The Celtics have a shooting guard problem*
Posted by Brendan Jackson on Aug 7, 2012
The Celtics lost one of the game’s best shooting guards this offseason, and they have responded like any newly available scorned lover: they’ve tried to make it with every available replacement. Luckily for the C’s, they can hang their hat on the fact that they’ve snagged two hot commdodities in the SG game in Jason Terry and Courtney Lee. The C’s may be old, but they’re still hot.
On paper it looks like Ray Allen left for the younger, more zestful Miami Heat but in actuality the parting was more mutual than you’d expect. Sure, Paul Pierce is “a little bitter” and Doc Rivers is claiming responsibility for not being a good marriage counselor. But really, the C’s and Allen both left each other for younger, more desirable replacements.
Only the C’s have gone completely overboard in their attempts to feel wanted again. They signed Terry to replace the projected off-the-bench scoring Allen was to provide. They traded away their two draft picks from last season, money, and some roster flexibility three years from now in order to nab to ultimate athletic Three and D guy in Lee. The C’s even invited Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith to training camp with the idea that one of them would make enough of an impression to take the path once forged by the great Goldie Blocks himself, Greg Stiemsma.
That’s four guys already, but the C’s are apparently not done.
Speaking from under his ambassador hat at this summer’s Olympic Games, Doc Rivers told Ole that he would love to sign Carlos Delfino but can’t afford him.
Replacing Ray Allen was an obvious concern after he defected, but the Celtics appear to be consumed with it. So much so, that they are sacrificing valuable time that should be spent polishing other parts of the roster.
It would be silly to quibble about third and fourth options behind first ballot hall-of-famers if it weren’t for how badly the C’s roster was decimated last season. The Celtics started the year with Stiemsma being the third center off the bench behind Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Wilcox and ended the season with Stiemah as the first person off the bench to back up Kevin Garnett.
With the team’s injury history, the C’s will have to be prepared to use every single player on their roster. Right now, the Celtics best option to backup Garnett and Brandon Bass is Chris Wilcox. Since he can’t play both backup roles at the same time, especially with the expected decrease in minutes for Garnett, the Celtics will have to rely on someone else. The other options include Jason Collins and rookie Jared Sullinger: one unproven player and one player proven to be limited offensively.
There is a thought that the C’s could play Delfino at the three in short bursts but the data at 82Games seems to suggest that it would be a bad idea. When defending the SF position, Delfino’s opponents put up an average of a shade under 20 in PER. That is B.A.D. bad. To put that in perspective, Mickael Pietrus fared much better in defending small forwards as they averaged just under a 16 in PER. As you can imagine, Pietrus also defended SGs much better than Delfino. The only competition that’s still undecided between the two is for worst tattoo (basketball dragon or barbed wire arm band?). The point is, why waste time thinking about Delfino when the C’s could be trying to convince Pietrus to come back on the cheap. Or explore signing another small forward, power forward, or center?
The questions that still remain: why is the interest in shooting guards still so strong? Are Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge on the same page when it comes to Dionte Christmas and/or Jamar Smith? As in, does Ainge want at least one of them as a cheap alternative to an established veteran and Rivers doesn’t want to play an inexperienced player? Is Avery Bradley’s health more of a concern than originally thought? Was Doc Rivers just asked a question by an Argentine website and was just making political niceties? Ultimately, it’s probably just that but none of the other explanations are out of the realm of possibility.
*maybe I just have a shooting guard problem.