With this year's NBA Draft just 10 days away, the rumors are beginning to swirl, and once again, Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics are in the thick of things.
This time, instead of bringing in veterans, Ainge is pondering the idea of dismantling the 'Big Three,' and turning towards a youth movement in Boston.
Ainge has been known to fall in love with certain players in the draft and would do anything to get them (e.g. Rajon Rondo). His next man-crush appears to be former Memphis freshman guard, Tyreke Evans.
With the trade winds blowing around Ray Allen, many Boston fans are surprised Ainge would want to break up the 'Big Three' so soon after delivering Boston its first title since 1986, in order to acquire the lesser known Evans.
With the rumors circulating, let's take a look into what a potential deal would mean for the Boston Celtics.
The deal that appears to be the most prominent, and make the most sense, is a deal with Washington, sending Allen to the Wizards in return for Etan Thomas, Darius Songalia, Mike James, and the fifth overall pick in this years NBA Draft.
First let's examine what the downsides are to this deal:
The Celtics would take an obvious hit to their 2010 title hopes. For me, this is not a big concern, as I have large doubts about their chances for contention with Allen, but many fans feel they have just as good as shot as they had when they won the title in 2008.
Losing Allen means the Celtics lose a great person in the clubhouse, and a great scorer. Serving as the team's only consistent three-point threat, Allen's absence would be felt spreading the floor and could lead to more double teams on Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Allen has made up for the lack of range Rondo has in the backcourt.
This influence obviously banks on who the Celtics get to replace Allen at the two. I could not see Evans coming in, and starting at shooting guard in his rookie year. Not to mention, he and Rondo would probably make the worst shooting backcourt of all-time.
Although the chances are slim, it may seem to make sense to try to include Nick Young in the deal who could play the two. He has good range, and is a good, young scorer who could attempt to fill-in for Allen, but at this point, it is only speculation.
Now, what are the Celtics gaining in this deal?
Before we dive into Evans, let's cover what else the C's are getting in this package. They get the expiring contracts of Thomas and James, and lose the hefty contract of Allen. This should free up some cap space, not to mention James and Thomas could provide some decent play, to make the bench deeper.
James is a scoring spark off the bench, who can play a more legitimate point guard, in comparison to Tony Allen and Eddie House. Thomas is a big body who can rack up some minutes, and play good defense under the basket. He won't add much on the offensive end, but he brings another physical presence to the Boston defense.
What Evans brings is the real question mark.
Evans is the classic college guard that poses the conundrum of whether he is a combo guard, or a tweener.
A 6'5" guard, Evans played the point in Memphis, but some doubt whether he is refined enough to play the point in the NBA.
He is very long (boasting nearly a seven-foot wingspan), and is very good penetrating to the basket and finishing over or around defenders. He is also a potential defensive stopper, who could give NBA point guards fits with his long arms and quickness.
His shortcomings are that he is not a good shooter for a guard, and does not have a defined position. He is very unpolished, which gives people doubts he will be able to play at the point in his career; that said, he is only 19-years-old and has a long way to go in his development.
Based on the personnel surrounding him, it appears Ainge is expecting Evans to be able to play the point, and a little shooting guard when the Rondo is on the bench.
Certainly, he could not possibly think Rondo and Evans could play on the floor together.
While they are both very quick and great defenders and rebounders, their extreme lack of range would make life very difficult on the offensive end.
This means Evans would be asked to play backup point guard, and also serve as a shooting guard when Rondo is on the bench (and a point guard with more range is in the game).
I think Evans could add a great dimension to the Celtics, as a defensive stopper, and a potential combo guard who could add versatility to the rotation.
He is someone that will get to the basket and get out in transition and run.
Looking ahead to the future, the Celtics young players (Rondo, Giddens, Pruitt, Walker) are all very good in the transition game, and Evans would fit in well with them a few years down the road.
Another thing Celtics' fans cannot ignore, is Allen's age. He is a great player, that should be productive for a few more years, but there is always a chance of injury, and decline.
With a player being paid as much as Allen, you would like a bit more reliability. Allen has shown no reason to doubt his reliability, but the Boston front office cannot be naive to the simple fact that Allen is not getting any younger.
As the Celtics meet a crossroad, they will be forced to make tough decisions, but must do the best thing for both the short term and the long term. I give this deal a "yay."
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