The New Look Boston Celtics

Yesterday the Boston Celtics released Chris Johnson to bring in a back up point guard they desperately needed in Carlos Arroyo.  Danny Ainge has made a flurry of moves since the trade deadline and with the signing of Arroyo it looks like the roster is set for the rest of the season.  The bench has been totally revamped and will have 22 games to find its chemistry and the right rotations on their quest for banner 18.

The Starting Five

PG- Rajon Rondo

SG- Ray Allen

SF- Paul Pierce

PF- Kevin Garnett

C- Shaquille O’Neal

Nothing has changed from this standpoint with the Celtics.  When Ainge traded Perk he assumed he would have a healthy Shaq going forward in the playoffs.  What most people didn’t realize (including myself) is Perkins had serious health concerns with his knees and shoulder.  He was just as questionable as Shaq would be come May.  For all that was made of Perkins being moved the Celtics were just 4-3 with him in the starting lineup and 27-9 with Shaq in the lineup.

The Big 4 have been great this season. Kevin Garnett is playing with a massive chip on his shoulder and has become the most hated player in the league.  Ray Allen is having his best shooting season of his career and doesn’t seem to age. Pierce has quietly put together another great season and Rondo is fuel that makes the team go.

The Bench

Glen Davis- He is the sixth man on this team.  He is great at defensive rotations and has taken 39 charges this season to show for it.  He was always on the floor at the end of games when Perk was here and that may continue to be the case even with Jeff Green now on the roster.  He will have minutes at the end of games and will be giving Garnett and Shaq rest as well.

Jeff Green- Green had his coming out party Friday night against the Warriors scoring 21 points in 28 minutes.  He is the offense off the bench the Celtics have been sorely lacking this season.  These next 22 games will be important for him to learn the defensive rotations and for him to provide much-needed rest to Pierce and Allen.  Green has a chance to make Celtic fans completely forget about Kendrick Perkins.

Nenad Kristic- Kristic has been a pleasant surprise as what appeared to be a throw in for the Perkins deal.  He reminds me of what Mike Lowell was in the Hanley-Beckett trade for the Red Sox.  Kristic spaces out the floor because of his ability to hit the 15-18 foot jump shot, something Perkins couldn’t provide. While concerns remain about his defense, he will be relied upon for his length, stretching the court, and giving about 15 minutes a game out of the center position.

Delonte West- West has either been suspended or injured all season long.  Fans are still waiting to see if he can provide any kind of production off the bench.  I remember him as a gritty guard with a high basketball IQ who could hit the open jump shot.  He was also a stingy defender. The problem is its been so long since I’ve seen him contribute I am not sure if that is still true.  If healthy, he will be relied upon to give Rondo and Ray Allen rest.

Troy Murphy- Murphy has looked awful in his first two games with the Celtics but that was to be expected since he hadn’t played since January.  Murphy is another big man who could spread the court with his ability to hit the three ball and he was also a rebounding machine in the past.  He will provide depth in the front court for the Celtics.

Carlos Arroyo- Arroyo was signed yesterday to back up Rajon Rondo.  Rondo had been playing 40 plus minutes for the past few weeks.  Nothing is expected of Arroyo other than to give Rondo the chance to catch his breath.  Arroyo is coming over from the rival Heat, is a veteran point guard, and did have some Olympic success a few years back.  Anything he can provide will be looked at as an added bonus.

Jermaine O’ Neal- Much like Delonte, JO hasn’t played much this season.  He has said he will be back for the playoffs.  If he does come back he will provide even more depth at the front court and has the ability to block or alter shots.

13-15

Von Wafer

Sasha Pavlovic

Avery Bradley

If  JO isn’t healthy, I expect Von Wafer to get that 12 spot on the roster come playoff time.  I have been high on Wafer most of the season as he has shown small glimpses of serious talent.  I don’t know what to expect from Sasha other than to give Pierce and Allen rest as the regular season winds down.  It pains me to say it as a Longhorns fan, but Avery Bradley has awful this season, and that’s being polite.  He has shown no signs of developing and I didn’t think he was very good when he was at Texas either.

With 22 games left the Celtics will be trying to lock up home court throughout the playoffs, getting healthy, and build chemistry off the bench.  Their remaining schedule is generally kind to them as they only have five games left against who I’d consider elite teams (Spurs, Heat, Bulls, Knicks twice).  I am confident in the Celtics and just hope they can get healthy and remain healthy.  if they are able to do so, there is no reason why they can’t make a strong push for Banner 18.

 

Follow me on Twitter @ Scottientcf

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