Boston Celtics Rotation and Roster Spots Up for Grabs
There is a surplus of big men in the frontcourt, but there's also a lack of consistency and talent. Head coach Doc Rivers must decide who's worth keeping on the final roster, as well as who will be the most efficient backup for Kevin Garnett.
On the other end, the Celtics have many talented shooting guards in the backcourt. Between Courtney Lee, Avery Bradley and Jason Terry, the battle for rotation spots will be intense. Unlike the backcourt, the depth of the frontcourt is filled with great talent.
There are a few roster spots up for grabs and plenty of players ready to take those spots. However, who is actually capable of handling those positions?
The biggest opening in the Celtics' rotation is backup center. Kevin Garnett's spot at starting center is a given, but no one player stands out as a totally efficient backup.
Boston recently signed free-agent center Darko Milicic to a minimum contract. Although the Celtics now have plenty of depth in the backcourt, depth unfortunately doesn't equal talent.
Milicic only averaged six points and 4.2 rebounds during his entire NBA career.
However, one of Milicic's strengths is the pick-and-roll. The Celtics tend to run that a lot, so Milicic could be a big help in that department.
Before Mililcic's signing, Chris Wilcox was Garnett's most likely backup. Coming off of heart surgery, there was still a question of whether Wilcox would be able to perform at a high level. Wilcox is a dynamic player in transition, but he has trouble when asked to post up or defend.
Finally, Jason Collins is another option for backup center. The veteran has virtually no offensive game, but he is a decent defender. He only averages 3.9 rebounds in his career, but his defensive game keeps him relevant.
The Celtics will probably start the season using Milicic as Garnett's primary backup. Hopefully he can shake his draft bust reputation and contribute to the team.
When former Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry joined the Celtics, some thought it was safe to assume he would be Boston's go-to sixth man.
However, that's not quite the case.
Terry thrives at the sixth man role. The Celtics needed a player who could come off the bench and spark the offense, and that's what Terry does best. In fact, he averaged 15 points per game off the bench last season for the Dallas Mavericks.
In addition to his ability to create his own shot, Terry has plenty of experience that will help Boston in the postseason.
On the other hand, Jeff Green is an athletic small forward who will back up Paul Pierce. After much anticipation, Green is finally returning from heart surgery and fans will finally get to see if he lives up to the hype. He averaged around 15 points and six rebounds for three straight seasons as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. That type of production will do wonders for the Celtics secondary unit.
The opening for sixth man on the Celtics roster could go either way. Both Terry and Green have something to bring to the table. Ultimately, it depends on how well Green bounces back after heart surgery.
Starting Power Forward
One of the most entertaining battles on the Celtics' roster this season will be for starting power forward. Fans are already comparing Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger.
Bass earned his current role as starting power forward through hard work and consistent play last year. He averaged 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds on 31.7 minutes of playing time. Bass came into his own last season, developing a beautiful 15-18 foot jump shot.
Overall, the Celtics know what kind of production they will get when he is on the floor.
Sullinger is the young, fresh-faced rookie who dazzled crowds at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He has an impressive low-postgame and small size advantage over Bass, but his ability to rebound is what makes him stand out.
The Celtics are a terrible rebounding team and they need all the help they can get, and Sullinger can help turn things around on the board.
Bass needs to maximize his full potential by developing a strong post presence if he wants to keep his starting spot. During the Summer League, Sullinger averaged 8.6 rebounds per game. If he can keep up that production in the regular season, the Celtics will have no choice but to start him over Brandon Bass.
Starting Shooting Guard
Following the departure of Ray Allen, the starting shooting guard position is still up for grabs.
Courtney Lee is the starting shooting guard for now, but he hasn't locked down the position. Avery Bradley earned the role of starting 2-guard last season before he suffered a shoulder injury.
However, if Lee and the Celtics are playing well, Bradley might not start upon his return.
Standing at 6'5", Lee is equipped to handle bigger shooting guards like Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson. Like Bradley, Lee is young, athletic and a great perimeter defender. While he's not spectacular on the offensive side, he is good enough to get the job done.
In fact, Lee averages 10 points per game for his career on 44 percent shooting.
While Lee has more experience at starting shooting guard, Bradley was very impressive last season. While Allen sat with an ankle injury, Bradley lit up the court with his excellent lockdown perimeter defense. He has more potential than Lee to make a bigger impact on the team.
When Bradley is healthy, he will be the starting 2-guard for Boston. At only 21 years old, he is the future of the Celtics. He thrives at defense, which is exactly what Doc Rivers is looking for.