Avery Bradley struggled playing point guard in the playoffs, but his one-on-one defense would be valuable to any team.
If NBA shooting guards were Pokemon, then it makes sense for Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to want to trade for them all. But in pro basketball, five players at one position is a surplus.
The Celtics don’t need five shooting guards. Not even a former Boston coach Doc Rivers small ball lineup needs five shooting guards. Likely one or two of these players won’t be with the team by the trade deadline. Ainge probably will send a couple packing at some point.
Several factors go into whether a player is traded. This gauges a player's appeal in a trade and Boston’s interest in trading him. The players are listed in alphabetical order.
Annual salary information from Basketball-Reference.com.
Keith Bogans (left), like his former Brooklyn teammates, did not look thrilled to be Celtics. It's possible they won't be Celtics for long.
Can I interest you in a used guard? He has some miles on him, but still gets the job done. Good defender, not a great shooter, but is acceptable spotting up for threes. He won’t start, but is still effective off the bench. A little overpriced, but he would be money well spent. Whaddaya say?
But any smart shopper would respond, “Not bad, but why would I want him when I can get a younger version for less money?”
Bogans fashioned a good 10-year career as a second-round pick. He’s the definition of a journeyman as the Celtics will be his eighth team.
But the only reason Boston needed Bogans was to make the money work in the blockbuster trade of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. Without the sign-and-trade of Bogans, Boston and Brooklyn would have needed to find another way to make the deal work.
Any interest in Bogans would be primarily financial. 33-year-old offensively challenged shooting guards aren’t appealing, especially with a three-year contract that averages more than $5 million a year.
But Bogans’ contract is only guaranteed for the 2013-14 season. Any team can cut ties with Bogans after this season and owe him nothing else. A team looking to save a little money with prospects and/or draft picks could pique Ainge’s interest.
Bogans would have to be part of a package if he’s traded. A team has to to be talked into accepting Bogans despite the savings.
Trade Desire: * * * * *
With his unparalelled one-on-one defense, Avery Bradley has a skill that would be valuable to any team.
Please excuse head coach Brad Stevens. He’s new here. Scouting players on video is one thing, but Stevens will learn what his players can do best by watching them in person.
Days before opening training camp, Stevens said he will try Avery Bradley at point guard. “I don’t think there is any doubt that Avery has elite ability in a lot of ways as a point guard. He’s an elite defender at the position. He’s an elite athlete at the point guard position. I think he’s a guy that’s gotten better. I think he’s a guy with more confidence, and I think he’s excited about the challenge if Rajon is out.”
But having a few skills that can be applied to the position doesn’t make Bradley a point guard.
Bradley had his chance. With Rajon Rondo done for the season after partially tearing his ACL, the starting point guard duties were handed to the third-year man out of Texas.
But after winning the first seven games sans Rondo and 14-4 after 18 games, opponents adjusted and Bradley was exposed as an out of position two guard. Boston closed the season 7-13 and lost the first round playoff series to the New York Knicks in six games. Former head coach Doc Rivers had to take the ball out of Bradley’s hands on offense against the Knicks.
Bradley is an undersized (6’2”) shooting guard who can’t shoot. He’s a liability on offense as opponents can cheat off Bradley to double-team the ball. If Bradley could shoot threes at a respectable level, at least he would make opponents pay for ignoring him.
But damn, can the boy defend! There isn’t another player in the league who can man up opposing point guards for 94 feet like Bradley can. His man-to-man D drains the shot clock and disrupts offenses, which would be very valuable in the playoffs.
And though not a top offensive threat, the 2011-12 season played alongside Rajon Rondo proved Bradley can be very efficient as a complimentary player, as he shot .498 from the field and .407 behind the arc.
Bradley probably dashed any hopes of becoming a starter, whether in Boston or elsewhere. But defenders like him are rare. What team wouldn’t love to have a ferocious defender like Bradley coming off the bench with the craftiness to sneak around and get open looks on offense? A playoff team looking for an additional edge should be very interested.
Trade Appeal: * * * *
Trade Desire: * * *
It's MarShon Brooks' (right) offensive potential makes him appealing.
How good could Marshon Brooks be? After a promising rookie season with the Brooklyn Nets, a coming-out season was derailed by the arrival of Joe Johnson, cutting Brooks’ minutes by more than half.
For a team that decided to go all out to win, developing Brooks was no longer part of the plan.
Brooks arrives in Boston with the opportunity to become one of the Celtics’ go-to scorers. It will be a wide open competition at shooting guard and he’s arguably the most talented (especially offensively).
Boston is certainly banking on Brooks breaking out because he’s only 24, has a lot of untapped potential, will only get better with proper coaching, and his contract is very inexpensive. Brooks would become one of the most appealing players on the team if he blossoms.
If Brooks becomes a consistent 15-20 point scorer, why would the Celtics give him up? He is exactly the kind of player a rebuilding team is looking for: young with potential scheduled to peak in another year or two. That would align with when Boston hopes to be contending for championships again.
The best case scenario would also be Boston’s worst nightmare. If Brooks is on the cusp of becoming a star, the Celtics might not be able to afford his new contract as his rookie deal is in the final year. If that’s the case, Boston might have little choice but to trade him. But at least the Celtics would get a lot in return for Brooks if included in a trade package.
That’s a big "if" that’s two years down the road. For at least one season, the Celtics hope Brooks shows he can be a go-to player who’s worth building around to make a championship contending team.
Trade Appeal: * * * * *
Trade Desire: *
Why do the Celtics want to be rid of Jordan Crawford? Because Crawford never saw a shot he didn't like..
No one ever told Jordan Crawford that Jordan is his first name. Too often he acts like he’s the second coming of the Michael Jordan.
There are some good qualities to Crawford’s game. When his shot is falling, Crawford is an explosive scorer. He’s also a much better passer than few would expect.
Crawford’s problem is he usually plays out of control and with no conscience. He will launch three pointers three feet behind the line whether he hit his last two shots or missed the previous eight. Top it off with being turnover prone and the Celtics have a player they wish they could drop. They’re yet to find any takers, which comes as no surprise.
Crawford could be productive if he took a less-is-more approach. There’s no reason why he couldn’t be good as an off the ball scorer who does very little ball handling.
Run plays for Crawford to be a catch and shoot player. He can finish on fast breaks, so an up-tempo offense suits his skills. Work to improve his defense. If all works out, Crawford might change some minds that he can be a team player by playing within a limited role.
That doesn’t mean teams will call asking about Crawford. Teams in need of scoring will still look at Crawford as too risky. Besides, Crawford has one year remaining on his rookie contract. Teams can wait until he becomes a free agent and then sign him for cheap instead of giving up players and/or draft picks.
Unless Crawford can be packaged along with a few teammates, he’s not going anywhere, much to the Celtics’ dismay.
Trade Appeal: *
Trade Desire: * * * * *
It was a frustrating first season as a Celtic for Courtney Lee.
Courtney Lee was on hiatus last season. The Courtney Lee who was a young, solid shooter with three-point range and a good defender wasn’t the one who played for the Celtics in 2012-13. For one reason or another, Lee wasn’t himself in Boston.
Lee is looking forward to a fresh start, and it doesn’t have to be in another uniform. The Celtics will be almost completely new, with just seven holdovers, including Lee, from last season. Coach Stevens is giving everyone a clean slate as he develops the Celtics’ new identity.
That should suit Lee, with restoring Lee’s former identity the goal. The defense was still good, but Lee has to find where he fits offensively. Lee could also work into becoming a part time point guard, as he looked comfortable handling the ball and running the offense in limited minutes. With Rondo out until December, several players likely will audition for a share of the responsibility.
Boston and the rest of the league know what Lee is capable of. Many players have off years. If Lee regains his form and adds new skills to his profile, he will again be recognized as a valuable contributor who could help any team.
In order to give his assistance, a team has to accept the remaining three years on Lee’s deal. The yearly salary isn’t bad if Lee is productive, but the length could scare a few teams away.
Trade Appeal: * * *
Trade Desire: * * *
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