Boston Celtics: Chances of Each Player on the Bubble Making the Roster
Throughout the NBA Summer League, the NBA preseason, and most importantly, practice, the Celtics have acquired, honed, and evaluated a litter of talent.
Obviously, the Celtics have a key rotation of starters and role players that are indispensable, like any other team in the league.
Similarly, the Celtics also have a couple of fringe players that represent the metaphorical fat that they are going to have to trim before the regular season starts.
Going forward, the Celtics are looking for young, high IQ players who can represent the culture they have re-established in terms of playing tenacious defense and being unselfish.
With the partially guaranteed contracts handed out by the Celtics to a variety of youngsters prior to the start of this upcoming season, the Celtics have a litter of young guns from which to pick from in order to maintain their winning ways as well as prepare for the future.
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Dionte Christmas is a player who showed great poise and energy during his tenure at Temple and transferred his game into a very successful career overseas.
He has been given several shots at the NBA by the 76ers and the Rockets, but this partially guaranteed, two-year contract he has just signed with the Celtics is his best chance at establishing himself in the league.
The Celtics' brass fell in love with his relentless energy and proficiency at scoring the basketball. They were impressed enough to offer him the partially guaranteed contract, but his excellence in the Summer League has not completely transferred over to the preseason.
Although his second outing against Emporio Armani Milano did yield nine points in nine minutes as opposed to his negligible contributions in the first game, his real evaluations have come in practice.
According to reports, Doc Rivers has often singled out Dionte Christmas for failing on rotations and make errant plays. However, his energy is still being praised by the coaching staff.
In order for him to keep his roster position, he's going to have to use his energy and combine it with intelligent play. Doc Rivers needs high IQ ball players, and he's going to have to use his mind to take advantage of his physical gifts.
The Celtics are in desperate need of a backup point guard and if Dionte Christmas doesn't show improvement, he could be cut in order to fill that need.
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A product of the University of Southern Indiana and teams in Venezuela and the Czech Republic, Jamar Smith is undoubtedly a talented player.
Standing at 6'3", Jamar Smith is a natural shooting guard with a nice shooting touch from long range.
Unfortunately, the Celtics are loaded at the two spot with Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, and an injured Avery Bradley, and have a desperate need for a backup point guard for Rajon Rondo.
The best chance Jamar Smith has of reaping the full benefits of his non-guaranteed contract is to adapt his game to a more distributive style.
However, this task is easier said than done, and in the two preseason games thus far, he has yet to register a single assist.
Obviously the role of point guard is more than just racking up assists. The point guard has to orchestrate the offensive schemes and perform a variety of standard techniques such as the drive-and-kick and the pick-and-roll. Sometimes the point guard will make the pass that will lead to the pass that earns the assist.
However, no matter how you spin it, having zero assists in two games, even in limited minutes, is not a good sign for a player whose role is to conform to a point guard style of play.
Jamar Smith needs to do a lot of work and he needs to do it quickly to maintain his roster spot.
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Rob Kurz is a 6'8" forward with a decent shooting touch and a relatively high basketball IQ.
However, due to the glut of big men of real NBA pedigree in Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett and Chris Wilcox along with stand-out young guns such as Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, Rob Kurz will be hard-pressed to actually achieve a roster spot once the season begins.
He is a tough, versatile and large body that will benefit from playing scrimmages and running drills in practice with the other Celtics and should consider this experience as an opportunity to improve his game while running pickup games with a very experienced core of players.
In summation, the preset rotation of big men as well as the number of already partially guaranteed contracts issued by the Celtics make Rob Kurz a hard sell.
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Micah Downs is a 6'8" small forward who could potentially play shooting guard as well.
Although he is on the outside looking in, he does bring some valuable skills that could make him worth a look for a roster spot.
Honing his skills overseas since his collegiate days at Gonzaga, he can hit the open jump shot with relative ease and is a stalwart defender.
Any time a player can hit an open jump shot and also defend at a high level, they deserve consideration.
Although there is a glut of shooting guards, perhaps there could be a role for Micah Downs as a backup small forward if he is able to translate his defensive abilities to the NBA level as well as continuing to hit his open jump shots with regularity.
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Standing 6'8" and 225 pounds, Kris Joseph is projected to have the potential to be a solid role player in the NBA.
However, to have that chance, he will have to utilize his strengths.
Kris Joseph is a good slasher and decent finisher at the rim, but is more of a jack-of-all-trades rather than specializing in a certain ability.
This may come as a good thing in some cases, but he isn't quite skilled enough to be termed versatile. He can do a bunch of things decently, but might not be proficient enough to make a true impact.
He won't get too many minutes even if he does make the roster, as he will be playing behind Paul Pierce and Jeff Green, but if he keeps his game simple, he could start a long career as a solid role player for years to come.
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Essentially the only player on the bubble who has earned a guaranteed spot on the roster come the start of the season is Darko Milicic
The former second overall pick who has failed to live up to the hype despite being picked ahead of players like Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Darko Milicic comes into this season with a massive chip on his shoulder.
He has stated that he is no longer trying to live up to the hype but to come in and do what he does best.
Darko Milicic is a big, physical body with a penchant for blocking shots and being a physical enforcer. That's all the Celtics need from him this season.
With his toughness on the glass and his physical style of play, he can spell Kevin Garnett for periods off the bench as a center or even start at the center position on occasion and allow Kevin Garnett to play power forward.
There is no doubt that at this point in his career, Kevin Garnett's skills in the post and with the jumper make him a mismatch for most centers. However, the grind of playing the center position throughout an 82-game season may be trying on the veteran.
Darko Milicic can spell Garnett during the regular season during stretches and help preserve the key cog for the playoffs.