Week 2 Report Card Grades for Every Boston Celtics Player

Mike Walsh@WalshWritesCorrespondent INovember 12, 2013

Week 2 Report Card Grades for Every Boston Celtics Player

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    How are all the Celtics individuals faring this season?
    How are all the Celtics individuals faring this season?Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

    The Boston Celtics are eight games into the 2013-14 season, and there are a lot of grades to hand out.

    Excluding Rajon Rondo, the Celtics have 13 players available on a nightly basis, and 10 or 11 of those bodies are seeing regular minutes.

    Those grades that maybe started out pretty low with four straight losses have flipped to the positive with their recent four-game win streak. The Celtics have seemingly figured out how to win, while also taking advantage of three games against weaker teams.

    Boston is playing well as a team right now, and we'll see if they are also grading high individually.

    Let's take a stroll into the Bleacher Report classroom.

Avery Bradley

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    2013-14 Stats: 13.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.8 steals

    After a few miserable offensive games to open the season, Avery Bradley has had the ball taken out of his hands by Brad Stevens. 

    This has been great news for the Boston Celtics, as well as Bradley individually. He simply is not a point guard. He doesn't have the skills and they haven't developed over three-plus NBA seasons. By allowing Jordan Crawford to control the ball more and inserting Phil Pressey for legitimate stretches, Stevens has allowed Bradley to play a more comfortable role.

    What he has done recently is what he can do alongside Rajon Rondo. His defense hasn't slipped a bit. Bradley is somehow still catching opposing guards sleeping with pickpocket steals and swipes off inbounds passes.

    His shot has been up and down thus far, but he hit a fair amount of jumpers in the past two games against the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic. Playing off the ball more recently has allowed him to get back to cutting, where his straight-run speed can decimate opposing backcourts.

    Week 2 Grade: A-

Jordan Crawford

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    David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

    2013-14 Stats: 11.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 50.7 percent shooting

    For his career, Jordan Crawford is a 40.5 percent shooter. Therefore, this current run he is on is doubtful to last.

    Crawford is shooting 50.7 percent on the season, which is due for quite a serious regression. His jump-shooting numbers are simply not sustainable when judging from the view of his career as a whole.

    What may not need to regress is Crawford's distribution numbers. Obviously, they too are well above his career average, however, there are reasons for this. He is playing a role right now that he hasn't been asked to play previously.

    At Xavier, Crawford was asked to be an elite scorer. The same went for his early years playing for those terrible Washington Wizards teams. Now he is being allowed to take his time and develop something organically as a sort of quasi-on-court leader.

    His abilities as a ball-handler were previously clouded by things like shot selection. Crawford has always been a very good with the ball in his hands, he is just making better decisions right now.

    Some of those assist numbers are being inflated due to some crazy hot shooting by Brandon Bass and other bigs, but Crawford is facilitating his teammates in a way we've never seen from him. Even if his shooting regresses to the norm, there is a role for him on this team while Rajon Rondo recovers.

    Week 2 Grade: B+

Jeff Green

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    David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

    2013-14 Stats: 16.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 48.1 percent three-point shooting

    Everyone is obviously high on Jeff Green right now. His game-winner against the Miami Heat and overall clutch numbers speak for themselves.

    However, it hasn't all been great for Green lately. There are still consistency concerns, though we may be narrowing down the root of that issue.

    It occasionally seems that Green will struggle to get going offensively. That may be because he doesn't totally fit into this offense. Green doesn't always move well without the ball. Some of that is the new level of attention he is seeing and some has to do with his own abilities. That disappearing critique is a result of his inability to be open and available. 

    He is so forceful, graceful and flat-out talented with the ball that the other negatives are hidden. I don't want to call it sulkiness, but something like that sets in and can also affect his defense, which hasn't been great thus far.

    Lazy defense stemming from uninvolved offense isn't good for Green or Boston, and that buzzer-beating fadeaway isn't always going to fall. This year was built for him to explode, so he is being held to a higher standard.

    Week 2 Grade: B

Jared Sullinger

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    Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

    2013-14 Stats: 11.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 50 percent shooting

    Jared Sullinger appears to be nearing 100 percent health. Brad Stevens is still easing him into a regular role, which does bring about some concerns.

    Sullinger has been playing very well lately. When he comes off the bench, there has been a noticeable uptick in the team's offensive production. He has also been finding creative ways to be an effective defender. Using his body at that end is still going to take some work, but the effort is there.

    The concerns are that maybe Sullinger is just a great 25-minute-a-night player. His numbers are great during these stretches he is on the floor, but those stretches aren't amounting to near starters' minutes.

    Stevens sees something that is making him hesitant to let Sullinger loose. It may just be conditioning, which brings up possible other issues. Boston's new head coach is smart though, so I trust him to make the right call with Sullinger.

    Stevens may just view him as best suited for this smaller role, thinking that more minutes will only dilute the production.

    Week 2 Grade: B+

Kelly Olynyk

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    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 9.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 steals, 41.9 percent shooting

    Kelly Olynyk has worked his way into a starting job in very little time.

    The move of Olynyk to the starting unit has been a boon to the Boston Celtics offense. It isn't just his own shooting, which has been up and down, that has helped, but his willingness to shoot and the threat he presents.

    With him on the floor over Vitor Faverani, Kris Humphries or Jared Sullinger, opposing bigs have to check further outside the paint and earlier in the play development. Olynyk's clips aren't very good, but he is getting up almost 10 shots a game. That is opening up penetration and passing lanes for Boston's other players.

    It is also opening up passing lanes for him. Kelly is creative with the ball and is starting to understand NBA spacing and speed when it comes to passing out of double-teams. He has nine assists over the last two games.

    Olynyk's defense has been a step above nightmarish at times. He is still getting lost and tuned up by some of the better offensive bigs Boston has faced. The effort is definitely there, though. That effort can be seen in his rebounding. He is making attempts on almost every Boston miss.

    He'll get better and the fouls will shrink in frequency. That may not happen for quite a while though.

    Week 2 Grade: B-

Brandon Bass

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    Fernando Medina/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 12.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 blocks

    The shot that left Brandon Bass last season for whatever reason has returned once again.

    The Celtics power forward is putting up some ridiculous mid-range numbers this season. Lately he has been a particular benefactor of the Jordan Crawford and Phil Pressey moves. With a legitimate distributor, Bass is money from mid-range, 12-of-15 to be exact. With Avery Bradley at point, Bass dips to become a very weak player.

    He has clearly come out this year with a renewed energy and is embracing a new kind of role. In game play, he is very much the same guy. However, as a returning starter, Bass is in a way leading a new frontcourt. This is showing at times defensively, as he is often one of only players in the right position.

    Bass' overall numbers are solid, but not great. If he improves a little bit at the rim by developing some sort of post move like Jared Sullinger, those numbers will rise to a very respectable level.

    Despite the wins, Bass may still be auditioning for other teams. Brad Stevens is giving him a lot of minutes and he looks very attractive to a legit contender.

    Week 2 Grade: B

Gerald Wallace

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 5.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.0 steals

    With the Boston Celtics wins, Gerald Wallace has quieted down his off-court proclamations.

    He is also getting back to playing good complementary basketball. Wallace isn't shooting when he doesn't need to, deferring to teammates and picking up some key assists, steals and rebounds.

    He is also utilizing athleticism and ball-handling to make his rebounding valuable. A major aspect of Wallace's game that is helping Boston is his ability to take his own rebound into a fast break. His size and willingness to mix it up inside allow him to get the ball into transition quicker than anyone else on the team.

    Sadly, Wallace is looking more overpaid every day. What he is giving to Boston is solid and important, but so much of what he once was is just not there anymore. If we're taking salary expectations into account, his grade suffers severely, but for now, the Celtics will take what they can get.

    What they've gotten thus far hasn't been that bad at all. Games like his performance against the Miami Heat, six points, six rebounds and seven assists, are helpful for a young Boston team.

    Week 2 Grade: C+

Courtney Lee

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    Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

    2013-14 Stats: 8.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 57.1 percent shooting

    Courtney Lee is being used in a very limited role right now. However, Brad Stevens is squeezing the best of Lee out in those slim minutes.

    Lee hasn't seen 20-plus minutes since Nov. 3, but is shooting a very impressive 57.1 percent clip. 

    Give Stevens a lot of credit for recognizing what works with Lee. He is going to shoot five or six times per game, but he is going to do that whether he is playing 17 minutes or 37 minutes. That is what was so maddening about Lee last season. It seemed as if he was shying away from putting the ball up.

    Now, 17 quality minutes isn't exactly what you'd like to be paying north of $5 million for each of the next three seasons. Therefore, Lee's grade will suffer, as he isn't worth the price.

    Still, you have to at least be pleased that he is on a hot streak to open the year. After 2012-13, he needed it.

    Week 2 Grade: B

Phil Pressey

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    Brian Babineau/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 3.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 turnovers

    You can't really criticize the guy whose playing time leap has coincided with a great streak of basketball being played by the Boston Celtics.

    For this team, Phil Pressey has signaled a change in philosophy. The basketball has been taken completely out of Avery Bradley's hands, and when Jordan Crawford isn't bringing it up, Pressey is.

    What Pressey is giving Boston is confident ball-handling and court vision in the second unit. He'll always be limited by height and shooting ability, but his NBA skills are floating to the surface lately.

    Whatever scoring he brings to the table this season is a bonus. What Boston needs from him is limited turnovers and quality entry passes to start an offensive set.

    Week 2 Grade: B

Vitor Faverani

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    Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

    2013-14 Stats: 5.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 1.6 blocks

    After some gaudy stat totals to open 2013, Vitor Faverani has settled back down.

    Faverani has been replaced in the starting lineup and is now assumed a role as a backup big for the Boston Celtics.

    There are going to be games where he plays real minutes and games where he probably picks up a DNP. What recent games have shown us is that Faverani is keeping himself ready.

    Against the Miami Heat and Utah Jazz, Boston stayed out of foul trouble and he remained on the bench. Against the Orlando Magic, twice he needed to play and came away with five rebounds in each game while averaging 15.5 minutes. 

    He isn't going to be the force we saw in the opening games, but Faverani is motivated by keeping an NBA job, which will help Boston in spots.

    Week 2 Grade: C+

Kris Humphries

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 4.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, 58.3 percent shooting

    Like Vitor Faverani, Kris Humphries is going to have to get used to seeing DNPs while keeping himself in game shape and ready to contribute.

    After playing seven total minutes in the previous five games, Humphries' number was called against the Miami Heat. He answered with nine points, five rebounds and a pair of blocks in 19 minutes.

    For $12 million, spot minutes every fourth or fifth game isn't exactly ideal. However, that is what the Celtics are looking at right now.

    Week 2 Grade: C

MarShon Brooks

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    2013-14 Stats: One game, 0.0 points, 0.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists

    MarShon Brooks hasn't played in the past five games, in which the Boston Celtics are 4-1.

    It is safe to say at this point that Brooks isn't going to be a sizable part of the Celtics' season, barring an injury in their backcourt.

    That Phil Pressey has started making waves and earning minutes has only further forced Brooks down the depth chart.

    Week 2 Grade: D

Keith Bogans

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: One game, three minutes, zero stats

    Like MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans is going to be riding the bench this season for the Boston Celtics.

    There are two differences though. First, Bogans could offer something in veteran bench leadership that Brooks doesn't. 

    On the other end, Bogans is making about $4 million more than Brooks. At $5.06 million this season, a veteran to help out in the locker room isn't worth it.

    Week 2 Grade: D

Rajon Rondo

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: Hasn't played

    Rajon Rondo's heart was in the right place with his cheesy beard in the home opener, no matter what your overall thoughts were.

    It is interesting to try to find places to see his imprint on this roster, even from his perch on the sideline. One of those spots I believe is Jordan Crawford. As much as it was Brad Stevens making the switch to define Crawford as the point guard, Rondo had a hand in how well he has played.

    There are little things that Rajon Rondo did while playing that you can see Crawford emulating. The hop-step on a fast break to try to throw off the defender's footing, give-and-goes with Avery Bradley and Jeff Green and wrap-around kickouts to the perimeter.

    The team is playing well right now and might be gearing up his return. Either way, Rondo has had a hand in these wins from the bench.

    Week 2 Grade: B

Brad Stevens

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    Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

    2013-14 Stats: four wins, four losses, minus-0.3 point differential

    Brad Stevens has been pretty outstanding over his first couple weeks as an NBA coach.

    There is a lot to like about the quick adjustments he has made in pulling the ball out of Avery Bradley's hands and making spot use of certain players like Kris Humphries and Courtney Lee.

    He has started integrating capable ball-handlers to run his fast-paced offense and technically drew up that game-winner against the Miami Heat.

    What I've enjoyed most about Stevens is how he is making players earn their minutes. He didn't gift wrap starting gigs to Kelly Olynyk or Jared Sullinger. Olynyk had to earn his spot and Sullinger is still working on it. He is willing to hold Humphries out and limit Gerald Wallace at times, despite their contracts.

    Even Jeff Green isn't being given anything easy. Stevens benched him for an important fourth quarter, sending a message for his star to get his head on straight.

    Stevens' Celtics haven't been beaten badly yet. They have had opportunities to win each of their eight games and are riding high on a four-game win streak right now.

    Despite that, Stevens is clearly not getting ahead of himself. Just more stuff to like from Boston's most important rookie.

    Week 2 Grade: A+


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