We all know that the Celtics are at a crossroads, and the options are pretty simple; blow it up and start over, or make another run at a ring. Something tells me that with Doc back, this veteran bunch is going to give it one more shot. Here’s what I believe they should do to get back to the NBA finals:
Let Big Baby walk away
I know, I know, letting a backup big who knows the system and can hit the open jump shot doesn’t sound like the greatest idea. And I’ll be the first to say that I love his skill set; Davis plays hard, hits the open jumper, and can throw his weight around and make plays around the rim despite being a bit undersized. I appreciate everything Baby has done for the Celtics over the past few years, I really do. I just believe that there will be better options this offseason than a player who’s mental lapses are becoming a serious problem and will get overpaid on the open market. This team can’t afford him to vanish like he did at points during this postseason.
If this is the course of action, the Celtics need a replacement. I love Jeff Green, but they need a more traditional big that can allow Green to slide over to small forward when needed. There are definitely veteran options, none of which I would give more than a one year deal that would further prevent free agent flexibility(I’m looking at you, Dwight Howard). My list includes; Nazr Mohammed, Kris Humphries, Kenyon Martin, Samuel Dalembert, Reggie Evans, even Troy Murphy.
Get a defensive stopper
This just in-Tony Allen is not walking through the door.
Give Pierce a lot of credit, but the possibility of him having to guard small forwards such as Danny Granger, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron throughout next year’s playoffs will wear The Truth down on both ends of the court.
Again, assuming that this is a short term fix, a couple of nice free agents stick out to me. Shane Battier, DeShawn Stevenson, Tayshaun Prince, Grant Hill, and Josh Howard have all proven their perimeter defensive ability over the years and would be content coming off the bench. Even more importantly, Paul and Ray can focus more on their offense and less on checking LeBron and company.
Give Jeff Green a chance
As I said earlier, I’m a fan of Green. Doesn’t mean I necessarily thought that the Perk trade was a good idea, but I acknowledge that the Georgetown standout brings a lot to the table. He is one of those guys who isn’t quite big enough to be a full time power forward and not enough skill to play small forward, but the guy knows how to play. His athletic ability along with his 6’9 frame gives him the potential to defend a wide variety of opponents both on the perimeter and around the hoop.
Green needs a full season with the team to truly show us why Danny Ainge believed he was worth giving up Perk. He can get to the hoop very well, draw fouls, and make his open shots. For a team without a standout center, I really believe that a late game lineup of Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Green and KG can be highly effective on both ends of the court. Remember, the Celtics have a tendency to play without a “true” center down the stretch. Even with Perk on the team, Doc often chose to go with James Posey or Big Baby as his second big next to KG.
Inject the second unit with a little scoring
For as good as this team can be on defense, they certainly go through stretches where they can’t seem to score, especially with the second unit. Very painful to watch.
Delonte has proven to be able to score in spurts, but who knows if he’ll be back. That may depend heavily on Avery Bradley’s development. It looked to me like Glen Davis felt like he had to carry the offense with the second unit; and at times, I don’t blame him. A guy like Jamal Crawford would be ideal, but I can’t see him being affordable. That being said, this might be an issue that is solved by a few smaller moves.
I would give Troy Murphy another shot. He very recently proved with the Pacers that he can still score and shoot the 3 effectively. His problem this year was that he simply wasn’t given much of a chance, on the Nets or the Celtics, and didn’t have his legs under him. That simple. Is Michael Redd worth a one year contract? Maybe not. But I’m sure he can still shoot a little. Roger Mason is a name I like who could be very affordable after being buried in the Knicks’ bench for most of the season. Mason proved he can shoot a little while on the Spurs, and he could earn a roster spot if Delonte decides to walk.
If the team decides to compete for one more year, improvements need to happen. In an improving Eastern Conference, they might just have one more chance at a title.
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