Obviously, this current vintage is not a winner. In fact, this looks to be a team that will lose about 60% of the games it plays. Are any current Celtics worth keeping around for a time when this franchise is in the business of winning again? Do any of the young guys show signs of being reliable players for a winning rotation? Are there any cornerstone players currently on the roster?
Let’s take a look at the current roster and see what we’ve got here.
Rajon Rondo – Alright, I was wrong. He’s the best PG they’ve had since forever but his presence means nothing when it comes to wins and losses. The only thing that makes me hesitant is those times he goes full Hulk mode in the playoffs. But, with the way this franchise is shaping up, the playoffs are probably a few years off. He’s not really carrying the team on his shoulders through the bad times, so there is really no particular reason to keep him past the trade deadline, especially if a contender has a PG go down.
Jeff Green – We all know he is what he is. Some nights, he can carry the offensive load. Maybe 5 nights a season, he’ll commit to playing tough defense. With the way salaries are going, he’ll be underpaid soon, if he isn’t already. Still, being underpaid and being a winning player are two different things. Jeff’s career 44% shooting and 53% total shooting percentage are about as vanilla as his average game is. If Green opts out next summer, I think you have to let him go, given that someone will vastly overpay him. If he doesn’t opt out, there isn’t any real reason not to keep him around another season.
Avery Bradley – Young Avery is now 24. He should be entering his prime. He remains a streaky outside shooter who’s three point efficiency varies wildly from season to season. He has also shown to be fragile, having never played more than 64 games per season. He’s playing on a new contract which will rise from $7M to close to $9M. That shouldn’t be much of a deterrent. Given the paucity of good shooting guards, I kind of lean towards keeping him around for a while. Still, his shortness is bothersome guarding his position and he doesn’t get many steals for a heralded defender.I think he’s one of those guys you just keep until you can find an upgrade. With his contract situation, they have that luxury.
Jared Sullinger – I believe he is being done a disservice by allowing him to heave up threes. He’s an undersized PF who puts up great numbers on his 2pt shots, yet his total contribution is blunted severely by the three point shooting. His passing this season has been eye opening and should be something to keep dibs on as the season rolls on. Right now, he looks like he could be a 20/10 guy by his age 25 season. Unfortunately, he’ll never be able to guard his position worth a damn. This is the kind of player you hold onto like grim death until you can trade him for an upgrade. You don’t trade him for two lesser players or draft picks. He’s a lot like Al Jefferson in that regard and should be used in a similar trade down the line.
Kelly Olynyk – His shooting efficiency says he should be an effective player. His defensive shortcomings say he’s a backup center in the league, at best. Does anyone really want a backup center that cannot defend the position, though? His defense will not improve. He’s already older than Sullinger, who is nearly equally hopeless defending. The best case scenario I can see with this player is starting him at center until he’s 25 or so. By then, the team’s pace and offense might inflate his value somehow. But if you are starting him, it is a big white flag. You just will not win many games with Kelly Olynyk as your starting center.
Evan Turner – Pure ZeroVORP, unless he’s turning the ball over more than usual, in which case he’s completely worthless. His minutes at the point are confusing, to say the least. He will never have an acceptable shooting percentage for his size/position due to his three point woes. The Celtics have him under contract for one season after the current one. We’ll likely see the end of him then.
Marcus Smart – He’s a strong defender on a team that doesn’t play defense. It will take him years to get to his prime. I’m not sure the Celtics will have the luxury of waiting for Smart’s prime and I’m not convinced his prime will be worth waiting for. I’ve said this before, young guys that will be stars show it almost immediately. It does take longer for point guards, so you have to give him a little more rope but I’m skeptical right now. He might be the guy that gets packaged with Sullinger for a star level player, if that opportunity ever shows itself.
Brandon Bass – He’s been declining as a rebounder for about three seasons now. He will never be worth much of anything in trade. He doesn’t have many skills aside from hitting 14 footers and sinking free throws after a rare offensive board. He’s the most likely player to have a defensive board hit him on the ass. Still, he has always worked hard and has never been a malingerer. This is his last season under contract with the Celtics. I don’t hate him nearly as much as some here, though, so I would not mind him re-signing in Boston for something around the MLE for a couple seasons. Anything more than that, in dollars or years, and I would wish him well in his future endeavors.
Tyler Zeller – If the friggin guy is going to continue to sink 80% of his field goal attempts, hell, he can fucking start for me. I don’t care that he’s awful defensively. He’s got better size than Olynyk, decent hands and he’s sinking 80% of his attempted shots. We’ve got this season and next season to discern whether or not he’s the greatest shooting seven footer in the history of the NBA. In reality, though, he doesn’t seem to be a guy that hurts you out there and as long as that continues, I’m guessing the Celtics will want to keep him around.
Marcus Thornton – While I like him as a mad bomber coming off the bench, he is currently making too much money and expires at the end of the season. I would have no problem if they re-signed him for something around $4M/season but I’m guessing he thinks more of himself than some 15 minute per night backup. No tears will be shed at his departure.
James Young – If he makes it, it will take him many seasons to do so. It is also highly unlikely that he will make it with the team that drafted him. Guys like Young tend to get traded a couple of times before they get it. There is also no guarantee that he will ever get it. Young won’t be worth much in trade over the life of his rookie deal either, so the Celtics are probably stuck with him for a couple more seasons.
Gerald Wallace – Kill it with fire.
Phil Pressey – It is beyond my comprehension why Pressey is still a Celtic. He has no real skills. He plays a position that has three players ahead of him on the depth chart. If he doesn’t go to sleep every night saying, “Every day is a gift,” to himself, it would be astounding.
That is all I’ve got. I like a couple guys as backups but really don’t see any major cogs for a winning team at present. Depressing, but it is what it is.