Boston Celtics' Preseason Moves That Blew Up in Their Face
Despite their age, the Boston Celtics have still had a respectable year. They've clinched the Atlantic Division title and their "Core Four" (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen) will surely not allow this squad to die easily come playoff time.
What's more is they've also had some pleasant surprises this season, namely the play of young guard Avery Bradley, who's proven to be a lockdown defender as well as a versatile threat on the offensive end.
With that said, this season could be much brighter right now if it weren't for some terrible preseason moves the Celtics made. While these moves might have seemed like small decisions at the time, they now are moves that blew up in their face.
Here are four preseason moves the Celtics surely regret.
Trading MarShon Brooks for JaJuan Johnson
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We'll begin with a draft-night trade.
The Celtics selected guard MarShon Brooks with the 25th overall pick, but his tenure as a Celtic was short-lived. He was soon traded to the New Jersey Nets for JaJuan Johnson (who was taken 27th) and a 2014 second-round pick.
Brooks has had a very promising year for the Nets, averaging 12.3 points per game and showing major flashes of potential.
The skinny big man Johnson, on the other hand, has struggled to sniff any playing time. He's appeared in only 33 games this season and clearly hasn't shown the signs of promise that Brooks has.
While Brooks wouldn't have averaged more than 12 PPG with the Celtics (due to the presence of Pierce and Allen), he could've still contributed eight or so points off the bench. Such contributions would be highly valuable for a Boston team in need of some depth.
Selecting E'Twaun Moore over Isaiah Thomas
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We'll stick with the draft because this decision can't go unnoticed.
In the second round, the Celtics selected E'Twaun Moore (a college teammate of Johnson's at Purdue) with the 55th overall pick.
Moore, similar to Johnson, has contributed only marginally, appearing in just 35 games.
Little did the Celtics know that selecting Moore over 5'9'' point guard Isaiah Thomas would look like a foolish decision one year later.
Thomas, who was the last selection of the draft, has probably been the 2011 draft's greatest surprise. He's averaging 11.6 PPG and four assists per game on the year. (In April, he's tallying 16.2 PPG and 5.2 APG.)
There's no denying the fact that Thomas would look great backing up Rajon Rondo. Moreover, what if he and MarShon Brooks were providing spark off the bench for the Celtics right now?
That's a what if that surely hurts Celtics fans to think about.
The Decision to Stick with Jermaine O'Neal at Center
The Celtics should've known better. Jermaine O'Neal was once a stellar player, but his window closed a couple years ago.
This season verified this. He only appeared in 25 games before needing wrist surgery, which declared him out for the season.
When the Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins last season, they created a void at the center position and it has yet to be filled. Kevin Garnett has filled in at times at the five, and undrafted rookie big man Greg Stiemsma has proved to be more valuable than Johnson.
But it's undeniable that the Celtics lack frontcourt depth and that could come back to bite them in the playoffs. They would've been wise to at least add a veteran presence to stabilize the paint, even if it was just an old scrub like Kurt Thomas.
Signing Sasha Pavlovic
Sasha Pavlovic is just 28 years old, but it doesn't seem like he has much value left in the tank.
The Celtics hoped something was there when they signed him before the season, but this maneuver hasn't generated production.
Pavlovic is averaging just 2.2 PPG and is shooting a dismal 35.8 percent from the field.
It's safe to say the Celtics should've explored other options. They didn't have much money to spend last offseason, but they surely could've found someone of greater value than the 6'7'' Pavlovic.