Boston Celtics: 10 Moves the Team Needs to Consider Making Next
The Boston Celtics head into the offseason with decisions to make in free agency with their team, players they could potentially acquire from other teams, and possibly trade options.
With Allen playing in his last year of his contract and both Pierce and Garnett with contacts expiring in the next couple of seasons, the team does eventually need to look for new, young talent.
With the acquisition of JaJuan Johnson and that of E'Twaun Moore in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Celtics move one step in the right direction for contending for an NBA championship next season.
Headed into the offseason, the Celtics must make decisions on the plethora of free agents with the team, as well as those around the league who the team might consider picking up in free agency. Thaddeus Young, Jamal Crawford and Nick Young are some who they could sign.
At the shooting guard, power forward, and small forward positions, the Celtics lack depth and are in need of a deeper rotation going forward.
Here are the 10 moves the Boston Celtics need to make heading into the 2011 NBA offseason.
Re-Sign Delonte West
If the Boston Celtics want to have another shot at making the NBA Finals and taking home an NBA championship next season, Delonte West must remain a Celtic.
However, West is not a star, nor is he necessarily a deserving starter in this league. As a veteran with a smooth jump-shot, solid passing ability and tough defensive play, West could play a crucial factor come playoff time.
In Game 3 of the second-round series against the Miami Heat, West replaced Rajon Rondo, who had dislocated his elbow in the second half. West was able to step-in and not only maintain the double-digit lead, but even increase the lead by several points. His shooting ability forces defenders to play tough perimeter defense on him, something that Rondo lacks and must add to his game.
Last season West averaged 6.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game, while shooting 46 percent as well. Tough to get much more production off the bench in just 18 minutes of play a contest.
Get E'Twaun Moore into Back Court Rotation
The Boston Celtics are not a team that need's to begin rebuilding just yet, as the Big Three are still members of the team and still winning basketball games.
E'Twaun Moore was selected by the Boston Celtics with the team's second-round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Moore, a 6'4'' shooting guard out of Purdue, is not a complete step-down from Marshon Brooks, a shooting guard who the Celtics had previously selected with the 25th pick in the first round of the draft. The Celtics would soon after trade Brooks for the rights to Moore's teammate, JaJuan Johnson.
If the Celtics take time in the off-season to work on Moore's game and get him working with the bench and starting rotation, he could easily be a member of the back court rotation this season alongside Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Delonte West. Add Moore into the mix and there is a back court to reckon with in Boston, boasting both talent and youth.
Moore is a scoring two-guard that can put pressure on a defense with his solid jump-shot and quick first step to the basket. Last season with the Boilermakers, Moore averaged 18 points a game.
Give JaJuan Johnson Playing Time with Starting Five
JaJuan Johnson has got it going on. His game is the real deal.
Johnson is a raw, athletic and talented power forward that demands attention from an opposing squad. He likes to score the basketball as well as make plays on the defensive end with his length. The Celtics could use a lot of Johnson's game to their advantage.
LeBron James and the Miami Heat were able to dismantle the Celtics in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, starting with the front court play. Garnett was the only big man playing solid basketball, as Glen Davis, Nenad Krstic, Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal were either non-factors or simply failed to put together productive minutes on the floor in the postseason.
Johnson not only adds to the team defensively, but also boasts an ability to score the rock. Giving Johnson minutes with the starting-five in practice before the season begins will allow him to have a more immediate contribution when the 2011-2012 season tips-off. Throughout the season continuing to play some minutes with the starters will also help to develop his game and give him more experience.
Re-Sign Glen Davis
Big Baby, cry no longer. Don't you worry, the Celtics will need you next season, despite a borderline awful postseason performance.
Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis had easily a career-worst postseason in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, scoring 4.9 points, grabbing 3.6 rebounds and shooting just 39 percent. To put it into perspective, Davis played just eight minutes more per game in the regular season and averaged 11.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and shot 44.8 percent.
Regardless of his poor postseason performance, Davis is young, talented and overall a positive player for this Celtics team. Despite the talk of Davis leaving the C's, don't be surprised if Davis is in green and white come next season.
Spend Time Improving Rajon Rondo's Offensive Game
It's certainly not the prettiest thing in the world when Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo pulls the trigger.
Rondo is arguably one of the better point guards in the game. To most, he is a lock as a current top 10 point guard in the NBA.
The problem is that Rondo struggles mightily in one area that seperates him dramatically from the rest of the pack: He flat out can't shoot the basketball.
Rondo has a decent, average jumper at best. At times, defenses don't feel the need to play closer than 10 feet to Rondo on the perimeter. Once Rondo can shoot the ball, his game will open up leaps and bounds, as he will force defenders to play tighter defense. This works to his advantage, as he has one of the quickest, more explosive drives to the basket of any guard in the league.
Last season he also shot 56.8 percent from the free-throw line, a figure that must improve going into next season.
Re-Sign Jeff Green
Jeff Green was acquired by the Boston Celtics from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the well-known "Kendrick Perkins-trade." The Celtics also picked up Nenad Krstic in the deal, while trading away point guard Nate Robinson as well.
Green brought experienced play to the Celtics team. Despite being a younger player in the league, his experience came from playing starters minutes on a young, Oklahoma City Thunder team. He was able to develop his game, and in turn bring that experience to Boston.
The guy plays tough defense, has a decent shot and is an athlete that can finish strong at the rim. Green had assignments of playing defense against the Miami Heat's LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in the 2011 NBA Playoffs.
He also gives Paul Pierce time to rest on the bench, which will help Pierce keep fresh legs and avoid injury throughout the course of the season.
Sign Thaddeus Young from the Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers power forward Thaddeus Young is now a free-agent after his contract expired at the end of this past season. Young is a player the Celtics must look to offer a contract to, as his production speaks for itself.
In just 26 minutes a game, on a team that plays more through their guards than their front court, Young averaged 12.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and shot 54.1 percent from the field. He also shoots a solid 70 percent from the free-throw line.
Young is a player that would benefit the Celtics immediately, while also developing the team for the inevitable departure of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the next couple of seasons. Young is 23 years old, and has plenty of time to improve even more as a player in this league.
With Young, JaJuan Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal and possibly Glen Davis as well, there is a solid front court down in Boston. Young is a power forward, but is a player capable of playing a center role as well.
Keep the Big Three Together
Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett have played an integral part in turning around a franchise that once was arguably the league's worst, to a consistent NBA championship contender.
The Boston Celtics organization must face the facts—this Big Three are aging, and it is uncertain just how long they will able to keep producing for the team. There are rumors that the Celtics would trade a player like Allen for younger talent to try and prepare for the future.
The bottom-line: the Celtics shouldn't and won't give away any of the Big Three before the start of this season. Having Allen, Pierce and Garnett on the team, while also boasting Rondo's top-knotch play at the point guard position, the Celtics are a team that automatically contends for a title.
What makes the three an effective unit is in how they each play their different roles effectively.
Pierce provides leadership, and attracts attention on the perimeter as well as in the lane. Garnett has the ability to stretch the floor and play tough defense. Allen is a shooter that gives the Celtics a sure option on the perimeter, as Pierce helps to open up a lot of those shots when driving to the basket.
A strong indicator in keeping the Big Three is in each player's production last season, as it is improved from two seasons ago.
Ray Allen had a career-best year shooting from the field and three-point range. Garnett improved his scoring and rebounding, averaging 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Pierce shot a career-high 49.7 percent from the field and 86 percent from the line, while also managing to improve his rebounds and points per game.
Make no mistake, they are aging, but trading away Allen or any of the Big Three for youth is not the answer.
Do Not Re-Sign Carlos Arroyo, Troy Murphy, or Sasha Pavlovic
Carlos Arroyo, Troy Murphy, and Sasha Pavlovic are all free agents now that the 2011 NBA Playoffs are in the books.
If the Boston Celtics know whats good for them, neither one of the three players will be back for the team next season.
Pavlovic is a shooter that hasn't been hitting, Murphy is a decent, big man that the Celtics no longer need, and Arroyo is simply not good enough of a player to keep around. Delonte West gives the Celtics what they need as a back-up point guard, so re-signing Arroyo would be a waste of time and money for the C's.
To their credit, the three are solid veteran players who fulfill different roles and do them well, for the most part. Yet with no room in the cap last season, the Celtics have to free-up as much as they can, and failing to re-sign any of these three players would constitute as intelligent moves.
Sign a Solid Shooting Guard in Free Agency
The Boston Celtics don't have too much money to work with in free agency, but picking up a solid shooting guard would be key going into next season.
Aside from E'Twaun Moore, the Celtics don't have much back-up for Ray Allen in the shooting guard slot.
Adding either Crawford, Richardson or Young would inevitably improve the Celtics chances at taking home an NBA championship when it's all said and done. Crawford and Richardson would be more expensive acquisitions, as they are proven veteran talents and scorers in the league.
Nick Young would also make for a positive addition, as he has shown the league he is a top-knotch scorer with the ability to shoot or get the ball to the rim. He also plays solid defense, although that is an area Young can improve. He would be a cheaper addition, although he is a restricted free agent that the C's must match an offer of 3.7 million dollars.
With any one of these three shooting guards, the Celtics are a much improved basketball team.