However, with Pierce and Garnett now in Brooklyn and Rivers in Los Angeles, the identity and overall roster of the Celtics are about to undergo major changes. Headed into the 2013-14 season, Boston has seven new players who will be wearing C’s jerseys for the first time.
These include pieces acquired in the blockbuster deal with the Brooklyn Nets, but also a trio of rookies who should be legitimate contributors for Brad Stevens’ squad.
While it is difficult to predict exactly how Boston will play as it transitions from the Big Three era, let’s take a moment to examine how the newest Celtics will fit into the rotation and what kind of minutes they should expect per night.
Advanced statistics courtesy of Synergy Sports unless otherwise noted.
Keith Bogans’ salary was a key aspect of the blockbuster trade, but though he is earning $5.1 million in the 2013-14 season, he figures to have very little actual impact on the court.
Bogans is a veteran’s minimum talent at this point, and his three-year, $15.7 million contract does not guarantee the final two seasons. The lucrative deal helped Boston to land a valuable trade exception from Brooklyn.
Last season, Bogans averaged 4.2 points, 1.6 boards and one assist while shooting 38 percent overall and 34.3 percent from three-point range.
He is still a decent defender, holding opposing 2-guards to a PER of 11.8, per 82Games, but his offensive game has been dreadful. He posted a PER of just 6.69 in 2012-13.
At this point in his career, Bogans is essentially a “three-and-D” guard who is not all that great of a shooter from beyond the arc.
He shot just 33.7 percent on spot-up threes last season and 25 percent coming off of screens.
Boston has plenty of 2-guards on the roster, including young pieces in Avery Bradley, MarShon Brooks and Jordan Crawford who deserve minutes over Bogans.
With four young, up-and-coming players on the roster, the 33-year-old wing who hasn’t averaged more than 4.4 points since 2008-09 will likely be the odd man out.
Having a veteran in the locker room is always valuable, but with his athleticism diminished, do not expect Bogans to play more than 10 minutes per game. He will play most of his minutes at the 2 but also log some time at small forward as well.
Don’t feel bad for Bogans though, he is earning more money from the C’s than he possibly could have on the open market.
A first-round draft pick of Boston's back in 2011, Brooks is the incoming player who is most likely to have a real future with the franchise.
The 24-year-old scorer did not play much as a sophomore behind Joe Johnson, but had a strong rookie campaign, averaging 12.6 points, 3.8 boards and 2.3 assists on 42.8 percent shooting overall and 31.3 percent from three-point range in 29.4 minutes.
At 6’5”, Brooks has the ideal frame for an NBA shooting guard and has the ability to create shots both for himself and his teammates. He can run the pick-and-roll as well, shooting 45.8 percent on pick-and-roll plays in 2012-13.
Though he is not much of a three-point threat, Brooks has a decent mid-range game and can also get to the hoop. He shot 68.7 percent at the rim last season, per HoopData.
The Celtics have a player in Crawford who boasts a very similar game to Brooks, but Crawford has even worse shot selection and cannot effectively run a team’s offense.
Bradley and Lee are better defenders than Brooks, but both are best used as spot-up shooters or cutters without the basketball. They cannot consistently attack the basket like Brooks can.
If Boston decides to go small, they can also use Brooks as a 3 for some short stretches, although that is not a long-term idea. Brooks is not strong enough to guard bigger wings and allowed opposing small forwards a PER of 16.6, per 82Games.
With two more years on his rookie contract, Brooks is an affordable source of offense for a team that could definitely use scoring help with Pierce gone.
Expect Brooks to be the first guard off Boston’s bench and play roughly 25 minutes a night.
The Celtics were extremely quiet on the free agent front this offseason, with the exception of signing Brazilan center Vitor Faverani, who will provide the team with much needed depth at the 5.
The 6’11” Faverani averaged 9.2 points and 4.5 rebounds on 54.4 percent shooting with Spain’s Valencia BC during the 2012-13 season.
According to an Eastern Conference scout who spoke to the Boston Globe’s Baxter Holmes, Faverani is an offensive big man who can thrive in the pick-and-pop game.
A Western Conference scout who talked to Holmes praised his athleticism and his activity defensively. The scout also highlighted his passing ability and unselfishness, but said that his jump shot still needs some refinement.
Neither scout touted his rebounding ability, a skill that the Celtics could desperately use. But given his sheer size and the fact that he is willing to bang in the paint, he should at least be able to grab a few boards.
Perhaps most importantly though, Holmes’ article taught us that Faverani’s nickname is “El Hombre Indestructible.”
The 25-year-old is on a three-year, $6.3 million deal with the third year non-guaranteed. He still has room to grow as a player, and the long-term contract allows the team time to let Faverani develop.
Rivers was notoriously hesitant to give rookies heavy minutes, but Stevens should be more willing to put his young players on the court. It’s not exactly like the Celtics have many better options at center anyways.
Faverani will not receive minutes over Kelly Olynyk, but he should be a regular in the club’s rotation. Expect to see Faverani for 15-20 minutes per game as Boston tries to figure out exactly what they have in the rookie.
At the very least, he cannot be any worse than Boston's other Brazilian center, Fab Melo.
Kris Humphries is grossly overpaid at $12 million for the season, but he will have a substantial role with Boston and may actually be the team’s best rebounder.
Humphries put up dreadful numbers in 2012-13, averaging just 5.8 points and 5.6 rebounds on 44.8 percent shooting, but he is a nightly double-double threat when he gets enough playing time.
In his last full season as a starter, Humphries posted 13.8 points and 11 rebounds – both career-highs - while shooting 48.1 percent from the field.
Whether Humphries starts or not depends if the Celtics are truly committed to developing their young talent, but it is most likely that he comes off the bench at least to start the season.
Given Boston’s lack of depth at center, Humphries could also play some 5. Despite being 6’9”, Humphries is strong and physical enough to play there for stretches and posted a respectable PER of 15.1 at the 5 spot, per 82Games.
The 28-year-old big is not a part of Boston’s long-term plans, but even if the team decides to deal his expiring contract for future assets they are going to need to boost his value by showcasing him on the court.
Humphries is inefficient in the post (40.7 percent) and the pick-and-roll (40.5 percent), but he runs the floor hard and can finish well at the rim.
It is likely that he doesn’t finish the season in green, but expect Humphries to log 20-24 minutes off the bench as he battles with Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass for playing time at the 4.
After a stellar performance in the 2013 Orlando Summer League, expectations are high that star rookie Kelly Olynyk can contribute immediately for Boston.
In five games, Olynyk averaged 18 points, 7.8 boards, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals while shooting 57.8 percent. He managed those stellar numbers in just 24.2 minutes of work per night.
Olynyk’s offensive versatility was apparent during his final year at Gonzaga, but he took his game to another level with the Celtics.
He showed that he could post-up efficiently, spot-up for jumpers, clean up the offensive glass and even handle the ball at times.
With Garnett gone, Boston needs another big man who can score and make plays with his back to the basket while also being able to open up driving lanes with his shooting touch.
He shot just 23.1 percent from deep, proving that he still needs to develop as a three-point threat, but Olynyk is automatic up to 18 feet and can create matchup problems at the 4 or 5 with his shooting ability.
Olynyk is not a great post defender and still needs to improve on the defensive glass, but Stevens will likely thrust him into heavy minutes right away. Olynyk might be better suited as a power forward, but as a 7-footer he will be asked to play a lot of center as a rookie.
His offensive game is already extremely polished, which will allow him to make a positive impact, even if he proves to be a defensive liability early on.
The Celtics could plug Humphries, Sullinger or Bass in at center, but since the team is in a rebuilding mode, they will likely look to give their star rookie minutes to develop.
Expect Olynyk to start the brunt of the season and log around 28-30 minutes a night, primarily at the 5.
After going undrafted, Phil Pressey parlayed a strong performance in the summer league into a partially guaranteed contract with the Celtics.
Pressey averaged 9.4 points, 2.2 boards, 6.6 assists and two steals per game while shooting 45.9 percent from the field.
Though turnovers were an issue for Pressey, who averaged four a game, he largely did a good job running the Boston offense. He finished summer league by notching 20 assists in the final two games.
Pressey needs to work on his outside shot, but he has the ability to knife his way into the lane and either finish in the paint or collapse the defense and find an open teammate.
The 5’11” Missouri product is the only true point guard on the Celts’ roster besides Rajon Rondo. Though Boston has a number of combo guards, none of them are pure facilitators like Pressey, who averaged 7.1 assists in his junior year as a Tiger.
The 22-year-old guard is also a quality defender who can force turnovers and pressure the ball effectively. He will need to add muscle to cover the NBA’s bigger point guards, but Pressey is an effective on-ball defender who can stay in front of his man.
It will take Pressey some time to find his way into the rotation, but he should eventually work his way onto the court, especially if Boston deals one of their many shooting guards. He should ultimately log 10-12 minutes per game.
The Celtics learned last season that Bradley and Lee are not ball-handlers, meaning that they will need Pressey to spell Rondo if they do not swing a trade for a veteran reserve.
After signing a monster four-year, $40 million cotract in the 2012 offseason, Gerald Wallace proceeded to have his worst campaign since he played for the Sacramento Kings in 2003-04.
Wallace played 30.1 minutes, but averaged just 7.7 points, 4.6 boards and 2.6 assists while shooting 39.7 percent overall and 28.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Never a highly skilled player, Wallace’s biggest asset in the league has always been his athleticism, and the 31-year-old swingman looked noticeably slower with Brooklyn.
Not much of a jump shooter either, Wallace has always relied on his ability to attack the rim with reckless abandon and draw fouls. Now that he cannot do that as easily, Wallace’s offensive game is extremely limited.
He shot just 31.4 percent on spot-up threes in 2012-13 and is not a threat to score off of screens by moving without the ball.
Jeff Green figures to play the brunt of the small forward minutes, with Wallace providing relief off the bench. He is primarily a 3, but can also play some 4 as needed.
Wallace has lost some lateral quickness, but he is still capable of reading passing lanes and staying in front of most wing scorers. He held opposing small forwards to a PER of 12.4, per 82Games.
Having a defensive-minded veteran is always valuable for a rebuilding team, but with another year of mileage on his body, there is no reason to expect a bounce back campaign from Wallace.
He will play regularly, but do not expect Wallace to exceed more than 24 minutes per game as a seventh or eighth man.
The Celtics will need to show that Wallace can contribute in case they shop him during the season, but they will not allow him to eat up too many valuable minutes for Green at the 3 or Sullinger at the 4.
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