It feels like yesterday the Celtics were walking off the court in Miami in game 7 one win shy of reaching the NBA finals once again. Obviously it was not yesterday and a lot has happened in 3 months. Ray is gone; insert Jason Terry and many other veterans along with a good group of young rookies looking to make an impact right away. Looking at this Celtics team, it is the deepest it has been since the 2008 championship run maybe even deeper than that. I will be taking a look at the top 15 that will make it to opening night less than a month away in Miami.
C-Brandon Bass: He said he left more money on the table to resign with the Celtics this off season to a 3 year contract extension. Playing the most minutes of his career Bass will start the season as the Celtics starting Power Forward. He was originally supposed to be this teams center off the bench last year but Doc and Danny felt it was better to move KG to the five spot once the JO situation fell apart. A great move for both players and look for Bass to have another solid year playing next to two Hall of Famers in KG and Paul.
G-Avery Bradley: Coming out of nowhere last year Avery starting getting playing time because of his defense and once Ray struggled Doc inserted him into the starting lineup and we finally got to see the reason why Danny spent a first round pick on him last year. He will most likely be out until January so we will have to see what Avery will bring when he returns a few months into the season and if he gets his starting shooting guard position back once he returns.
G-Dionte Christmas: The summer league star who basically won a spot on the roster from his great play in Orlando and Vegas. He is a flat out shooter from beyond the arc and has the ability to go coast to coast. A nice back up plan he is, as Christmas will get the 15th spot on this roster and be in Portland the whole season unless an injury pops up. A great story and a great kid I love his game. It is well deserved for him to make this roster.
C-Jason Collins: A Veteran Big that is a nice find for the Celtics. Collins can play 10-15 minutes a game and give you good defensive play and rebounding which the Celtics struggled at last year. Most importantly fouls. He has six of them so why not use them all.
C/F- Kevin Garnett: The big ticket is back as a multi-year contract with the Celtics he signed in July will allow him to retire in green. He never wanted to go anywhere and if he was leaving it was to go back to Malibu and live happily ever after with no regrets. But you know what that is not KG he loves the game to much too just walk away with the way things ended last season. He does not want people to think he was a one hit wonder winning only one title. He is hungry and had a great season last year in my opinion his best season since the 08 title run. His minutes will be limited once again but KG will be playing a lot more center and sometimes back at the four with the big men depth the Celtics have this season. Look for another solid year from the ticket.
F-Jeff Green: This is one of the two players I am really looking forward to watching this year. After sitting out all of last season with a heart condition, Green is back with a new 4 year deal and looking to show Celtics nation why Danny traded away Perk for him. He can play the 3 or the 4 and is the guy I believe that can fill the James Posey role as stopping Lebron James. He has the length and the quickness to keep up the Lebron. We just have to see if being a year away from the game will hurt him at the start of the season. I cannot wait to see how Green plays this year as he will be heavily counted on to give Paul Pierce a break and play some 4 when the Celtics decide to go small.
F- Kris Joseph: The Celtics second round pick who reminds me a little of Paul Pierce will get the 14th roster spot on the team and play along with Christmas in Portland unless an injury happens. Joseph is a perfect Ainge second round find, (think Leon Powe and Ryan Gomez) a four year player at a big time school Syracuse, he will look to play some big minutes in Portland and hope to be commuting to Boston a few times this season.
G/F- Courtney Lee: Besides Jeff Green this is the other guy I am really looking forward to watching this season. After absolutely stealing him from Houston and signing a 4 year deal, Lee had a break out year with the Magic a few years back and then got lost in Houston. He can shoot the 3, defend well and slash to the basket. He will be starting in place of Bradley while he is out according to reports; Lee like Bass needs to play with great players so he can finally show the skills that he has. He needs to play in meaningful games and have a big role and being the in the starting lineup he will be counted on to play some big minutes. Really excited to watch Lee play this year, as he can have a Bass type break out season with Rondo as his back court running mate.
C- Fab Mello: The second of the Celtics two first round picks Melo is a big time project with great upside. Look for him to be the 13th player on the roster as he will join Joseph and Christmas in Portland this season. Hey you can’t teach size and that’s what Melo has, A 2 year project before you will see him make in impact in Green.
F/G: Paul Pierce. In the best shape of his life he is telling everyone look for another Paul Pierce type year. Look everyone talks about this is Rondo team and I maybe the last person on earth that still thinks this is Pierce’s team. Yes the offense may run through Rondo but as long as #34 is on the team it’s his team no questions asked.
G- Rajon Rondo: He should be in the MVP conversation this season plain and simple. Like I said this offense will go as far as Rondo will take them. The only problem besides him improving his shooting I have is that he needs to play hard every single game and not coast like he has in the past. If he wants to be in the same category as Rose, Westbrook, and Paul he needs to play like it every night.
F- Jared Sullinger: The steal of the whole draft in my eyes, Sullinger is a big baby type with better athleticism and scoring ability. If he came out last year no doubt he would have been a lottery pick, but concerns about his back during the draft had teams passing on him. Nope not Danny Ainge as I have a feeling he was the guy the Celtics liked the whole time back in June. He will be playing some solid second unit minutes this season but look for Doc to ease him into the rotation and not rush him right away.
G- Jason Terry: The Ray Allen replacement who was at the top of Doc and Danny’s wish list. He is one of the best sixth men in the league and unlike Ray can create his own shoot off the dribble. He can light it up from 3 point range and slash to the basket when he needs to. Great scorer off the bench, look for “the jet” to be in the hunt for the sixth man award again this year playing some big minutes off the bench.
F/C- Chris Wilcox: Coming off a heart condition this season Wilcox was a nice big man for the Celtics before his season ended early last season. Wilcox plays hard on both ends of the floor and like Collins will give you solid minutes to give KG and Bass much needed rest. Wilcox is a great rebounder and can run the floor with Rondo.
C- Darko Milicic- The former second overall pick has not had the NBA career he was hoping for as he has been on several different teams and has not been a big factor anywhere he has gone. He has the chance to come here and be the 12th man and be a depth guy for this team. Don’t expect a lot from Dark as he is what he is a big man with skill but it has just not worked out in the league for him. Let’s face it if Dooling did not retire Darko would not be here.
G-Jamar Smith: May end up on the Claws if he does not get a deal overseas.
C-Rob Kurz: A body for camp.
F-Micah Downs: A good offensive threat but once again just a body for camp looking for a team to catch on with overseas.
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