Boston Celtics' 5 Most Expendable Players
After making big moves during the offseason, it's time for Celtics to sit back and evaluate their roster. As general manager Danny Ainge looks to win a championship next season, he must decide which players are crucial to the team's success and which are expendable.
With Rajon Rondo leading the way, alongside veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics have remained relevant in championship talks. The main goal during the offseason was to build depth and find a scorer off the bench. Ainge has succeeded in that department.
The C's have a very good starting five, as well as plenty of depth in the backcourt. If Boston wants success in the postseason, Ainge must tighten up the backcourt and continue to make moves to build a solid frontcourt with reliable backups for the aging Pierce and Garnett.
Chris Wilcox is supposed to be a partial solution to the Celtics' problems in the frontcourt. However, Boston might not keep the power forward on board for the entire season.
Wilcox had surgery to correct an enlarged aorta last February. Although he was cleared for full contact and should be ready by training camp, it is unclear whether he will return as the same productive big man.
Wilcox was one of the Celtics' better rebounders and interior defenders. In case he doesn't fully bounce back from the surgery, Boston has already picked up decent replacements for Kevin Garnett's backup.
The Celtics selected rookie big men Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo in the 2012 NBA Draft. If those two players make a smooth transition from college to the NBA, the need for Wilcox on the team will be gone.
The Celtics acquired Jamar Smith this summer through free agency. The 6'3" guard appeared in 44 games last season for BK Prostov in the Czech Republic. He also played for the Celtics in the 2012 Orlando Summer League.
Smith is third on the depth chart for point guard, behind Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. However, due to the addition of Jason Terry, he probably won't see too much playing time next season.
Although Smith is a decent guard, the Celtics are already deep at that position. It's likely that Boston could throw him into a trade deal in the near future.
Dionte Christmas will most likely see very little playing time this year. As the fourth option at shooting guard on a Celtics team stacked with talented guards, Christmas' role is minuscule.
The 6'5" guard played well last season for AGO Rethymno Aegean in Greece, averaging 18.6 points, 4.4. rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He also played for the Celtics during their 2012 Summer League teams in Orlando and Las Vegas.
The Celtics don't need anymore guards. Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Keyon Dooling are all ahead of Christmas on the depth chart for shooting guard. Now that the backcourt is deep, the team must focus on building the frontcourt, and Christmas doesn't fit into that equation.
Keyon Dooling is definitely an emotional leader on the Celtics. Young players, like Rajon Rondo, look up to him, and Boston fans adore him.
It's no surprise the 32-year-old veteran combo guard re-signed with the C's this summer to a one-year, veteran-minimum deal. While Dooling used to be Rondo's primary reserve, the emergence of Avery Bradley and recent addition of Jason Terry could change that.
As Dooling's role on the team decreases, the Celtics might consider putting him on the trading block. The veteran is worth decent trade value and is physically expendable.
Following Greg Stiemsma's departure from the Celtics, the team was desperate to find another big man. With the aging Kevin Garnett taking on the center position, it's important to have reliable backup.
Veteran center Jason Collins came to Boston to fill that role, but the C's could find a better replacement for him. Although Collins is a pretty good defender, he's only average in rebounding. In addition, he struggles with finding ways to score in the post.
The Celtics will stick with Collins for now, but a hungry Fab Melo has the potential to be a dominant big man.