We have 17 players on our roster right now. Most of us figured that Grant would be waived, leaving just one player to be cut from the team. Today's Globe indicates that Danny may keep Grant on the roster for trade fodder if two other players don't distinguish themselves in camp. Of course, there may be a trade and all our speculation will be for naught. Here is a look at the players who may be on the cusp.
First, Kevin Pittsnogle. He was the last player signed and most fans couldn't understand why Danny brought him in. He played very poorly in the Summer Leagues. He is 6'10" or 6'11" depending on the website you are looking at and is a 3 point specialist with very little low post game. Now, Doc may want to try to replace Raef with another big who can shoot the 3, but from all accounts, Pitts can't do much else. He isn't a rebounder, lacks quickness and his slow foot speed make him an average to below average defender. It would seem that one of the roster spots should go to a big who can rebound and block shots. We have several wing players who can hit the 3 and extend the defenses. We need our bigs to be rebounders and shot blockers and be able to play under the basket. Pitts doesn't fit that role. His lack of speed may be his biggest weakness on a team that wants to run. I believe he will be one of the cuts.
My second choice for a cut would be Scalabrine. Last year, he was obviously out of shape the entire year. He never fit into the system and while he did some good things on the floor, he did an equal number of things that hurt the team. Scal has one thing going for him though that the others don't, and that is that he is a veteran and a good locker room guy and is great on the bench encouraging guys who are in the game. We do need veteran players to fill that role and as long as he doesn't get too much playing time, I can deal with him on the team. In the article on the Seeds of Peace camp it mentioned that Scal was swimming a mile across the lake and so maybe he will come into camp in shape this year and that would make a big difference. If we keep Scal for his veteran presence, who else could be cut?
There is Allan Ray who was undrafted and plays a position where we are stacked. But Danny really likes him and has been gushing about how good he is. He is a great scorer and would be good as a microwave type player off the bench to jumpstart the offense if it was stagnant. He is a decent defender and is a quick player who fits the mold that Danny is trying to bring in for the Celtics' running game. He did very well in Summer League and I can see Danny wanting to keep him on the team.
Leon Powe is another of the rookies who has a partially guaranteed contract. I really like this kid and see his work ethic and character as huge selling points for keeping him. He may be slightly undersized for the 4 but he is very athletic and has added 3 inches to his vertical leap since last season. He also has long arms that help to make up the difference in height. He has a knack for rebounding and has good foot speed to fit right into the running game that Danny is trying to institute. I just don't see any way that this kid doesn't make the team. The only question about him has been his reconstructed knees. But since he has played on them a full year in college and didn't seem the least bit tentative in Summer League, I don't think that will be a problem.
Another possible cut could be Dwayne Jones. This is a real puzzle. Word was that Danny insisted on having Jones included in the deal with Minny. He lead the D League in rebounds and blocked shots last year. He is a little raw, but still does a lot of good things when he is on the floor. He is built like a rock and has great size with long arms. He is extremely athletic and runs the floor very well. He is a terrific shot blocker and can block shots with either hand. He has great timing and has a knack for rebounding. It seems that he is everything we could want in a center, but yet he didn't even get much playing time in the Summer League. I think it would be a mistake to cut a kid who can rebound, block shots, and who is quick and athletic and 6'11". I would definitely keep Jones over Pittsnogle and over the expiring contract of Brian Grant.
Right now, Tony Allen is on this list. Tony's biggest problem right now is legal. He is awaiting trial for battery charges from the scuffle almost a year ago in Chicago. He is also recovering from knee surgery for the second off season in a row. Last off season, he had surgery and it took him until after the All Star game to get back to normal and begin to once again show the promise he had as a rookie. After the season, Danny said that he had arthroscopic surgery on it once again to clean it out and in every report about him, it says that he is recovering from off season knee surgery. Danny is waiting until Tony's legal problems are settled to decide on picking up the option on his contract for next year. If Tony is convicted and will have to spend time in jail, he may be cut by default. It would be a shame because he is a player who could really help us if healthy. He is quick, an excellent defender, and can score the ball. He would fit perfectly into the running game. That is IF he is healthy, and IF he isn't in jail.
I don't see Theo Ratliff being cut because he is our only veteran in the middle right now. We are very thin in the center and Ratliff could really help us if he can stay healthy. In spite of being fairly invisible since the trade, I believe he will come to training camp and be part of the team.
Rondo has distinguished himself and there isn't any way that he will be cut. I can even see Rondo giving Telfair and West a run for the starting PG spot and possibly even winning it. I also can't see any of our 2nd or 3rd year players being cut.
So that leaves us with Pittsnogle and Grant being the two most likely to be cut before the season starts. Scal, Ray, Powe, Jones and Allen being the outside shots to go if somehow Pittsnogle out plays them and none of them play well enough to make Danny want them more than an expiring contract.
Lets give a shout out to the great job FL12 has been doing writing all these terrific articles. Every one has been a really good read.
I really like the players who may potentially be cut. Allan Ray and Leon Powe in particular. I even like Scalabrine (all he needs to do is cut down his dancing with the ball and find his niche in the offese). Rather than just cutting them and losing them for nothing, I'd think that Ainge would try and get something for them, whether it be future second round picks, or expiring contracts.
But something has to be done. We're just overcrowded and we need better players in the 1 - 10 range.