Wanted: Point Guard for the Boston Celtics
With the season over and the rumor mill flowing, the Boston Celtics point guard options and depth are in flux. Kyrie Irving committed and de-committed while Terry Rozier went scorched earth during his ESPN tour of interviews last week. Who will run the show next season and beyond for the Boston Celtics?
Marcus Smart is still on the roster and technically he is listed as a point guard. If you follow the Celtics, you know that’s not what he’s here for. He is here for energy, playing tenacious defense on all five positions and occasionally connecting on a few three pointers. He is not the one you want pushing the point and running the show.
Brad Stevens played around with Gordon Hayward at the one a little bit this season, same with Jayson Tatum, but that’s also not what those guys are here for. There will be many options out there via the draft, trade or free agency that Danny Ainge will pursue this offseason, lets dive in!
Kemba Walker is the cream of the crop this year, aside from Irving. He went to school at UCONN, where he led the Huskies to the Big East and National Championship. He knows what it’s like to perform on the big stage and in front of a crowd.
Unfortunately, seeing his home has been in Charlotte over the last seven seasons, he hasn’t done it in a while. I’d personally love to see Walker in the green and white and he is definitely a guy who embraces winning and looks to be coachable too.
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Ricky Rubio is a UFA and is still only 28 years old. Rubio seems a lot older because it took him so long to get to the NBA since he started playing in Europe at the age of 14. He has always been a player that teammates enjoy playing with because he’s a pass first point guard.
His assists have gone down a bit since Donovan Mitchell came to town, but could be an interesting player feeding the young Celtic wings. He also reminds me a bit of Jason Kidd in the sense that his shooting has improved every year he has been in the NBA.
Patrick Beverley had a really nice season and is a player that knows how to get under the skin of his opponents. He’s a player that you hate when playing against him but love him when he’s on your team (hello Kevin Garnett).
Beverley really got into Durant’s head in their match-up with Golden State in this season’s playoffs and would be really interesting to see him paired with Smart in the back-court during end of game situations. Not sure what he will command on the open market and most likely will be too much for Boston come July.
Two former Celtic favorites are also UFA’s this summer in Rajon Rondo and Isaiah Thomas. It didn’t appear Rondo had much fun or meshed well with LeBron in Lakerland during that experiment last season. He knows what it means to win and play in Boston and I’m sure he could be an above average contributor for this team.
I think he could also mentor the young Celtic players the way Irving couldn’t or wouldn’t do. He may be at a point in his career where he would love to come back “home” where it seemed he truly loved playing the most.
Thomas is certainly intriguing. At one point he was dubbed the “King of the 4th” and rightfully so. He was always cooking in the fourth quarter and wanted to “Back up the Brinks truck” for his next contract here in Boston after averaging 28.9 points per game.
Thomas played through his sister’s death and a hip issue for Boston and was truly loved and embraced by the city. Would he welcome a comeback to Beantown? Would he be willing to take a backseat in playing time and money? That’s an interesting conversation for him and Danny to have.
Seeing that I went to Providence College and with the great news we received yesterday in Ed Cooley not leaving Friartown for Michigan, two players came to mind. Kris Dunn and Bryce Cotton.
With the Bulls having the seventh pick overall and linked to point guards in this year’s draft (Coby White and Darius Garland) Chicago could be open to moving Dunn. The Celtics have three first round picks and with the Bulls not ready to go anywhere anytime soon, they may be interested in building around Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter and some picks.
Dunn was drafted by Minnesota, dealt to Chicago in the Jimmy Butler trade and battled injuries over his young career. This also happened to him early at PC when he had shoulder issues. Once healthy and playing with a great back-court mate in Bryce Cotton, he went on to win back to back Big East and Defensive Player of the Year honors. I think he would be a great asset for Brad Stevens to use and be able to carve out a contributing role on the Celtics.
A wildcard player who I mentioned above as well is Bryce Cotton. If you’re not familiar with him, he had one of the best Big East duels and won versus Doug McDermott in the 2014 Big East Championship.
He was brought into Spurs camp once he graduated from PC and had a cup of coffee with them, the Jazz and Grizzlies before heading overseas. Pop definitely has an eye for point guards with Tony Parker, Patty Mills and now Derrick White. Neither of them were top point guards picked in their respected drafts.
The Celtics recent back-up point guards have come from overseas with Shane Larkin and currently Brad Wanamaker. Since being in the Australian League, he as won two titles, an MVP, a Finals MVP and a scoring title.
If there’s one thing the Celts need off the bench it’s scoring, and Bryce can provide that. Plus, he is a coachable, a good teammate and hard worker (and yes I’m biased having watched him all four years of college).
It still comes down to what Kyrie Irving decides to do. He could re-sign with the Celtics, walk away (leaving money on the table) or orchestrate a sign and trade. What would the Celtics net with the latter?
Who else will become available over the next few weeks as the season ends and teams start to evaluate their rosters and future? Will Mike Conley become available? If Anthony Davis is traded, would the Pelicans look to move Jrue Holiday? Will Dennis Schroder become available if the Thunder need to free up some cash? It’s going to be a fun six weeks! Let the rumors fly!