Saturday, December 17, 2011

Not Easy Being Green...

Nobody can ever say this Celtics franchise doesn't have heart. We've had them stopped (Bias), attacked (Reggie) and now in need of surgery (Jeff Green). Not the best news on the eve of the C's first pre-season contest against the Raptors.

Jeff Green will miss this season as he will undergo heart surgery on January 9 in Cleveland. First and foremost, this is not about basketball and everyone in Celtics Nation wishes Jeff a full and speedy recovery. While the team will miss what Green brings to the table, there are bigger concerns long-term for this youngster.

Unfortunately, the NBA is a business (the last few months were a harsh reminder of that) and the Celtics will need to figure out what to do with the roster to replace what Green was expected to bring to the table. There are two options: go with the current roster or look to the free-agent pool. Let's take a quick look at both options.

Danny Ainge has done a tremendous job with the roster over the frenzied week of free agency. Bringing in Dooling and Wilcox, flipping Big Baby for Brandon Bass and bringing Green back were all great moves. This is a deep team, something they're going to need as the season imposes its heavy demands on an aging core. Being able to bring in a second unit that could hold their own was important. Even without Green, this team still has that.

Coming off the bench as the 6th man will now be Brandon Bass. I'm telling you right now, this is one of the most underrated moves of the off-season, league-wide. Doc will use Bass properly, unlike Stan Van Gundy and Orlando. He is an improvement over Glen and will pay dividends all year long. Add in Dooling, Avery Bradley, Marquis Daniels (Welcome Back) and Wilcox, and you seem to have a pretty strong 2nd unit. We didn't even include the 2 Purdue rookies, Johnson and Moore, or Pavlovic (but why would we?).

At first glance, this team could be deep enough to run with what Danny provided and see what happens. Sure, you'll ask a bit more out of Bass, Dooling and Daniels in the scoring department, but all should be up to the challenge. However, there are a few options left out there that could provide a punch if they're willing to come in for the vet minimum. Let's take a look:

-Gilbert Arenas: Could the Hibachi get it cooking in Boston? Seems far-fetched, but if anyone could control him, you'd have to think it was Doc. Plus, he's only a few years removed from averaging over 28 ppg. His entertainment value could help us forget about the Big Shamrock being retired as well. Odds: slim.

-DeShawn Stevenson: Perfect fit. Swagger that the 2nd unit will need. Can knock down big shots. Most importantly, he shuts down LeBron so well you'd think his name was Fourth Quarter. You know you're going through Miami in the East this year, why not take a flier on this guy? Odds: 50/50.

-Michael Redd: Could provide the scoring needed, but health concerns make this one risky. Seems more inclined to head to one of the hotspots: NYK, MIA, LAL. Odds: longshot.

-James Posey: Familiar with the system, fan favorite, easily available for the vet min and should help a contender. Odds: Starting to seem like the best bet to fill Green's spot.

Personally, I'm all about Stevenson. I can live with Posey if he can make it though the season. But, if Danny says the guys we have are the guys we're going with, I'm OK with that too.

8 Days till the games count...let's see what Danny has under the tree for Doc when they tip off.

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