Summer Analysis: This summer consisted of a lot of trade rumors and a bunch of hoopla about a broken wrist. Other than that, it was back to the improving this team for Brad Stevens and his coaching staff. A couple of salary dumps this offseason saved some money for the Celtics, then after acquiring Tyler Zeller and Marcus Thornton while practically giving up nothing is at least a step in the right direction as far as filling out this Celtics roster.
The move that actually had some significant value was the acquisition to sign Evan Turner. He is a former number two overall pick and still has a lot to prove. He was putting up some great numbers for an awful team in Philly, then he faded away when he got traded to a playoff team while his minutes became inconsistent when he got to Indiana. Its tough to be in the mindset as a basketball player from going to 40 minutes a game to nearly 15-20 minutes a game. Now, Turner has the opportunity to play more based on his performance and has no worries of people taking his minutes from him. The C’s have similar players at his position, but he will need to be more of a leader with Rondo so that Rondo doesn’t feel the need to force the offense down the stretch. Turner is a great athletic guard/forward combo who can extend to the wing on both sides of the ball. His true numbers will be determined by how many minutes he is playing, but certainly a great acquisition nonetheless.
Added: Evan Turner (from IND), Marcus Thornton (from NJN), Tyler Zeller (from CLE)
Lost: Kris Humphries (to WSH), Joel Anthony (to DET)
Starting Depth Chart:
PG: Rondo, Smart, Pressey
Analysis – Rajon Rondo when healthy is one of the best point guards in the game. His passing and court vision trumps his defiences of shooting the basketball. When the right play needs to be made, he is usually in the middle of it. Marcus Smart will get plenty of minutes to split with Avery Bradley and play in the backcourt this season, especially if the season starts off slower than usual. Phil Pressey is a manageable third string PG. He’s small, but quick enough to run the offense in spurts.
SG: Bradley, Thornton, Young
Analysis – Avery Bradley will continue to show progress this year on offense as his defense is the real reason why he will playing 30+ minutes a game this season. He has a real chance of making the All Pro NBA Defensive Team this season. Marcus Thornton will get you exactly what you expected, scoring and no defense. He could be a legitimate sixth man off the bench for the Celtics if he scores consistently. James Young will be a work in progress to see how his game translates to the NBA level.
SF: Green, Turner Wallace
Analysis - Jeff Green and Evan Turner will most likely split minutes this season if Green can’t play with any consistency this season. Green is the major x-factor here as far as how far this Celtic team can go this season. His contract may be hard to move if we decide to sell, so expect Turner to have a real shot of earning into starting minutes this season. Turner has better ball skills on both sides of the basketball. Turner plays better defense than Green and he fights on the glass more often than not. Gerald Wallace, well, you can just expect nothing out of him.
PF: Sullinger, Bass, Powell
Analysis – This is the one position that the Celtics really lack in depth and size. Jared Sullinger is a great player, but having him matchup against bigger PF’s this season will certainly be a problem. You know what Brandon Bass has to offer as far as being a part of the offense and playing defense, just don’t expect any miracles from him. Dwight Powell will ride the bench for now.
C: Olynyk, Zeller, Faverani
Analysis – Kelly Olynyk will get the opportunity to play big minutes for the Celtics. Their lack of depth in the frontcourt will be exposed when Olynyk and Sullinger get in foul trouble, which was one of the biggest problems last season. Tyler Zeller can play some important frontline minutes, but don’t expect anything crazy out of Zeller either. He is a young, lanky, center who needs to be involved in offense to keep the opposing center out on the perimeter and use more energy. His edge will be on the perimeter as he can quickly run the floor and hopefully have a better motor than other backup centers. Lastly, Vitor Faverani won’t be on the roster to start the season.
Half Glass Full Prediction: A potential #7 seed. Obviously, I think the East race is open in the bottom half of the playoffs. Presumably, let’s say the Celtics stay healthy with Rondo. They will win more games than last year with the roster they have now. Without any trades, the Celtics backcourt can potentially matchup with many backcourts in the league. Their frontline questions need to be answered, which will ultimately bounce them out in the first round.
Half Glass Empty Prediction: Cha-Ching. Lottery bound again. Cash in the ping-pong balls and honestly, why not? If the Celtics start 10-22, do you really want them to fight and claw for the rest of the season? I don’t. Play the lottery one more time, there’s no point in fighting for an eighth seed against a Bulls or Cavs squad.
Prediction: 4th in Atlantic Divison (12th in Conference)