'Sheed on Way in, Steph on Way Out, Big Baby Situation, and More

Jay KingCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2009

AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24:  Rasheed Wallace #30 of the Detroit Pistons looks across the court in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 24, 2009 in Auburn Hills, Michigan.  The Cavaliers won 79-68.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

With the Celtics firmly entrenched in the dog days of summer, basketball news has grinded to a virtual halt.  Yeah, there’s the occasional free agent signing and the rumor mill, but this time of year sucks.

If you’re a guy like me, you miss basketball season desperately.  You turn on SportsCenter and, where there was once slam dunks and no-look passes, there is now groundouts and pop flies. 

The basketball offseason is truly depressing, and a fan can only look forward to the next basketball action.  Thankfully, the Orlando Summer League begins on July 6—though it isn’t as good as the regular season, at least it isn’t any more f------- baseball. 

To help myself, and you, get through the brutal dog days, here is the latest edition of the Celtics Town Mailbag!

At that place in the draft I think Hudson was a good pick and I agree the Celtics need to upgrade through free agents (buy or kidnap) but they can help themselves also by getting rid of Marbury! 

He is a negative brooding divisive element when the key ingredient for a championship team is team work and working to be all that you can be and helping others to be that, too!  I see he thinks he can start on another team!

What? He couldn’t even play backup and make a difference when that was what we got him for! He was pathetic and when we needed him in the playoffs he might have been better off finding a shrink because he needs someone to shrink his head! 

Get rid of him and let the door hit him!!! Whatever it takes!!! What do you think? - Dennis Brooks (Rochester, IL)

Well Dennis, first and foremost you get the award as most interesting question of the week.  Any time you can mention kidnapping, shrinks, and the long-time Army slogan (“Be all that you can be! Join the U.S. Army!) in one question, you know your question is definitely going to get published.

Now let’s talk about your question.  The Celtics didn’t necessarily take your advice, but they didn’t accommodate Marbury’s requests, either.  After the Celts offered him a one-year, $1.3 million contract (the veteran’s minimum), Marbury seemed as if he’s played his last game for the C’s. 

Apparently, he was very disappointed in the offer, thinking a player of his caliber deserves more. 

Really, Steph?  You deserve more?  Was it your 3.8 points and 3.3 assists over 23 regular season games last year that deserved more?  Or your 34 percent field goals percentage?  No, it wan’t either of those?  Oh, then it must be your reputation as a clubhouse cancer. 

Steph is lucky he’s even being offered a contract by any team.  He should jump at the chance to play for the Celtics, where he can play meaningful minutes and contend for a championship. 

Even if another team offers him more money or an extra year or two on his contract, Steph won’t get a better offer than the C’s.  He should be jumping at the chance to return and change everybody’s mind about his entire career. 

If he does somehow come back, I actually think the Celtics could use him.  You have to remember this about last season—he was coming off a year and a half without basketball when he made his return last year. 

He was rusty, out of shape, and hesitant trying to fit in with the defending world champs.  Give Steph a year of training camp and I think he might turn some heads next season. 

There have been some rumors about the Celtics in talks to acquire Rasheed Wallace, a talented but controversial big man. Do you think they should and what would he bring to the table? – John  (MA)

John, I’ve actually written an article about the possibility of the combustible combination of Rasheed and KG.  However, that one’s more of a funny article describing the personalities of the two stars rather than discussing the effect Wallace will have on the Celtics if he signs.

As a player, Wallace is exactly what the C’s need.  Last season, they sorely lacked a center to come off the bench and give them solid defensive minutes.  Leon Powe and Glen Davis were both undersized power forwards, yet they still had to guard centers on many occasions last year and, of course, struggled. 

Mikki Moore and Brian Scalabrine were, well, Mikki Moore and Brian Scalabrine.  Neither of them will probably ever be a rotation player on a championship team, and both lack what it takes to be consistent low-post defenders.

Rasheed, on the other hand, is a proven commodity on both ends of the floor.  He will be able to guard any power forward or center in the NBA.  He is a very good post defender and a tough rebounder.  Offensively, he will step out and hit a jumper, but can also be very effective scoring on the blocks. 

I’ve heard more than a few people worried about how the addition of Wallace would impact team chemistry, but Wallace is a proven winner and an unselfish player.  I think he would fit right in with the Celtics, who care about nothing but winning ball games.

The Celtics have their own power forward they have yet to resign.  Glen Davis just averaged 16 point and 6 rebounds for the playoffs, and he’s only 23 years old.  Why are the Celtics so focused on signing Rasheed Wallace? – Gary (Billerica, MA)

The Celtics are so singularly focused, it seems, on signing Rasheed Wallace because they realize how much his abilities mesh with their team.  Glen Davis had a great year, and is a young, up-and-coming player, but his shortcomings really hurt the Celtics last year.  He isn’t a great low-post defender, and can be scored over by any decent big man.

Because Big Baby isn’t a good matchup for a lot of people, it really hurt the Celtics when he was forced to guard Rashard Lewis or other perimeter power forwards.  Wallace will make the Celtics a far better defensive team, and defensively is how the Celtics win games.

Big Baby will be a productive scorer in this league for a long time to come, but his deficiencies on the glass and matching up with certain players haunted the Celtics at times last year. 

Still, he can be a very productive power forward, and the Celtics still seem likely to resign him.  Right now, the Celtics can afford to play the waiting game with Davis because they have the ability to match any contract he is offered.  And THAT, more than anything, is why you’ve heard a lot more about ‘Sheed than you have about Davis.

All I’ve heard about the Celtics this past week is Rasheed, Rasheed, Rasheed.  Are they targeting any other free agents? – Petey (MA)

According to Danny Ainge, the Celtics have begun talks with at least 10 free agents.  One of them, obviously, is Rasheed Wallace.  Ainge said the Celtics contacted 10 guys the first night of free agency, to see what they were looking for in terms of a contract.

Outside of spending most of his time recruiting Wallace, Ainge seems content to play the waiting game and scoop up whatever free agents fall through the cracks and will be available for the veteran minimum.

It seems to be the same strategy Ainge used last year that really didn’t work out.  He tried to hang back and wait for the cheap free agents, but the Celtics were spurned and ended up losing Posey and every other player they targeted.  I hope Ainge isn’t as nonchalant this offseason and realizes the urgency to sign a few capable subs.

Guys Danny might be interested in are Grant Hill, Anthony Parker, Marcin Gortat, Shawn Marion (for the right price), Chris Anderson, Antonio McDyess and Matt Barnes.

I really liked your (2010 NBA Mock Draft) rankings, but my only question is do you really think that there is that big of a gap between Lance Stephenson and Xavier Henry? I personally think Henry is the better player because he is a better shooter and slightly bigger. – Scott (MA)

I really think Stephenson’s game is far more suited for the NBA than Henry’s is.  Both players are supremely talented and have dominated the high school ranks for years, but Henry doesn’t have the athleticism that Stephenson does.

I have had the pleasure of watching both of them in person, and came away impressed with both players.  I am just higher on Stephenson because his physical makeup shouts NBA superstar, while Henry, for such a stud, lacks the explosiveness to truly become an outstanding pro. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think Henry will be a very good pro—he already has an NBA-ready body and a great shooting stroke.  I just don’t see him as having superstar potential.  I know Xavier is ESPN’s top-rated player, but he just doesn’t have that extra speed most NBA superstars possess.

Stephenson will be drafted ahead of Henry because of his better upside.  He is a scintillating performer who can go by almost any defender and has great strength to finish at the rim.  He isn’t yet as consistent as he will need to be to be an NBA star, but Stephenson has every skill you’d want in a swingman. 

That’s it for today’s edition of the Celtics Town mailbag.  If you have any questions for the next edition, just submit them using the form here.

Brought to you by Celtics Town.


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