Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The Celtics lost Ray Allen, but reloaded by signing Courtney Lee and Jason Terry. Can their two new additions replace their former star shooting guard? We analyze the Celtics' offseason.
The Boston Celtics lost one of their most iconic players this summer with the departure of Ray Allen to the Miami Heat, but they reloaded nicely with several younger additions. Here's a look at what each new player will bring to the club next season.
Lee arrived to Boston late in the summer, but with Avery Bradley sidelined until December with an injured shoulder, Lee is a pivotal acquisition that fits the Celtics beautifully. He won't completely replace Ray Allen's skills, but he does enough where the Celtics won't miss Allen as much as most think.
Lee's strength is spot-up shooting, particularly from the corners. He hit 43 percent of his spot-up three-pointers last year with the Rockets, according to MySynergySports.com, and he also hit 49 percent of his corner three-point attempts of any kind. While the sample is small, Lee also hit 47 percent of his transition three-pointers (16 of 34), according to MySynergySports.com. Clearly, he's really good at hitting one of the game's most efficient shots off the pass, in many different forms. This will allow him to fit in seamlessly with Rajon Rondo. He'll be a shooter that can drain corner threes when Rondo drives baseline and slides bounce passes along the endline, and he can run to the three-point line in transition and be the beneficiary of Rondo's ability to push the ball.
What he can't do is run off screens in a half-court set like Allen could. This will force Doc Rivers to adjust his half-court offense, because Allen's off-ball movement set up so many opportunities for other players in the past. Rondo may need to carry even more of a playmaking role this year.
The artist still known as JET is still a useful player, but he's not quite as dangerous as he once was. His true shooting percentage has been in steady decline, and he scored fewer points/36 minutes last year than in any season since 2007.
That's not to say the Celtics won't use him heavily. He's still very dangerous in the pick and roll and spotting up beyond the arc, and he's also a clutch player that has made big shots in the playoffs during his career. I think the Celtics will sometimes have him spell Rondo, where he'd spend some time running the offense and other times playing off Paul Pierce. Otherwise, don't be surprised to see him in small lineups with Rondo and Lee or Bradley.
Green's not technically a new addition, but since he missed all of last season, he essentially acts as one. The next person to argue that Green is appropriately compensated at $9 million a season will be the first, but that doesn't mean Green won't provide value to the Celtics. He's struggled during his career as a smaller power forward, but the Celtics will primarily use him as a backup to Paul Pierce. Even if Green sometimes plays at the same time as Pierce, he can help by guarding more perimeter players and spending more time spotting up beyond the arc instead of banging with bigger players. Backup small forward has been a problem spot for the Celtics for several years, so Green is a major upgrade there.
That doesn't mean he was worth $9 million a season, though.
The Celtics' four rookies will probably play limited roles on a veteran-laden team. Jared Sullinger has the best chance of making the rotation, as he's well-equipped to carry the undersized bruiser torch Leon Powe and Glen Davis passed down to him. Fab Melo is a project, while Kris Joseph and Dionte Christmas will make their biggest impact in practice.
Offseason grade: B