The Boston Celtics have decided to try to rebuild in 2013-14 after trading two of their super stars, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and losing their head coach, Doc Rivers. The Celtics, who went 41-40 last season to finish 12.5 games behind the New York Knicks in the Eastern Division, traded Pierce and Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets and allowed Rivers to leave for the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Celtics will go into the upcoming season with point guard Rajon Rondo as the team leader and under the direction of NBA rookie coach Brad Stevens . The 36-year old Stevens was a surprise selection of GM Danny Ainge to lead the historic Celtics.
Boston’s roster is at their capacity as each of the current players on the roster have guaranteed contracts. The Celtics’ roster includes 10 players under the age of 26 and consists of three point guards, four shooting guards, two small forwards, three power forwards and three centers.
Head coach : Stevens, 36, spent the previous six seasons at Butler and led the Bulldogs to a 166-49 record. Butler won four conference titles, made five Tournament appearances including two national championship games during Stevens’ tenure.
Stevens, who has a six-year contract, will have to work some magic to make the Celtics competitive this upcoming season as Rondo is the team’s only potential all-star.
Rajon Rondo : The 27-year old point guard will be the unquestioned leader of the Celtics this upcoming season. Rondo, who only played in 38 games last season, was having one of his best seasons before suffering a torn ACL that ended his season. Rondo averaged 13.7 points, 11.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds a game in 2012-13. He also had an 18.12 PER last year.
Rondo is a triple-double waiting to happen (five last year) as he is a good scorer, an excellent rebounder and a superb distributor. He shoots the ball well from the floor (48.1 percent for career) but is not much of a threat from beyond the three point line (24.1 percent for career) and doesn’t get to the line enough (2.8 per game for his career). He also is a very good defender.
Rondo will be the Celtics starting point guard when he is healthy.
Jeff Green : The Celtics plan to build around the 6-9 small/power forward, as well as Rondo. Green, 26-years old, picked up his game during the past postseason.
In the Celtics six 2013 postseason games, Green averaged 20.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 43 minutes of action. He also shot 43.5 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from beyond the arc. Green averaged 12.8 points on 46.7 percent shooting and shot 38.5 percent from beyond the arc during the regular season. He had a PER of 15.01.
Green is very athletic and has the ability to score in the post as well as from the perimeter. He will be the Celtics starting small forward.
Jared Sullinger : The 6-9 power forward is a big body who is very strong. Sullinger has very soft hands and is an excellent rebounder. He also has the ability to stretch defenses beyond the three-point line.
Sullinger averaged 6.0 points, on 49.3 percent shooting from the field, and 5.9 rebounds. He missed the final 33 games of last season due to an injury, which is a major issue as he is injury prone.
Kelly Olynyk : The 7-0 rookie center is a skilled big man who has the ability to hit three-point jumpers on a consistent basis. He also has a variety of crafty low post moves but lacks great athleticism and is not strong on the defensive end. Olynyk is also very mobile, got great touch around the rim and runs the floor well.
Olynyk averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots for Gonzaga in 2012-13.
Avery Bradley : The 6-2 third-year point guard is a solid defender and a volume shooter. He averaged 9.2 points on 9.6 shots a game and 2.1 assists along with 2.2 rebounds last season.
Bradley shot 40.2 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from beyond the arc. Bradley can play both the one and two but is most comfortable off the ball. He is also an excellent defender.
Bradley needs to get to line more often (1.0 free throws last season) and cut down on his fouls.
MarShon Brooks : The 6-5 shooting guard is expected to provide some offense off the Celtics bench.
Brooks averaged 5.4 points on 46.3 percent shooting in just 12.5 minutes of action for Brooklyn last season. Brooks had a 13.55 PER last season.
Brooks is a solid athlete who knows how to score the basketball. He is a good shooter though not overly efficient as he doesn’t get to the line a lot.
Brandon Bass : The 6-8, 30-year old power forward is a big body. While his future with the Celts is very uncertain, Bass has the ability to still be a valuable inside presence. He is also a capable rebounder and defender.
Bass averaged 8.7 pointsand 5.2 rebounds in 27.6 minutes of action last season.
Gerald Wallace : The 6-7, 31-year old small forward is coming off his worst season since 03-04. Wallace averaged 7.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 30 minutes of action. Wallace shot 39.7 percent from the floor and had a PER of 11.58.
Wallace picked up his play during postseason as he averaged 12.0 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 46.3 percent from the field.
Wallace is very athletic and a solid defender.
Jordan Crawford : The 6-4 shooting guard, along with Courtney Lee, is at a bit of a crossroads with the Celtics with the addition of Brooks. Crawford, who is 25-years old, is a scorer that takes bad shots. He is a decent passer and okay rebounder.
Crawford averaged 11.6 points, 3.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds last season in 24.4 minutes of action. His PER was 13.82.
Courtney Lee : The 27-year old shooting guard is known for his defense and three-point shooting. However, Lee struggled a little from beyond the arc last year as he shot 37.2 percent from the three point line and was inconsistent on the defensive end. He averaged 7.5 points, 1.8 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 2013-14. Lee also had a 11.71 PER
For his career, Lee averages 9.5 points a game and shoots 38.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Kris Humphries: After producing a career season in 2011-12, the 6-9 power forward struggled getting off the bench for Brooklyn last season. Humphries averaged 5.8 points, on 44.8 percent shooting, and 5.6 rebounds in 18.3 minutes of action a year ago.
Humphries, a strong rebounder and good low-post scorer, should be a valuable commodity off the Celtics this season.
The Celtics will have to make a decision on whether Bradley is part of their future plans as he is a restricted free agent following the season.
Keith Bogans : The 33-year old veteran is a gritty defender who likes to shoot the three-pointer. He averaged 4.2 points and shot 34.3 percent from beyond the arc last season.
Phil Pressey : The 5-11 undrafted rookie point guard out of Missouri could see a lot of playing time with the Celtics if Rondo isn’t healthy at the start of the season.
Pressey is very strong and has outstanding range on his shot plus he possesses strong passing skills. On the downside, Pressey has a habit of turning the ball over a bunch.
Pressey averaged 11.9 points, 7.1 assists and 3.3 rebounds during his junior year at Missouri in 2012-13.
Vitor Faverani : The 6-11 Brazilian rookie is a skilled and athletic offensive player but there are questions about his defensive prowess. He has nice touch around the rim and three-point range. He also is a very good offensive rebounder and excels in pick-n-roll situations, however, he is prone to turnovers.
Faverani averaged 9.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in over 17 minutes of action for Valancia BC of Spain’s Liga ACB.
Donte Greene : The 6-11 power/small forward is a scorer with three-point range. However, he is not a good rebounder and struggles on the defensive end.
Franchise players : Rondo.
Rondo is the only real franchise player but it is unclear that the Celtics will keep him all year as he is the only player that has value. Plus, it will be interesting how Rondo does when he is the “man”.
Keepers : Green and Olynyk.
Green can do a lot of things on the court and proved that he is a elite player during the playoffs last season. Olynyk, the 13th overall pick in the draft, has a lot to prove but has a three-year contract and the Celtics don’t really have any other option at center currently.
Players who need to have big year : Bradley, Sullinger, Brooks and Crawford.
Bradley and Crawford will be restricted free agents after this season, so if they will need big years if they want to be part of the green and white in the future. While Brooks has two years left on his deal, this is a make or break season for him.
Sullinger needs to stay healthy and then the Celts will be a true evaluation of his future with the team and NBA.
Analysis: The Celtics are in rebuilding mode. They have 12 draft picks in the next four years including eight in the first round plus 7-0 center Colton Iverson, a second round draft choice in 2013, over in Turkey.
Boston is set at point guard as long as Rondo is healthy. If he is not ready to go, point guard turns from a strength to a major question mark. Bradley and Lee are capable spot gap point guards but they are better off the ball and Pressey is a rookie who is turnover prone.
The Celtics have the most depth at shooting guard and power forward and there is quality at both positions. Small forward is in fine shape with Green as the starter, though Wallace needs to have a better season than last year to make the position a strength.
Center is a big question mark as they two rookies, Olynyk and Faverani, listed on the depth chart. It is possible Humphries ad Bass will also see time at the five and that should upgrade the position a little.