Next up is Celtics' all around good guy Brian Scalabrine
by Freshnthehouse Brian Scalabrine is now entering the final year of the 5 year/15 million dollar contract he signed with the Celtics prior to the 2005-06 season. During his time with the Celtics, Scalabrine (or as the kids say, Veal) has had a complex relationship with the fans. During his first two years, he was a symbol of the eneptness the team displayed on the court, and to some a symbol of Danny Ainge's eneptness as a GM. Each of Scalabrine's mistakes were another example of how far removed we were from the playoff teams of the early 2000s. Eventually some of the knucklehead contingent in Celtics Nation started mocking Scalabrine whenever he received the ball during home games.
But things changed during the 2007-08 season. With the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen leading the way, the Celtics became one of the elite teams in the league. Ainge was now considered a genius, and Scalabrine went from an incompetent oaf to a valued teammate, joining M.L. Carr, Greg Kite, and Walter MCCarthy in the panthenon of beloved backups on winning Celtics teams. His best run during this time was when he admirabll filled in for an injured Kevin Garnett during a two week run late in the middle of the 07-08 season.
But the one thing that did not change during this transformation is Scalabrine's game. His is a skill set like few others. On the negative side, he is a shockingly bad rebounder for someone that is 6'9". As a Celtic his rebounds per 36 minutes average is under five per game. That's disgusting. And on the offensive end, it doesn't get any less gruesome. Scalabrine's field goal percentage as a Celtics sits at .379, which brings to mind another 6'9" power forward that played for the Celtics (but to Scal's credit, he doesn't dance each time he makes a three pointer).
After all that, one wonders how Scal has managed to stay in the league nine years. But Scal does do some things well. Field goal percentage aside, the guy can shoot (three pointers, at least). Over the last four seasons his three point field goal percentage sits at .375, which is solid for any player, let alone a power forward. And while he is not going to make anyone forget about Sidney Moncrief, Scalabrine is a pretty good defender. His forte is tweeners, whether they are perimeter-focused power forwards, or bruising small forwards. Scalabrine has done a good job defending the likes of AL Harrington in the past, and in the playoffs this year versus Orlando, he had a couple of inspired defensive showings against Rashard Lewis.
But Scal's biggest contributions may be off the court. His teammates seem to love him. He has also shown that he has no problem leaving his ego at the door for the good of the team, which was evident when he didn't say a peep after being taken off the active roster during the 2007-08 playoffs.
In 2009, Scal's biggest asset to the team may be his contract. He is in the last year of his deal (which wasn't nearly as onerous as some hand-wringers made it out to be), paying him roughly 3.5 million this season. And even those unfamiliar with the CBA know that expiring contracts are worth their weight in gold come trading time. Could he be sent packing at the trade deadline for a backup point guard? Will he finish out the year and ride quietly into the sunset, perhaps take up a room at Jack Haley's Home for Retired Towel Wavers? Perhaps. Or will he come back next year at a reduced price, reprising his role as Boston's favorite redhead? I hope so.