As we go into this off season, Danny will have a lot of decisions to make. We have a lot of young talent who could be about to break out or they could be close to their ceiling. Danny needs to make that determination as to who to keep and who can be traded. Will Gerald finally get it together and show some consistency on offense and show that he can play defense? Will Tony Allen come back from the knee injury with his same explosiveness and ability to get to the basket? Will West improve his right hand and be able to stay healthy for a season? Has Gomes reached his ceiling? Will Ray or Powe be solid players? Will Perk continue to improve? Is Rondo the PG he has been looking for? What to do with Telfair? All these questions and more have to be answered this off season.
To Danny's credit, he has been patient to see which players will step up and become part of the core group of this team. He hasn't made trades just for the sake of making trades and he hasn't traded away our future for a quick fix. This summer, Danny may need to trade away some of our young talent to bring in a veteran to help the team. But which players have proved that they are keepers and are going to become players who will help take the team to the next level?
First of all, Al Jefferson proved this year that he is for real. Last season, there were a lot of people who gave up on him. But this season, when he was finally healthy, he proved that he is going to be one of the best big men in the league. His instincts on offense can't be taught. He still needs work on defense, but he is determined to spend the summer working in Boston and come back even better. Watching Al this season brought back fond memories of McHale in the low post. We absolutely should not trade Al, not even for Garnett or Gasol. He is very close to their level already and has many years ahead of him to dominate in this league.
Rajon Rondo is second on my untouchable list. He is a pure point guard with all the skills and instincts it takes to become a top PG in the league. The only knock on him is that he can't hit the jumper. But he has worked hard on it and we saw great improvement over the season and over the last 9 games of the season, he put up 14.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 5.7 apg and 2.44 spg down and he shot .57% from the field. He is a very hard worker and is going to come back even better next season. He is the point guard that Danny has been looking for and the point guard this team needs to take it to the next level. He made great strides in his rookie year in spite of not getting much playing time early. He will make even bigger strides next season.
Delonte West is a keeper in my opinion as well. He is a combo guard who can play the point when needed and who can also play the 2 guard. Rondo and West make a very good back court. Both play good defense and they seem to play well off of each other. Delonte is the heart of this team. He is a vocal leader who keeps this team together and who is an example on and off the court for the rest of the team.
Perk would complete my top 4 of the core of this team. Just as Al broke out this season when he was finally healthy, I expect the same to happen with Perk next season. Perk is a hard worker and he gives us a defensive presence in the paint. He is going to be even better next season. Perk and Al play very well together and Al has said several times that he plays better with Perk on the court. Perk is going to be an absolute bargain because he is going to break out next season and if we get Oden, Perk will be one of the best back up centers in the league. If we don't get Oden, Perk is going to be a very good starting center. He is tough, he is loyal, he is a hard worker, and he is a team player, willing to play in pain to help his team.
These 4 are my core players for this team, the Untouchables. I didn't include Pierce, although he is pretty much untradable with the contract he signed and because Wyc really likes him and I doubt he will be traded. He is valuable to this team if he can learn to trust his teammates and can stay healthy.
Tony Allen is on the cusp depending on whether he can come back from the knee injury and depending on how his legal issues are settled. He was just getting to that next level with his play, becoming a leader on the team and becoming a force on both ends of the court. He is our best perimeter defender and if he can come back from his injury to get to where he was when he went down, and if he can get out from under the legal problems, he should be a part of the core group.
I have gone back and forth on Green. He has so much potential and we have seen flashes of what he can be, but we have also seen him absolutely clueless on the court. He probably has the best trade value of any of our young players other than Al, but I would hate to trade him and then see him become a perennial all star on another team. I guess I have to trust Danny to make the right decision here since he has seen him play in practice day after day and knows more of whether he will reach that potential or forever struggle with consistency.
Wally brings a veteran presence and can help the team if he can stay healthy, but this is a big if. I wouldn't hesitate to trade him if we could get an upgrade. Wally isn't a very good defender and has proved that he isn't very durable. But if healthy, his ability as a scorer could help to open up the floor for our inside game. Scal would be a good 10-12th man but not a starter where Doc has insisted on using him. He is a good locker room guy and has a good basketball IQ but should not be a starter.
I would love to see Danny keep Powe and Gomes along with our other young players. All of the young players have some great chemistry going and have grown very close. They all want to stay in Boston and all are good character people and hard workers. Powe brings toughness and rebounding and defense, all of which we need. Gomes is a player who makes very few mistakes on the court and is versatile in that he can play both the 3 and 4 effectively. I like Allan Ray, but don't feel that he offers enough to keep him. Telfair is as good as gone after his arrest. Kandi is more than likely gone also since he played very little this season. If we don't get Oden, he may be kept on as a 3rd string center as insurance since he is cheap. Ratliff is talking about coming back next season and playing. However, his biggest value to the team could be his expiring contract.