NBA Predictions 2011: Predictions for Every Boston Celtics Player
You have to consider the Boston Celtics winners in the NBA lockout. The veteran team has peaked too early in recent years, and the shortened season could aid their quest for one last championship run.
To do that, they are going to have to ask for one more extension from Father Time. Here is how each member of Gang Green will fare in the upcoming season.
One thing I do not understand about the Boston Celtics: Every time a trade is brought up, Rajon Rondo is the guy they want to get rid of.
Rondo is a special player and the exact type of athlete that represents Celtics basketball. He is savvy, defensive-minded and has a ton of heart. At 26 years old, he is also the only player the team has a chance to build with for the future.
If Rondo ever got a jump shot, he could be one of the great point guards of all time. As it stands, he is an elite passer and defender and a great energy guy. The Celtics need to keep him around and get ready to build around his talents.
Projected Stats: 11 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. League leader in assists.
Ray Allen continues to be one of the best-conditioned athletes in the NBA. Last season, The Boston Celtics shooting guard set career bests in field goal and three-point percentages at the ripe age of 35.
The question is how much longer can the ageless wonder do it? With everything the Celtics have at stake I say "Jesus Shuttlesworth" still has one more year left to play at an elite level.
Projected Stats: 16 points per game, 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from three, 90 percent from the line.
With another championship, could Paul Pierce move in as one of the three greatest Boston Celtics of all time?
NBA championships are the standard in Boston, and to have a chance to join Larry Bird and Bill Russell in the Celtics' Holy Trinity, Pierce needs that second ring. This is his last chance to do it, and Pierce knows it. Expect a slight uptick in production in his last run.
Projected Stats: 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists per game.
It was rumored the players and owners were set to make a deal in time to save the entire NBA season. Then Kevin Garnett came in the room and "#&!@ed everything up."
My theory is Garnett, after 16 years of playing every night like it was Game 7, knew he might benefit from a shortened season more than any player in the NBA.
There is no denying the heart and soul of the Boston Celtics has worn down. He is far from the player that averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds for an incredible nine straight seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves. This season, Garnett is the old gunslinger strapping it on one last time, prepared to take on all odds for that last shot at glory. I'm rooting for him, but just like in the movies, I don't think it ends well.
Projected Stats: 13 points, 9.5 rebounds
To play at their best, the Boston Celtics need their center to be an enforcer. Unless they make a move in free agency, that role is left to Jermaine O'Neal.
O'Neal can still be a decent player when his body allows it. What he really needs to work on is taking on that tough-guy mentality, even if it just a ruse. O'Neal has never been known for his toughness before, but the Celtics need it now more than ever.
Projected Stats: 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks
If the Boston Celtics are going to compete for a championship, Jeff Green will play a huge part in it.
I hated the Kendrick Perkins-for-Green trade in the short term for the Celtics, but loved it in the long term. After playing out of position at power forward his whole career with the Oklahoma City Thunder, I belive Green can be an all star at small forward.
For now, he will have to settle for being a super sub. The good thing about playing with Kevin Durant is that Green had to learn how to play everything from shooting guard to power forward to get his minutes. Green can sub in for any member of the Big Three and the team will hardly miss a beat.
Green is a multi-talented athlete with a knack for defense. He also might be the best player the Celtics have to pair with Rajon Rondo, who would thrive with an athletic run-and-gun team.
Green became a scapegoat last season, as the trade may have cost the Celtics a championship. In reality his points dropped because his minutes were cut nearly in half, and his field goal percentage actually increased with Boston. I expect more minutes and much better chemistry with his Celtics teammates.
Projected Stats: 30 minutes, 14 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals per game. Sixth Man of the Year Award.
Avery Bradley played in just 31 games as a rookie. Unless the Celtics do not bring in another point guard to back up Rajon Rondo, there is no reason to expect more production.
Projected Stats: 2 points, 1 assist per game
Potential Free Agents
You will notice the Boston Celtics only have six players under contract (Jeff Green is a restricted free agent, but the team has expressed interest in bringing him back). Could they be big players when the free agency period starts on December 9th?
There is no free agent out there that would look better in Celtic green than Tyson Chandler. This move would make the Celtics a true contender to come out of the Eastern Conference. Chandler has a big contract coming to him, but Boston should be able to stay in the sweepstakes.
The second-best big man on the market, Nene would not be a bad consolation prize if the Celtics lose out on Chandler. He will provide the rebounding and toughness expected of a Boston center.
Glen "Big Baby" Davis
Don't look now, but Glen Davis' minutes and stats are getting closer and closer to that other Boston Celtics' power forward, Kevin Garnett.
What he lacks in athleticism and hops, "Big Baby" makes up for with toughness and a soft touch. Last year was the best of Davis' career, and I don't think he has quite reached his ceiling.
With Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Davis, the Celtics' rebuilding period may not be as painful as we anticipated. Throw a solid center and a dynamic scorer in there, and you have a playoff team.
I expect the Celtics to bring their one-time project back.
I could see why the Boston Celtics would bring him back: He can back up both Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen, and has plenty of playoff experience. As long as he has not been trouble in the locker room (which cost him his job in Cleveland) I would expect Boston to give him another run.