Final Regular-Season Grade for Every Boston Celtics Player
With the playoffs beginning, Boston Celtics fans can finally exhale now that this long, miserable 2013-14 season is over.
A flurry of midseason moves and poorly timed injuries left the Celtics in consistently poor shape throughout the year, and their roster is actually pretty different than it was on opening night.
Brandon Bass and Jeff Green both appeared in all 82 games, but the rest of the nightly rotation was a mix of unproven young players, veterans hunting for new contracts and key pieces like Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley working themselves back from injury.
It's a little tough to assess each Celtic player given that the rotation changed so often and that the franchise wasn't exactly striving for wins, but we have a decent sample size to go on for pretty much everyone (not you, Keith Bogans).
Now that we can look forward to the 2014 draft and another offseason of development, let's take a moment to grade the cast of one of the bleakest Boston Celtics seasons in recent history.
Players are organized by number of games played, beginning with the fewest.
Keith Bogans: F
Bogans made six appearances all year, averaging 2.0 points and 0.5 rebounds.
He did shoot 50 percent from three-point range, but that’s not particularly impressive when you consider he shot the ball just six times.
At 33 years old, it’s highly unlikely Bogans will be back with Boston for 2014-15 and certainly not at his current $5 million salary.
Bogans is a hardworking player and a decent outside shooter, so let’s hope he lands someplace where he can contribute more than he did with the Celts.
Chris Babb: D+
A training camp invite of the Celts, Chris Babb finally got his chance midseason and was ultimately signed to a multiyear deal, per CBS Boston’s Brian Robb.
That being said, it’s tough to really assess Babb’s long-term prospects based on 2013-14. He's still only 24 years old and could definitely get better with another summer under his belt.
He made just 14 appearances, scored 22 total points and shot 26.7 percent from the field.
At Iowa State, Babb was a versatile defender and a reliable three-point shooter, but he did not get enough run to prove whether he could provide either of those skills at the next level.
Babb is a nice athlete with good size for the wing, but we’ll need to see how he develops in the offseason.
Joel Anthony: D
Boston only acquired Joel Anthony because they had to take on salary in the Jordan Crawford deal, and despite their need for rim protection, he still barely got on the floor.
With the Celts, Anthony averaged just one point, 1.5 rebounds and 0.4 blocks on 38.5 percent shooting.
He’s never been much of a scorer and has only averaged 16 minutes per game in his career, but Anthony was a major wash during his stint in green and has more than likely played his last game with the squad.
Rajon Rondo: B-
There's still definitely some rust for Rondo, but he showed enough flashes throughout the season for fans to be excited about 2014-15.
Rondo appeared in just 30 games, as the team was extremely cautious about back-to-backs and giving him the proper rest. After his Jan. 17 return he was technically eligible for 42 games, but the team was justifiably conservative.
He wound up averaging 11.7 points, 5.5 boards and 9.8 assists, despite shooting just 40.3 percent from the floor and 28.9 percent from beyond the arc.
The problem with Rondo this year was that he didn't make the strides as a jump shooter many players do when they tear their ACLs.
Rondo came back more than willing to shoot jumpers, but he still struggled to knock them down with any consistency.
After emerging as an underrated yet strong mid-range shooter in 2012-13, Rondo struggled a bit with more difficult looks and couldn't make defenses pay as much for leaving him open.
The most disappointing aspect of Rondo's return, though, was not the shooting—it was his defense.
Once one of the league's best perimeter defenders, Rondo looked a step slow covering explosive guards. He allowed opposing point guards a PER of 18.3, per 82games. That's far worse than usual, but it's something that should correct itself as Rondo gets his explosiveness back.
With just one year left on his contract, Rondo's impending free agency will hang over the Boston offseason more than anything else, but while he wasn't always great in his comeback season, he does look capable of getting back to All-Star level in the near future.
Vitor Faverani: D
After coming on strong in the beginning of the season and looking like a legitimate rotation player, Vitor Faverani got to experience the fickleness of the NBA firsthand during his rookie year in the league.
Faverani averaged a solid 5.6 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 36 percent from three in November, but he quickly lost his minutes due to defensive issues and shot selection.
For an unheralded rookie, Faverani was more than willing to hoist up shots, particularly threes and long jumpers off of pick-and-pop action.
His best performance was easily a 12-point, 18-rebound, six-block masterpiece against the Milwaukee Bucks, but he was never nearly that effective again.
Ultimately, a knee injury sidelined him for much of February, March and April, but the late emergence of Kelly Olynyk likely would have consumed his minutes, anyway.
Faverani is still just 25 years old and could be a great change-of-pace backup off the bench, but he needs to learn when to go to his post game instead of hoisting up jumpers.
Don’t be surprised to see Faverani get a longer look in 2014-15 if he’s fully recovered.
Chris Johnson: B
One of the better stories of the Celtics’ season, Chris Johnson was a D-League player who worked his way into Boston’s rotation midseason.
Johnson is a pure three-and-D wing, someone who works hard on the perimeter defensively and can stroke it out from outside.
He wound up playing just 40 games and averaging 6.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.8 assists on 39.7 percent shooting overall and 33.9 percent from three.
Johnson struggled a bit with his jumper down the stretch, but he’s a strong catch-and-shoot player, especially from the corners.
He went 22-of-48 on corner threes this season, which is equivalent to 45.8 percent.
At just 23 years old, Johnson still has some pretty significant upside given his athleticism, so expect him to get a longer look with Boston in 2014-15.
Jerryd Bayless: B-
Of all of Boston’s midseason moves, acquiring Jerryd Bayless was the one that actually made the most sense.
The Celts needed an instant-offense scorer off the bench, and that’s one thing Bayless has proven to be in the league.
He averaged 10.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists with Boston, playing more of a point guard role than he usually does.
Bayless’ 41.8 percent shooting overall was disappointing but not surprising for a combo guard, and he did shoot a solid 39.5 percent from three-point range.
The Bayless-Rondo backcourt played well despite the obvious size deficiency, and Bayless was particularly potent as a starter.
He was even decent defensively, albeit against mostly second-unit guards. He held opposing point guards to a 13.9 PER and shooting guards to a 14.1 PER, according to 82games.
His unrestricted free-agent status means Bayless may not wind up back in Boston, but the Celtics finished just 26th in the league in points per game and could certainly use some more offensive punch.
Gerald Wallace: C-
Relative to the price of his contract ($30.3 million over three years), Gerald Wallace might’ve been the biggest bust of 2013-14.
The veteran averaged just 5.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 50.4 percent overall and 29.7 percent from deep.
Wallace isn’t a natural scorer, but his ability to attack the paint and hit the occasional three has always made him a viable threat. However, that was not the case this year.
He shot just four times per game and often passed up decent looks to try and create shots for teammates.
Part of the problem for “Crash” was that he spent much of the year playing out of position as a 2-guard and secondary playmaker, but he still didn’t perform particularly well in that role.
His assist-to-turnover ratio was just 1.47.
Wallace missed much of the season’s second half with a torn meniscus, but while he’ll be back with Boston, don’t expect much improvement.
Avery Bradley: B+
An extended absence due to ankle troubles (he sprained it against Miami on Jan. 21) keeps Bradley out of the “A” range, but the fourth-year guard was really terrific when he was healthy.
Perhaps his impending restricted free agency was weighing on his mind, because Bradley averaged a career-high 14.9 points, along with 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 60 appearances.
He also shot 39.5 percent from three and an acceptable 43.8 percent overall.
Bradley struggled a bit after he returned from an ankle injury suffered against Miami, but he ended 2013-14 in dynamic fashion.
The lockdown defender averaged 22.4 points on 47.1 percent shooting overall and 52.9 percent from deep for the final five games of the year.
Stevens made the decision to move Bradley off the ball more than ever, and he responded extremely well.
He still takes a ton of long two-pointers (42.5 percent of his shots, per Basketball-Reference), but he drilled them at a solid 43.9 percent clip. They were also, generally, good looks, as he got open at the top of the key off screens.
Defensively, Bradley slipped somewhat in the halfcourt, holding opposing point guards to a 15.2 PER and 2-guards to a 17.2 PER, according to 82games.
However, Bradley’s strength defensively is geared more toward providing ball pressure and forcing turnovers, which he was still able to do in spades.
His injury history will certainly hurt his free-agent value, but Bradley is sure to net a lucrative extension after being one of Boston’s few bright spots in 2013-14.
Kris Humphries: A-
If there is one player who can hold his head high after this dismal season, it’s Kris Humphries, who was a force on the floor whenever he received decent run.
Humphries averaged just 8.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 assist on 50.1 percent shooting, but it was a true comeback year after a poor showing in 2012-13.
His rugged play and ability to attack the glass was huge for the Celtics frontcourt, which consisted largely of jump-shooting big men.
He was even better as a starter, notching 10.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists on 49.8 percent shooting.
Never an elite offensive player, Humphries showcased an improved mid-range jumper that he was more than willing to shoot.
Per Basketball-Reference, he connected on 47.9 percent of his shots from 16 feet to the three-point arc, a stellar percentage.
He also led Boston in PER at 18.2, more than a full point above the next closest Celtic.
Humphries is an unrestricted free agent and will likely warrant looks from contenders, but the Celts should do everything they can to lock him into a reasonable deal.
Kelly Olynyk: B-
After looking like a potential bust for the first half of the season, Olynyk came on in a major way after the All-Star break.
For the season, he averaged 8.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists while shooting 46.6 percent overall and 35.1 percent from three, but those numbers skyrocketed toward the end of the year.
In April alone, Olynyk averaged 16.6 points, 7.3 boards and 2.3 dimes on 54.7 percent shooting overall and 42.9 percent from distance.
He began the season too timid and lacking consistency in his jumper, but came on in a major way by season’s end.
With his outside shot going down, Olynyk presents a very unique matchup problem. He can drill shots from deep, attack off the dribble and make passes few big men can make.
He needs to work on his man-to-man defense and add some weight, but Olynyk at least is willing to be physical and foul if necessary.
Still, he let opposing 4s notch a 17.9 PER and opposing 5s notch a staggering 24.6 PER, per 82games.
With an offseason under his belt to add muscle and develop defensively, Olynyk is poised for a breakout season and could be Boston’s starting center in 2014-15.
Jared Sullinger: B
Let's get this out there: Jared Sullinger needs to shoot better.
The gifted second-year big man finished a strong overall campaign, shooting just 42.7 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from beyond the arc.
He's still finding his game offensively, and some struggles were expected as he drifted farther to the perimeter, but he's a power forward and needs to be shooting much closer to 50 percent from the field.
This season, Sullinger's average field-goal distance jumped from 7.7 feet to 11.4 feet, per Basketball-Reference. For a player with his skill set and finishing ability, he should be taking far more shots around the rim.
Still, Sully's counting stats are solid. He averaged 13.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists while providing Boston with a consistent force on both the offensive and defensive glass.
The key for Sullinger going forward is to stick to the power forward spot and stop playing center. His PER at the 4 is a stellar 24.3, compared to a pedestrian 16.6 at the 5, according to 82games.
When playing power forward, Sullinger still creates matchup issues with his shooting, but he also uses his toughness and excellent timing to rebound over taller players.
He missed the final three games of the year with ankle troubles, but Sullinger was remarkably healthy in 2013-14 after missing major time as a rookie. He wound up making 74 appearances and playing better as a starter than he did as a bench player.
With the Celtics likely to move on from either Bass, Humphries or both, expect to see Sully playing 32-plus minutes in 2014-15 and gunning for an All-Star berth if he can get his outside shooting up to league average.
Phil Pressey: B
An unsigned free agent who wound up playing in 75 games this year, Phil Pressey’s rookie campaign was certainly a success despite his dismal shooting.
Overall, Pressey averaged 2.8 points, 1.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists, albeit on 30.8 percent shooting from the field and 26.4 percent from deep.
He’s a heady passer who reads the floor well, can thrive in the pick-and-roll and collapse an opposing defense.
He finished the season on a particularly strong note as a passer, recording double-digit assists in four of his final six games.
The biggest issue for Pressey was his shooting, the same problem that plagued him at Missouri. If he wants to be a more consistent NBA player, he’ll need to develop a reliable outside shot.
Still, Pressey produced whenever he got big minutes, including in his 11 starts. During those, he notched 31 minutes per game, averaging 8.2 points, 3.4 boards and 7.2 dimes while shooting 40 percent from three.
Brandon Bass: B
Another year, another season of mid-range jump shots, mediocre rebounding and underrated defense for Brandon Bass.
Bass didn’t do much to pick up extra slack for the rebuilding Celtics, but he held his own in a crowded frontcourt rotation.
He ended up averaging 11.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists while shooting 48.6 percent from the floor.
Bass was also one of just two Celtics to play in all 82 games.
The C’s offensive struggles meant Bass’ looks were less clean than usual, and he was forced to take tougher shots and even attack a little off the dribble.
He has some nifty one-dribble moves but is at his best as a mid-range shooter playing with a dynamic playmaker.
The biggest issue for Bass this year was rebounding, where he needed to be more aggressive to offset the disappointing board work of Olynyk.
Defensively, Bass has always been pretty sound. He’s strong enough to guard the block and rotate out on shooters, despite not being much of a shot-blocking threat.
Unfortunately, the 28-year-old journeyman is likely the odd man out in the Celtics frontcourt of the future.
He is owed $6.9 million in 2014-15 and will almost definitely be shopped to teams closer to contention than Boston during the offseason.
Jeff Green: C+
We now have 82 games of proof that Green has no place being the leading scorer on an NBA team.
Green’s pure counting stats of 16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists are solid, but he struggled to remain aggressive from the field, and his poor percentages reflect that.
He shot just 41.2 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from three-point range, both of which are below his career numbers.
Green produced some pretty solid highlight moments this year, including his buzzer-beating corner three against Miami on Nov. 9, but overall, his play throughout the year was pretty subpar.
He launched a career-high 14.3 shots per game, but far too many of those were long jump shots instead of drives to the rim.
Green is a decent outside shooter, but his best asset is his ability to drive to the hole.
According to Basketball-Reference, this year, three-pointers accounted for 33.8 percent of his overall field-goal attempts, the most in his career by a wide margin. This meant Green was in worse rebounding position, typically, which is reflected by his minimal impact on the glass.
Rondo’s return helped Green, and he did average 18.5 points per game in April to end the year strong, but Green was never particularly efficient or dynamic as a secondary playmaker.
Green had a chance to flourish as a passer when Rondo was out, but his ball-handling was unimpressive, and the low assist total reflects his failure to produce as a point forward.
Defensively, Green was decent against small forwards, yielding a sub-average 14.3 PER, but power forwards posted a 22.4 PER, per 82games.
For context, that’s just a little less than what All-NBA candidate Al Jefferson averaged for the entire season.
With three years and $27.9 million remaining on his deal, it’s safe to say we’ll see Boston shopping Green soon, potentially even this offseason.
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