terry has done this his entire career.
So why the fundamental disconnect? Why did I think that Danny Ainge was bringing in Terry to start when he never has really done so (I realize he has, but his primary role has been as a sixth man)?
According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics are going to do their best to re-sign Ray Allen, setting up a premier guard rotation in Boston that could give the C’s one of the best backcourts in the league. Having Terry to bring off the bench behind both Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen, would give the Celtics a strong backcourt for 48 minutes, especially since Terry is capable of playing both guard spots. Throw Avery Bradley into the mix and the result is downright scary. Bradley gives the C’s the defense they need, and though it may mean Terry has to man more of the point guard duties, the Celtics couldn’t sit any prettier.
This is all a luxury we have yet to see if will be afforded. They first have to manage to re-sign Allen, who has been courted by the Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies. Allen is nearly 37 years old, and Terry is 34, but Rondo offers youth, as does Avery Bradley, so the Celtics now have a mix of experience and youth.
Such a plan seems to fit their M.O. for this entire non-rebuilding process. The C’s are hoping to retain youth and build for the future while still remaining fiercely competitive with a mix of youngsters on the squad. It’s an approach seldom tried by teams, but it has enabled teams like the San Antonio Spurs to remain highly competitive long past the respective primes of their key players, and the same looks like it may be true of the Celtics. As Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen are put to pasture, the C’s will bring up a core of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, E’Twan Moore, Greg Steimsma, Jared Sullinger, and Fab Melo, to round the team into the next era of ball.