Straight and simple: Defense and experience, with a hint of luck in between, allowed the Celtics to make the improbable recent postseason run. But a glaring lack of offense, speed, and rebounding ended up being too much of a burden for the Celtics to overcome. With the draft over, Danny Ainge can fully rectify this bleeding by tackling the next monster, free agency.
To better understand just how deficient the Celtics are in these categories, take a look at these statistics of the 2012-2013 season from ESPN.
|Points Per Game||Rebounds Per Game|
|26th Overall||30th Overall|
Keep in mind, there are only 30 teams in the association! With more than half of the team coming off the books, this is the perfect time to address these dire shortcomings that have plagued the Celtics for years. Ray Allen looks all but ready to bolt, and Rajon Rondo can't be the only speedster on the team.
The Celtics gameplan is predicated on team defense, which was able to transform paltry individual defenders like Allen and Pierce into critical components of a defensive juggernaut. With that said, Garnett deserves an ovation for preaching defense and changing the defensive genetics of this team.
Garnett is working on a contract to return to Boston for a couple more years, so here are some acquisitions that will surely help the Celtics recover from their most fatal shortcomings.
It has been publicly made well-aware that Danny Ainge is infatuated with O.J. Mayo. Ainge tried to acquire him at the end of the trading deadline, and the hunt has resumed in the current offseason, as A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com reports.
However, I present to you Lou Williams in comparison. First off, I'll let the numbers from ESPN do the talking.
|Player Name||Age||PPG||FG %||3P %||FT %||APG||RPG||PER|
|O.J. Mayo||24||12.6||.408||.375|| |
Statistical comparison suggests that both of these guys aren't the greatest of shooters. They both showcase meager assisting and rebounding, but Lou Williams does have a higher player efficiency rating. But this is where their similarities end.
Lou Williams is a cerebral player who can create his own shot at will. He was heralded as the go-to guy for the Sixers because of this very ability, and the fact that he was unbelievably clutch come crunch time. Albeit undersized, unlike Mayo, Williams can run the point and also play at the shooting guard position, making him a versatile combo guard. This addresses a Rondo back-up question that has been asked for ages, while also providing the Celtics with instantaneous offensive firecracker.
For anyone that has watched the Celtics this postseason, the Celtics were almost ripped apart because of the Sixers' collective speed and agility, which Boston was definitely devoid of. Williams brings in an offensive threat that won't disappear in the postseason, unlike Mayo.
He also gives a youthful sixth man for the Celtics whose defensive deficiencies will be masked by the defensive prowess of his team and of his fellow teammates.
No, I will not post a video of Redd during his tenure with the Bucks because he will most likely never return to the old Michael Redd we've always extolled and lauded.
But this man is a shooter, a fearless scorer that can still put the ball in the hole when given the opportunity. Sure, he won't be as potent as he was half a decade ago, but he showed during his short stint with the Suns that he still had a lot left in him. Do you guys remember when Redd was being praised as the second purest shooter behind Ray Allen?
Yep, he's still got that impeccable stroke.
At 32 and begging for an opportunity, he won't be commanding a significant salary. A seasoned veteran who can willfully create his own shot, the Celtics would be almost foolish not to go after this guy.
This one is a no-brainer. Acquired in a trade with the Thunder that is just now starting to make a bit more sense, Jeff Green is a must-sign commodity for the Celtics this off-season. At just 25 years old and proclaimed to be healthy again, Jeff Green should be able to provide the Celtics with the versatility, quickness and ability to score that landed him in New England in the first place.
McGee has turned into the go-to punching bag by fans and media alike for his frequent bone-headed behavior on the hardwood.
But all jokes aside, this 24 year old is a rare physical anomaly. Blessed with an unbelievable 7' 6" wingspan and a 9' 7" standing reach, this man is no joke when it comes to defense. After being forced to develop in a losing and immature culture in Washington, McGee showed what an environment change could transform him into.
Kevin Garnett has belabored that playing the center position is the bane of his existence. Presuming that he returns this next season, the Celtics are still paper-thin at the center position. The likes of Fab Melo and Stiemsma just won't cut it with the championship aspirations that this team possesses.
If it wants to win, it needs to augment its frontcourt with a center like McGee, who brings robust rebounding skills to a team that was out-rebounded by almost every single team last season. Plus, his athleticism and quickness give Rondo that perfect partner to connect with in transition.
For all the cynical skeptics that question his maturity, don't, because under the tutelage and in a winning culture that the Celtics provide, McGee has the physical tools to become the next defensive anchor of the Celtics.
It will take some money to pry him off the Nuggets, but it's well worth the risk for this young fella.
The notorious flopper is also a rebounding guru. Not only that, Evans certainly showed up for the Clippers this postseason, producing at critical junctures of the game that ultimately allowed his team to beat the Grizzlies at their own game: playing scrappy.
The Celtics were ranked dead last in the league in rebounding, and this man can help turn that dreadful ranking upside down. Averaging a career number of 6.8 rebounds per game in a minuscule 19 minutes per game, Reggie Evans brings a tough mentality and the desire to do all of the dirty work. The intangibles he brings to the table are what separates a contender from a pretender.
It's also assuring that he signed with the Clippers just because he felt they were contenders, something the Celtics will plentifully provide. At a cheap price, this warrior is more than a bargain bin gem.
Before you rush over to the comments section to disparage and laugh at this slide, let me first start off by admitting that yes, at the 2nd overall selection, Thabeet was a bust.
But Thabeet deserves another chance, and here's why: You can't teach size.
Standing 7' 3" tall, Thabeet is a behemoth that makes other NBA centers look tiny. He possesses raw defensive skills and a limited offensive arsenal that havn't really shined at the professional level. But all centers and big men are long-term projects that need a perfect intersection of the right culture and time to fully realize their potential.
I am in no way saying that Thabeet can be the next Mutumbo or Howard, but in the Celtics system that preaches what he does best, Thabeet could very well be an excellent back up when expectations are lowered, perhaps for years to come.
I'm no GM and the slides I've pieced together are what I think would help eradicate the problems that have hurt the Celtics for such a long time. Ranking dead last in rebounding in the league and almost last in points-per-game should be reason enough for Ainge to make some dramatic changes to this roster this off-season.
But realistically speaking, the Celtics cannot acquire all of these players, nor will they try to. With that in mind, it's your turn to be Danny Ainge. Whom do you think the Celtics should go after this off-season? Share your thoughts! All comments, positive or negative, are welcome.