NBA Draft 2011: Can the Boston Celtics Find a Shooting Guard of the Future?
The Boston Celtics have aged tremendously since their championship run in 2008.
Allen picked up his player option for this offseason and will be back for at least one more year. But will he return to play under Doc Rivers again? All indications would lead us to believe Rivers came back with the plan to stay competitive.
Allen is a piece of that, but only for so long.
Once a jump shooter's legs go, they become useless. We saw this with Reggie Miller, who some believe to be just as good, if not better than Allen. Allen is working with borrowed time right now, and the Celtics need to find someone to fill his role now rather than wait and hope that person comes along.
The NBA Draft is as good a place as any to find a shooter, especially in the late part of the first round where many scorers find themselves left because they either lack size or overall athleticism.
Three players who could fit into the Boston Celtics' system this offseason are Klay Thompson of Washington State, Marshon Brooks of Providence or Nolan Smith of Duke.
Thompson most closely resembles Allen's current game. He is a shooter who can line it up from deep. Although he's not overly athletic, he is able to find open spots. Thompson should see his stock rise and may be gone by the 25th pick, but he would be a steal if he's available.
Brooks is more of a natural scoring guard who can create for himself. Unfortunately, he is a bit undersized, and that may be a problem for the defense-oriented Rivers. Brooks doesn't shoot particularly well from outside, and it will not help to have two backcourt players who can't spread the ball.
Smith is also undersized, but would provide that team-first mentality off the bench right away. Being able to create for himself is a huge plus since Allen has lost a step, and it makes it difficult to start the fast break at times. Smith would help spread the floor and may be the best fit right away.
Multiple reports have the Celtics finding depth at shooting guard this offseason by signing Tracy McGrady, or in one instance Vince Carter was mentioned. Neither of these will be long-term options. If the Celtics address the shooting guard position through free agency, Marcus Thornton would be the best bet.
Thornton excels at scoring—it's what he does. He would easily help the Celtics on the offensive end as a bench player and then as a starter. Thornton has been a malcontent before though, so Rivers and Ainge may not want to risk that this offseason as it is perhaps the last run for the Big Three.
The best option the Celtics may have is Delonte West.
Already familiar with the system in place, West struggled with injuries and coming off the bench. He is not the world's best point guard either, where he was primarily used. When paired with Rondo in the backcourt in the playoffs, West hit his stride though and looked like the stud that blew up at St. Joseph's.
Whatever the Celtics choose to do, waiting is not an option—the best option right now is drafting Klay Thompson.
The Celtics have moved to find a replacement for Paul Pierce in Jeff Green and will likely address the power forward position in the next year or so. Landing any of these players to replace Ray Allen right now will be a move in the right direction to show Doc's extension was not signed in vain.
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