Mickael Pietrus: Evaluating His Season and Projecting Next Year

Patrick Buscone@pbuscone10Senior Analyst IJune 24, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 07:  Mickael Pietrus #28 of the Boston Celtics reacts against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 7, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

When the Celtics signed Mickael Pietrus on Christmas Day, a lot of people expected the Pietrus of 2009, or at least something similar. That is not what the Celtics got.

At times Pietrus would have flashes of greatness where he would light it up from downtown including an 11-day span in which he scored over ten points in five games. But, as a whole, those games were few and far between. 

For a three-point specialist, he shot a mere 33.5% from deep in the regular season and an even worse 22.2% from three in the postseason. 

Part of his struggles in the playoffs can be attributed to injury—he was fresh off a concussion and had a hurt knee—but, really, his shot just wasn't falling.

If he could have given the Celtics more, then they could be the NBA champions right now. One of the many "what-ifs" of the season. It's no coincidence that in the Celtics' four losses of the Eastern Conference Finals Pietrus scored one, three, two and zero points. 

It's also no coincidence that the Celtics won Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals in which MP scored 13 points and hit two big threes. 

Unfortunately, Pietrus scored in double digits just twice in the postseason—both wins for the Celtics. For the whole playoffs, he averaged just 3.5 points per game on 32.9% shooting from the field and an inexplicable 56.3% from the line.

The Celtics needed more out of their most talented bench player in the playoffs, but Pietrus just couldn't produce on the level he needed to. 

Grade: C+

What he must improve on for next year

First and foremost, Pietrus needs to get healthy. Something he will likely do during the off-season. Hopefully, with an injury-free body, his shooting will return to form again.

When that does happen, he will need to make one minor change to his game. Last season, he was too content to camp out on the three-point line. As a result, he never attacked the basket.

The few times he did, good things usually happened.

He just needs to start doing it more so that he can score more.

Being a three-point specialist is fine, but Pietrus is limiting himself by just shooting threes. Pretty soon, if he keeps staying away from the hoop, he will lose the nickname "Air France".

Expectations for next year

Although Pietrus is an unrestricted free agent, he will likely be back next year, that is, if he doesn't demand too much money. 

With a fully healed knee, he will be a lot more effective next season. His shot will be more reliable and he may be able to finally meet those expectations from day one.

Also, he could have less of a burden on both ends of the floor if Jeff Green comes back. Assuming both Green and Pietrus are brought back, the Celtics will have a lot of lineup flexibility and a lot more talent coming off the bench.  

Check out Brandon Bass' season grade, what he must improve on and his expectations for next year here:http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1233058-brandon-bass-evaluating-his-season-and-projecting-next-year