Despite fielding a roster full of talented defenders that rebound well for their positions, the future is bleak for the Boston Celtics until general manager Danny Ainge addresses their shortcomings.
The lack of a go-to scorer and an interior anchor flaws their current team.
Boston's Go-To Scorer
Rajon Rondo can look like the Celtics number one option at times, the way he might carve a defense off the pick-and-roll, but his perimeter shooting woes prevent him from ever impacting the scoreboard.
His ability to create for others usually adds at least 14 points to Boston's bottom line, but he may be pressed to do more this season than one coming off of ACL surgery ought.
As talented as Jeff Green and Avery Bradley are, and as promising as rookie Kelly Olynyk looked in the summer league, they simply aren't potent enough scorers to lift this Celtics team above the competition.
Jeff Green showed out at times last season, dropping 43 points in a two-point loss to the Miami Heat, and averaging 20.3 PPG against the New York Knicks in the playoffs, but he has yet to heed the responsibilities of being a number one option full time.
The Celtics could sneak into the playoffs with Green taking the majority of the shots if their guard play, particularly Jordan Crawford, Courtney Lee and MarShon Brooks maintain their focus and space the court.
But a legitimate low-post threat would be ideal to become a perennial contender.
With Kelly Olynyk's strength stemming from his mid-range and face up expertise, as well as his passing, Boston needs someone to step up and give them easy buckets in the paint.
Head coach Brad Stevens may be able to piece this issue together by rotating Brandon Bass, Kris Humphries, Jared Sullinger and the promising Vitor Faverani, but how many of those guys do you want to see fighting for position down-low when the Celtics need buckets late?
Since winning their championship in 2008, Boston has had Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett guarding the paint. Heading into the 2013-14 season, there won't be a big man in the middle dictating the defense and protecting the rim.
Fab Melo was drafted out of Syracuse University for his shot blocking potential, but he has yet to figure out the NBA game and how to make an impact on either end after appearing in only six games throughout 2012-13.
Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass are both solid defenders, but, as power forwards without tremendous wingspans or leaping ability, they do little to anchor the defense. Last season, Sullinger and Bass averaged 0.5 and 0.8 BPG, respectively.
Great on-ball defense will be Boston's best remedy for their lack of a prominent rim protector. Guys like Avery Bradley and Gerald Wallace will help guard the paint by keeping the opponent in front of them, on the perimeter.
That approach only gets the Celtics so far, however, when they face teams like the Pacers with dominant post scorers.
Considering Danny Ainge is far from finished, expect both of these flaws to be fixed sooner than later. If another scorer and shot blocker can be added to Boston's current nucleus, the Celtics will be back on their way to running the NBA.
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