Derren posted this good look at our positional depth. We certainly have depth at each position. Although many are still young, I expect many to break out this season. But we are too deep in some ways. Most of these kids need playing time to complete their development and they won't be able to get it with so many players ahead of them. We may see some of our young players go to the D League to continue their development until there is more room on the roster for them to play. Of course, as we found out last year, injuries may cause us to need all these players by the end of the season.
An early look at our depth chart:
For a long period of time, we were talentless and depthless at this position. We actually had Jr Bremer and Tony Delk manning the spot 4 years ago. Since then, we've had a bit better luck, with an over-ripe Gary Payton and an underrated journeymen named Chucky Atkins. But those days may long be gone and we may be in for an exciting era of fast paced Celtics basketball, thanks to the PG's Ainge has brought this summer. He traded away for Sebastian Telfair, a talented young PG who's dying for a chance to show his magic, and he swapped 1st round picks with Phoenix to acquire Rajon Rondo; another playmaking prodigy with tremendous speed and court vision. These 2 PG's are geared to run full throttle and deliver crisp passes to anyone who's willing to get open. Their passing ability and court vision are second to none compared to the PG's we've had the past decade. Beyond Bassy and Rajon, we have the trustworthy Delonte West, the rookie Allan Ray, and Tony Allen, who can play spot PG duties.
We'll start off with Wally Szczerbiak, since he's been an All-Star in the NBA. A healthy Wally is a productive Wally. Last season, he had trouble exploding off his right knee, and this hampered the way he played. He wasn't able to drive as strongly as he normally could, and he couldn't get the lift on his jump shots like he's accustomed to. Now that he's had it taken care of, we should expect to see a more productive Wally, and this is saying quite a bit because he actually looked very good in our offense after coming over in the trade. A sharp shooting Wally is valuable in our run and gun offense. Beyond Wally, we have a bunch of young combo guards who act as PG's during the day and SG's at night. Delonte West should see time on the court as a backup SG, and he'll take right over where Wally left off because of his accurate shooting. Tony Allen will also provide backup minutes here, and I wouldn't be surprised if Doc tries to find minutes for Tony wherever he can. Tony is a suffocating defender and an excellent slasher and these are the little things that help us win games. Allan Ray is suited more for playing SG than he is PG, and he's also a terrific shooter. Doc is definitely blessed to have such depth at the 2 guard.
Paul Pierce is the only guaranteed starter on the team, and he's earned it. He's a deadly scorer because of his midrange and 3 pt shooting ability, as well as his uncanny ability to get to the free throw line. He's also a good post up player, but doesn't use this part of his game as he should. He's truly tough to stop because he has so many ways to score. At the end of the game, no matter how hard a defender tries, Pierce ends up having a good scoring game. If you throw off his shooting rhythm, he'll kill you at the line. If you cut off his angle to the basket, he'll step back and drill a jumper. He's a veteran scorer now and knows how to get his points. Behind of Pierce waits the young, but highly talented Gerald Green. Green's shooting stroke is advanced for a second year player out of high school. He can elevate and get off a good shot most of the time, and towards the end of last season, he was getting pretty comfortable looking for his shot. His one on one game is much further along in development than his team game, but he's working on it. He has a chance to be a big time scorer off the bench in a year or two, and we have the luxury of waiting for him to grow into the role because we have Pierce, Wally, Delonte, and Tony Allen covering for him.
Though our wing spots may be our strongest and deepest position right now, our PF spot could very well challenge that distinction very soon. Fans are undecided about Al Jefferson's future projectibility, but no doubt about it, he has the talent to be a stud. He's got size, quickness, explosiveness, touch, and instincts to score and rebound in the trenches. Now he has to prove that he has the desire and determination to make himself into the player he's capable of being. Staying healthy and gaining confidence will be a big factor in how quickly he starts blossoming. Breathing down Jefferson's neck is Ryan Gomes. If Jefferson slips even a bit, Gomes is right there to pounce on the situation. Gomes is a consumate pro, even if this is just his second year in the league. He's a gamer; a guy who knows how to play the game. He's one of the best at cleaning up the boards and putting the ball back up for the score. He can step out and bang in a 20 footer, he will run the break and finish the play, and he will crash the boards and grab tough rebounds--all without being told to do so. He's truly a blessing to have on the team and a good example for the young guys because he plays like a professional. And if it wasn't a miracle that we landed Gomes with the 50th pick in last year's draft, this year we may have landed another big 2nd round steal when we were able to trade for Leon Powe late in the second round. Ainge got on the phone and called every team who had a pick in the second round, trying to secure Powe. And Denver rewarded his diligence by agreeing to swap 2nd round picks for the powerful stud. Leon Powe is a darkhorse player. He has a lot of game in his chiseled body. Blessed with incredibly long arms and a quick spin move in the post, Powe has made a living in the paint playing against taller competition. Like Jefferson and Gomes, Powe is a terrific glass cleaner and garbage player. Each of these 3 young PF's lurk around the basket as the shot goes up and they time their jump perfectly to tip in missed shots back towards the hoop. Powe is a strong rebounder and does an excellent job at keeping loose balls alive when he isn't directly in line to pull one down. One of these 3 guys will emerge as our starting PF for the next decade.
Not as deep as we would like this spot to be, but Ainge has improved our depth a bit by bringing in Theo Ratliff and Dwayne Jones. (My wish would be to land Greg Oden, but that's as far a chance as trading for Lebron James) Perkins remains our hope for the future, and he's more than willing to live up to the task. He's a mountain of a player, and that's after losing more than 40 lbs of body fat since his high school days. He's now chiseled and rock hard and this has increased his agility, his mobility, and his vertical. His role on the team is to be the enforcer and the guy who gives us toughness inside. He's also learning how to set better picks, and with his big body, he can clear a lot of space for his teammates. He may not get the recognition around the league as some of his fellow teammates may (Jefferson, Gerald, Sebastian), but his role on the team is just as important. Ratliff and Jones will need to step in and keep up the rebounding intensity when Perkins goes to the bench. Dwayne Jones has the chance to really work himself into a bigger role, and since Ratliff has a history of injury problems, we must hope DJ does so.
All in all, we have a lot of depth and talent, but very young depth and talent. 11 players on the team have 2 years or less of experience in the NBA, not including Perkins, who has a mere 3 years of limited experience. Doc has the unenviable task of getting this team to play like a playoff team, but at the same time, develop the young players. Its a blessing to have such a collection of solid talent, but we're going to have to get through the growing pains first before we see the fruit of Ainge's masterful work. If Ainge keeps this team intact and lets the younger players grow, develop, and mature, we will have an incredibly deep roster that could possibly be the NBA's best. [More] source:Celtics Green - Derrenmatts