Boston Celtic Rankings: Who Drives the Green Machine?
The Boston Celtics are 51 games into their 2011 quest for another NBA championship, and things have gone better than expected.
The team has had to overcome their share of injuries and the challenges of a revamped Eastern Conference, yet they’ve stood up to the task.
Each member of the team has contributed in their own way, but some much more than others. Let’s rank the team from top to bottom and find out who has made the most significant contribution to date.
15: Avery Bradley
The good news is that Bradley was dominating in the NBDL for the Maine Red Claws. He averaged 17.1 PPG, 5.2 APG and even recorded nine steals in one game. It’s a step in the right direction for the talented rookie.
The bad news is that Avery is just far too inexperienced to contribute on a nightly basis for the Celtics. His stint in the D-League will hopefully pay off as his rides the pine with the team while Marquis Daniels is out.
14: Delonte West
Because Delonte has only played in five games this season, he gets marked down. You can’t look past that one telling statistic.
Delonte is returning from a broken wrist soon, so that should hopefully vault him up the rankings before too long.
13: Jermaine O'Neal
You want to hear a funny stat? Jermaine O’Neal has made $18,778.50 per minute so far this season. Sure, that number will go down if he sets foot on the court again, but at this rate, who knows?
O’Neal has been a bust and more than likely won’t prove to be effective down the stretch run and into the playoffs.
12: Luke Harangody
Harangody has proven to be a productive late-second-round pick for the Celtics. While he may not get on the court too often, he’s proven he can be effective and expectations for him have been surpassed.
No longer thought of as a potential heir to cult hero Brian Scalabrine’s throne, Harangody is producing as a “poor man’s” Glen Davis, a gritty player who can contribute in a lot of different aspects.
11: Von Wafer
Von Wafer has played a very similar role to that of teammate Luke Harangody, but he beats out Luke for the 11-spot due to his playmaking ability.
Wafer has shown a solid ability to drive to the hole and get shots off. Of course, he doesn’t shoot particularly well, but he’s another person who can generate offense if needed to.
10: Semih Erden
Semih Erden has played fairly well in his NBA rookie season, much better than most would have expected. He adds youth and a different style of play when contrasted to the much more physical styles of Kendrick Perkins and Shaquille O’Neal.
Like most of the Celtics centers, Erden looks to have durability issues which may hinder his development to some extent. Nevertheless, it’s hard to argue with the bursts he has provided in his young career.
9: Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins returned to the Celtics at just the right time. All of the other three centers are banged up, and the C’s are in desperate need of a physical inside presence.
The best part of Perk’s return is that he doesn’t look out of sync with the rest of the team. While his scoring is down, his rebounding numbers are up and his minutes are only a shade below the last couple of seasons.
Perk will easily move up to the fifth or sixth spot on this list as the season progresses.
8: Marquis Daniels
While Boston fans are wishing Marquis Daniels a speedy recovery, the team will have to move forward without their backup small forward.
Daniels doesn’t light up the stat column, but he plays a well-rounded game that is hard to replace. He can defend, drive to the hoop, and handle the rock when needed to. These are three key elements that aren’t possessed by any of the other bench players.
7: Nate Robinson
Nate has been sufficient as the team’s backup point guard, even though he doesn’t always make the best decisions. However, while he is inconsistent, he is an energy guy who isn’t afraid to make plays.
He can still score in bunches and has stepped up his game when thrust into the starting lineup, so he is valuable, if unspectacular.
6: Shaquille O'Neal
Shaq has played as one should have expected him to. The injury numbers have started to add up, which is becoming more and more of a concern, but he’s still a factor when he’s on the floor.
When you actually factor in that Shaq is only playing 20.7 MPG, his numbers are actually pretty solid. 9.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG and a healthy 66 percent from the floor. Let’s hope Shaq can maintain this type of production after the All-Star break.
5: Glen Davis
While Glen Davis won’t get many first place votes for the 6th Man of the Year award, he’s been huge in that role for the Celtics.
Baby is still improving his game and has amazing intangibles that don’t always show up in the stats column, but are instrumental to the team’s success.
4: Kevin Garnett
A lot of people have been calling this season a “comeback” or “bounceback” season for KG, but in truth, it has been fairly comparable to last season. Good enough to make the All-star team though.
Still, he’s “healthier” than last year, which is a step in the right direction. He will need to step up his play and be more of an enforcer on the court, but there is a high level of risk associated with that type of play, so it remains to be seen which KG will come to the playoffs.
3: Ray Allen
Ray has been a refreshing sight this season. His numbers are up, percentages included, and he’s about to break the record for most career three-pointers. You can’t really ask for much more.
But the thing that really been a difference maker, is Ray’s durability. He’s chipping in 36 minutes a game and looks as fresh as ever, working his way around the court. He’s one of only four players to make it through all 51 games thus far.
2: Rajon Rondo
If the name Rajon Rondo wasn’t cool enough by itself, I’d say it was about time for the Celtics’ All-Star point guard to get a nickname. The way he’s played this year, he deserves it.
Rondo really holds this Celtics team together. It’s been said before, but without him, the Celtics are nowhere nearly as good as they are now.
1: Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce is still the best player on the Celtics. Like the other members of the big three, Pierce has seen a slight uptick in his production this season. He’s also another of the Celtics players to not miss a game this season.
You really can’t ask for more out of your top player. He scores, he hustles, wants the ball with the game on the line and he’s a leader.