It is that time again when we give out grades for the Celtics for last season. In grading the players, I can see a lot of improvement over the last season. Here is my 2006-2007 report card:
Tony Allen B-minus Tony was playing very well and was becoming a leader on the team when he went down with the knee injury. He was our best perimeter defender and was playing the best ball of his career. If he had stayed healthy, he would have gotten an even higher grade.
Ryan Gomes B-minus Gomes has shown that he can play both the 3 and the 4. He has increased his range and even added a fairly reliable 3 pointer to his game.
Gerald Green C-minus Gerald got a lot of playing time because of the injuries and showed that he is not quite ready for prime time. He still struggles with defense and in his last few games, seemed to lose his shooting touch as well. He showed flashes of brilliance but just as many games where he looked completely lost.
Al Jefferson A-minus After being written off by many as soft and a bust last season, Big Al came into the season on a mission. He averaged a double double (16 ppg and 11 rpg) this season and has proved to be one of the best young big men in the league. He still needs to improve his defense but next year, expect him to be even better.
Michael Olowokandi D plus He played well when he got the minutes but he was injured much of the season and didn't really contribute all that much. But he was a good locker room guy and didn't cost all that much.
Kendrick Perkins B In spite of a painful case of plantar fasciitis, he continued to play and as the foot got better towards the end of the season, he started to show some excellent defense, taking on Dirk, Duncan, Shaq and others and playing them very well. He is an excellent passer for a big man and showed some decent moves on offense toward the end of the year as well. Al and Perk showed some great chemistry when they finally got to play together. Perk is poised to break out next season just as Al did this season.
Paul Pierce A minus Pierce is still the star of this team, but missed significant time due to injuries for the first time in his career. He came back from the injury out of shape but still proved his importance to the team on his return. His injury gave his teammates time to grow and learn and it also gave Pierce more trust in his teammates.
Kevinn Pinkney Incomplete Pinkney played well during his brief 10 day stay with the Celtics. He may get a shot in summer league and depending on what moves are made this summer, he may get another shot next season.
Leon Powe B Powe proved that he can play in this league. He plays hard and doesn't back down from anyone in the paint. He has a knack for rebounding and his huge wingspan allows him to out rebound taller players. Hopefully Danny keeps him around. He is a character guy who works hard and can only get better. He brings energy, toughness, rebounding and defense to the team, all of which we very much need.
Theo Ratliff Incomplete Ratliff was supposed to be the starting center and would help to mentor our young bigs. He only played in 2 games and wasn't around enough to do much mentoring. He is still planning to play next season but his biggest value may be his expiring contract.
Allan Ray C He came in as a scorer but he struggled at times with his shot. The experiment with Ray at the point wasn't very effective, unless you count the fact that it gave us a couple of key losses down the stretch. His shot improved toward the end of the season but it may not be enough to keep him on the roster. Danny likes scorers though, so who knows.
Rajon Rondo B-plus Rondo started the year behind both Telfair and West at the point but by the end of the season had won the starting spot. He has all the tools to be one of the top PGs in the league. He is a very exciting player and his only knock is that he needs to work on his jumper but even that improved over the course of the season. Over his last 9 games he put up 14.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 5.7 apg and 2.44 spg and he shot 57% from the field. He is our starting PG of the future.
Brian Scalabrine C minus Scal came into the season in much better shape than he did last season. He would be a very good 10th - 12th man and good locker room guy. He plays with energy and his teammates think highly of him but he isn't a starter and that is what Doc constantly tries to make him.
Wally Szczerbiak C Wally was playing well before he was hit with the injury bug but he missed more than half of the season and the games he played in were mostly trying to come back from injury. If healthy, Wally's outside shooting could be important to the team.
Sebastian Telfair D plus Telfair lived up to his reputation as a poor defensive player and wasn't able to effectively run the offense except in brief spurts. Add to this his off court exploits and he should be gone this off season.
Delonte West B Delonte is the heart and soul of this team. He plays hard and encourages his teammates to do the same. It couldn't have been easy for him being shuffled back and forth between shooting guard and point guard, but he never complained and gave 110% every second he was on the court. Rondo at PG and West at SG was our best back court duo and they played well together. He needs to learn how to avoid injury, though.
Doc Rivers D plus Doc is a great person. He is great working with the young players but he is not a good defensive coach and he isn't a good in game coach. I could see keeping Doc for next season if we could bring in a defensive minded assistant. One of our biggest weaknesses is that we don't play defense and Doc is not a defensive minded coach. He also doesn't use his players strengths and often tries to put round pegs in square holes. One of Red's main tenets of coaching was to keep it simple. Doc has multiple offensive and defensive sets that seem hard for the players to keep straight and he would be much better off sticking to Red's theory and keep it simple.
Danny Ainge C Danny deserves credit for having patience and not making trades for the sake of making trades. He has stood fast as far as not giving away our young talent for a quick fix. He has drafted well, but his trades and free agent signings haven't been as successful. But many of his trades had hidden agendas that we don't see all the results from right away. This off season is going to be the most important of Danny's tenure as GM and it will go a long way toward his overall grade as GM.