Warning: When you look at the Boston Celtics roster, it may not look the same as you remember.
In all actuality, when you look at their roster, it's rather clear that they have a number of players riding the pine who could be starters on NBA teams with less talent. Yes, Charlotte Bobcats and Philadelphia 76ers, I'm looking at you.
These players actually did start games last year, either for the Celtics or another team in the league. First on the list is Avery Bradley.
Avery Bradley—Backup PG
While Bradley still finds himself in the starting lineup as the preseason gets underway, the starting point guard spot is still Rajon Rondo's once he returns to the hardwood—hence Bradley's appearance on this list.
When Rajon Rondo went down last year with a torn ACL, Avery Bradley stepped right in without skipping a beat.
He played in 50 games and started every one of them, averaging 9.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
That production wasn't on Rondo's ridiculous double-double level, but quite a few teams would love to have their starting point guard putting up that kind of production in under 30 minutes per game.
What makes Bradley even more valuable is his tenacity on the defensive side of the ball.
Sure, he's overly aggressive at times. But I'd rather have an overly aggressive defender holding down the fort than a passive defender any day of the week.
There's no doubt that Bradley could be a starting point guard for other teams in the league, and that's why having him padding the Celtics bench is integral to the Celtics' success as they begin to rebuild the franchise.
Gerald Wallace—Backup SF
Much like Bradley, Gerald Wallace started 68 of the 69 games he played in last year, averaging 7.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
He didn't start for the Brooklyn Nets last year because of his offensive aptitude though; he started because of his impressive ability to put the player he was defending on serious lockdown.
Wallace is an intelligent, physical and athletic defender who knows how to get under the skin of his opponent. That will make him extremely valuable to the Celtics bench, and it's the same reason why he could start for another team in the NBA.
In addition to his defensive skill, he can still get up and finish at the rim with the best of them.
That athleticism just adds to Wallace's on-court value on both sides of the ball.
Even though Wallace hasn't been on many winning teams, he's a veteran player who can help lead younger players, which is what he'll be doing for Boston this upcoming year.
Jordan Crawford—Backup SG
Last season Jordan Crawford caught fire playing for the Washington Wizards, putting up at least 20 points in 12 games before being traded to the Boston Celtics.
After joining Boston, Crawford started two games but found himself playing a sixth-man role more often.
While he will be playing that first-man-off-the-bench role again this season, there's no doubt that he's capable of being in a starting lineup on another team.
Not only can he shoot lights out from almost anywhere on the court, but he also plays with a contagious enthusiasm that can really bring energy to the floor. If Crawford gets a bit too excited, though, his proclivity to put up shots like they are going out of style can be a detriment as well.
Either way, one thing is certain about Crawford: He is not afraid to attack on the offensive side of the ball.
Even when Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were on his team, I'm sure Crawford always thought he should take the last shot each and every game.
This Celtics roster possesses talent, albeit rather young talent, that could help catapult Boston to success in the Eastern Conference this year.
How well that talent develops depends on how well the team jells this preseason and how well each player accepts his specific role.
One thing is for sure, watching the Celtics grow this year will certainly be very exciting.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!