With plenty of moves this busy offseason, some by addition and some by subtraction, the Boston Celtics roster has been almost completely turned over. Take a look at Avery Bradley’s twitter avatar. Not one of those faces will be returning to the Boston Celtics this upcoming season. Outside of Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Kevin Garnett–officially the Celtics new “big three”–no one on this roster has been there for more than three years.
Below, I’ll break down the new roster for you and we’ll go over how the minutes will likely be allocated. The roster is currently made up of 15 players, which is the maximum that an NBA team can have. However, I don’t think that everyone will earn a final spot on the roster after its all said and done.
Again, the Boston Celtics lost a lot of pieces this summer, but they gained more than they lost in my opinion. Position by position, I’ll explain what each addition brings to the team.
At this position, the Celtics have added plenty of overall depth after losing Ray Allen to the Miami Heat this offseason. They knew that there was a strong possibility that Allen would walk and were proactive about making up for his loss. He had lost his starting position to Avery Bradley during the start of the season, so there wasn’t any question about who would start at the position. The question was who would back Bradley up? The Celtic have plenty of options here.
The first addition I’d like to go over here is Jason Terry. In my eyes, Terry is an upgrade from Ray Allen. He isn’t as good as a three point shooter–no one really is. Allen shot 45% from beyond the arch this past season. Terry shoots significantly less from that area of the floor at 38%, but that’s not a bad clip to replace Allen with. The thing that puts Terry above Allen at this point in their respective careers. I’ve done a post previously on what Terrywill bring to the table in a Celtics jersey. Terry has no problems with coming off of the bench and you are able to run more sets through him because of his ability to play off the ball, as Allen did, but also on the ball. That’s something that Allen lacked as a Boston Celtic really.
Lee has been brought in to bolster the three point shooting of the Celtics. Outside of Ray Allen, there really wasn’t a very consistent threat from beyond the arch suiting a green uniform. Lee shot 40% from that range last season though. And he can be an above average defender at times as well. He worked well defensively in Stan Van Gundy’s system in Orlando a few years ago. The Celtics know about that first hand. Now that he’s on their side, I’m sure they’re more than happy.
Christmas came along as a surprise to most Boston Celtic fans. Hailing out of Temple, Christmas has always been a streaky shooter. He knows how to score points and shoot from beyond the arch–his game fits the mold of a J.R Smith really. If he gets hot he can kill the opposing team on his own. If he gets cold he may shut it down for the whole game. He’ll likely lie somewhere in the middle of that on a consistent basis. He 36% from three last season for his Greek league team in Rethymno last season.
Smith is a 6’3 shooting guard that is capable of handling the ball as well. Similar to Jason Terry, if needed Smith will come off of the bench and be able to back up both guard positions. He has a knack for scoring the ball. With that being his specialty, he’ll need to work on getting his teammates involved in the offense more. With a coach like Doc Rivers I don’t think it will be impossible for him to learn though.
All of these additions to the shooting guard position will surely make up for Ray Allen’s loss and the possible absence of Avery Bradley. There have been reports that Bradley will be out until December. The Celtics have plenty of depth here so it looks like they’ll be alright for now.
The Celtics added plenty of pieces through the draft. Kris Joseph is just one of the pieces that they added though. They were able to steal his tremendous talent in the second round of the NBA draft, which came as a surprise to many. The 6’7, 210 pound small forward out of Syracuse has tremendous talent and raw ability. He shoots the ball very well for his position. At Syracuse last year he shot 34%, which was down from the previous year’s mark of 36%. He must work on gaining consistency in his game, but that will come as he progresses through his career.
The Celtics were able to snag Jared Sullinger out of the NBA draft with the 21st pick overall. This was after he was considered a top 5 pick at the beginning of the season and would’ve been a top five pick had he come out in last season’s draft as well. Team’s put Sullinger on the back-burner because of injuries that he had sustained to his back during his tenure at Ohio State. The Celtics decided to take a chance on him and I think it’ll pan out. He won’t have to play huge minutes initially, but he’s a good enough player to where he could start for some NBA teams at power forward. With Kevin Garnett and newly re-signed Brandon Bass manning the front court Sully can take his time to learn the NBA game at his own pace while also working on improving his back.
Overall, he’s a tremendous rebounder and can also score with his back to the basket. He’s like Dejaun Blair except for with more offensive talent. He can step out and hit face up jumpers so the pick and pop game with Rondo will be awesome with him. I’m sure he’ll find more than his share of time on the floor as a Celtic.
You add these additions to the team while also pairing them with the experienced forwards that are already there in Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox. Kevin Garnett has always been a good role model for rookies also no matter what position. So I’m sure that both prospects will learn how to be a Celtic on and off of the floor rather quickly.
The center position is something that the Celtics really struggled with last season. They found a diamond in the rough in Greg Steimsma, but he recently signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Jermaine O’Neal saw plenty of time at that position last year, but he couldn’t hold up throughout the whole season. That turned out being the best thing for the Celtics because it allowed them to move Kevin Garnett to the center position and that ended up propelling the Celtics into the playoffs and putting them in position to possibly be in the Finals again.
However, they lacked so much depth after KG at center. They weren’t as good defensively without him on the floor. Now, of course with your best low post defender out of the game you’re going to have a drop-off defensively, but there are numbers that indicate that when Garnett was off of the floor there was a tremendous drop-off defensively. That showed during the series with the Miami Heat.
Fab Melo is a 7 footer from out of Syracuse. He’s a great weak-side help defender and excels at protecting the rim. His athleticism gives him plenty of perks defensively as he can cover a lot of ground. One on one he could use some work defensively, but that’s how most young players are. He’ll generally learn to single cover someone in the low-post as he grows as a player. Especially with Kevin Garnett on the team. Melo averaged 2.9 blocks per game at Syracuse and they suffered defensively with him off of the floor. Melo will play the same role in green as a rim protector and a pick and roll finisher.
The Celtics definitely addressed their need of size this summer. They should, once again, be considered one of the biggest teams in the NBA. Their starting line-up doesn’t have a lot of size outside of Kevin Garnett, but once you get into the depth of the team they feature a lot of guys who are 6’10 and over. Jason Collins is another 7 footer at the center position. He’s never really stuck anywhere in the league, but he has a skill that some bigs sorely lack. He can compliment Kevin Garnett as a 4 because of his ability to single cover other bigs in the post similar to the way that Kendrick Perkins can. His height bothers many low post players and that’s something that you can’t get enough of in the NBA.
With all of these additions, minutes will be allocated differently this year in Boston. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will likely take a drop in their minutes per game this season because of their increase in age. With the lack of a back-up point guard Rondo will likely see his minutes increase if Keyon Dooling can’t fill this position for him. Also, there may be some roster cuts before the end of the summer and once Boston gets to training camp. We’ll go over all of these dynamics below.
Its not often that a team carries 15 men on their immediate roster in the NBA. At most there are usually 13 or 14 on a squad. There has to be a minimum of 12, but a lot of NBA rosters don’t give minutes to their guys after the 9th or 10th man. The Boston Celtics will be no different next season. Though they have a talented roster, they’ll need to get used to playing a certain way and going through a certain rotation. Doc Rivers isn’t a guy who usually stretches his bench too far, so keeping 15 men on this immediate roster isn’t likely.
By the end of the summer these are the players that I expect to be left off of the Celtics roster.
- Dionte Christmas
- Jamar Smith
Dionte Christmas has been a feel good story for most Celtic fans this off-season. During the Summer League, he was definitely a fan favorite. However, at the shooting guard position there may not be enough room to keep him around. That doesn’t mean that they’ll take him off of the roster outright. He’s talented enough to make their D-League affiliate team and develop as a player in the Maine Red Claws.
The same thing goes with Jamar Smith. He may be able to make the Red Claws as well, but with the depth at shooting guard that the Celtics have it would make no sense to keep five of them on the roster. Smith is a versatile player, but he’s the less talented option here.
Another player who may not make the team possibly is Kris Joseph. He’s a second round pick, so his contract is not guaranteed. That means there will be room to send him down to the D-League and possibly develop him as a player as well. However, he may stick around just because the Celtics have no one to back Paul Pierce up with. If they send Joseph down, that means that they will be using three guard line-ups at times this season with only one small forward on the Celtics roster. I’m not sure if that’s something that Doc Rivers wants to flirt with at this point in time. But who knows–no one expected KG to finish the season as the Celtic’s center.
With those potential cuts, that leaves the Celtics with a 13 man roster including Kris Joseph. Doc Rivers is a guy who doesn’t generally go with more than 8 or 9 players in a rotation during a game though so some of them will have trouble finding some minutes. Below I will name the starters, with a healthy Avery Bradley, and I will name the first players off the bench. I will also allocate the minutes as the list goes along.
PG- Rajon Rondo MPG: 36
SG- Avery Bradley MPG: 32
SF- Paul Pierce MPG: 30
PF- Brandon Bass MPG: 33
C- Kevin Garnett MPG: 30
6: Jason Terry MPG: 22
7: Courtney Lee: 17
8: Keyon Dooling: 15
9: Chris Wilcox: 13
10: Jared Sullinger: 15
11: Fab Melo: 12
12: Jason Collins: 8
13: Kris Joseph: 10
Now, those are just approximations to what I believe that their averages will be. Somewhere within the range of each number. Some of these guys won’t play a lot, but I think that the minutes will also shift around as the season goes on. Once the players get comfortable with rotating for each other, there will be certain units that sync on the floor more than others. The perfect example would be Avery Bradley taking the starting position over Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett playing the center position. That leaves room for other moves and roster tweaks as the season goes along.
This definitely will not be the last time we go over the Celtics roster here at Hardwood Houdini. They aren’t even done making moves, likely. There could be more shaking up to come so stay tuned.